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Opportunity Missed as Second Half slips away

Round 2 Thamesians Away – Tough Fought loss

Final Score: 22 – 10 Loss

Man of the Match: Tom Mansfield

Dick of the Day: Slade Siameja

Squad:

1 Alex Raue

2 Adam Clarke

3 Rainier Deysel

4 Tom Mansfield

5 Chima Kalagbor

6 Connor Shea

7 Peter Lacey

8 Michael Buchan

9 Dave April

10 Slade Siameja

11 Tim Henschke

12 Troy Clayton

13 Alex Ristrom

14 Joe Thornton

15 Tom Rouse

16 Xander Bobir

17 Rob Wixey

18 Victor Alonso Gomez

19 Rhys Davies

20 Tom Stott

21 Fidel Brizuela

Write-up:

Another well attended training and a full 23 available was a great way to prepare for the task of taking on familiar foes Thamesians away. A persistent downpour and a couple of last minute drop-outs looked to level the playing field a bit although it was similar conditions in the same fixture last season so the boys were going in with confidence.

In a complete reverse from last week the ball was taken down from the kick-off, worked calmly out of our defensive zone and cleared into Thamesians territory - who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks?! The lineout forced a turnover and another well placed kick had us deep in Thamesians territory early and forced them to kick for touch giving us the first attacking opportunity with a lineout 35m out. The boys set about it in organised fashion with the forwards making metres around the ruck and the backs finding space wide before Thamesians were forced to use hands in the ruck to try and slow the play down. Alex Ristrom hooked the penalty wide but the after collecting the 22m restart we soon found ourselves in the same position with the same penalty – he made the correction and put the ball straight over the black dot.


Again the kick-off was collected and returned to the 30m, a couple of settling phases saw us easily out of our own 40m and with some space out wide the backs took the opportunity to run with Slade finding space to go through before chipping to 5m out and driving the cover defender into the in-goal to force a 5m scrum. The forwards were enjoying being on the front foot and further pressed the advantage by walking the Thamesians scrum back 3m before Tim Henschke( in his first start at 9) rain from the base of the scrum easily stepping the flanker to get his first 5 pointer for Quintin and Alex Ristrom obliged with the conversion.


Backline launches into action of the back of a dominant scrum

Another clean kickoff reception, clearance and good chase quickly had us attacking again and everything appeared to be going like clockwork as we drove deep into Thamesians 22m and won another penalty for hands in the ruck as they struggled to keep up with the pace of play. Off the back of the last dominant display in the scrum we packed down and set about shunting them back over the line, thamesians only defence being to go to ground. The reset was much the same this time Thamesians were pinged for kicking through the scrum so it was looking like third time lucky. Again we marched them back to their line where they collapsed just as Mikey Buchan attempted to pick up the ball resulting in a knock-on and allowing them to release the some pressure with a clearing kick.

The game became a bit more tit for tat and in the struggle discipline began to wane, a couple of penalties had us defending in our own half and Thamesians converted it into 3 points off the back of it. Again it was discipline that put us back under pressure as Pete Lacey executed a bit of revenge on his opposite number a good 30m from the ball but only 5m from the referee. Thamesians took full advantage as we switched off, as players ran to one touch line they tapped and swung the ball to the other side of the field, with the defence on the back foot we scrambled well but a couple of quick phases and they were able to steal a 7 pointer completely against the run of play. We controlled the majority of the rest of the first half with several forays into the 22 but were unable to walk away with points. In one such foray Rainier got a first-hand experience of life in the backline, he found himself out wide with acres of space and was screaming for it to be spread wide only to watch phase after phase of pick and goes inch forward before the pill was lost in slippery conditions.

A 10 – 10 score-line at halftime didn’t reflect the momentum of the game but it was enough to give Thamesians confidence they could pinch it and they managed to find an extra-gear in the second half to eventually walk away with the win. That is of course if your definition of “extra-gear” is 3 6”3, 110kg Thamesians 1’s that had been warming up on the neighbouring pitch. Even with their pack significantly bolstered neither side took a real stranglehold on the game and ill discipline saw a yellow card either way with pack-leader Alex Raue taking a spell on the sideline for repeated ruck infringements.

At the end of the day we didn’t make enough of our dominance in the first half as we weren’t clinical in taking our opportunities which kept them in the game and when they had their chances they took them. It was what we’ve come to expect from a game against Thamesians – 80 mins of combative arm-wrestle and the record is now 2 – 2 and we’ll have an opportunity to rectify that when we welcome them at home and they won’t have the luxury of parachuting in reinforcements at the 11th hour.

Even though we were eventually on the wrong side of the scoreboard it was an unrecognisable display compared to the week before. We executed what we practiced - our focus at training has been on the first 15 minutes and it was undoubtedly our most dominant period of the game. And, most satisfyingly, for the most part of it we did what we said – which was not to give away unnecessary penalties. If we continue in the leaps and bounds that we took this week the results will follow!

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