After a couple of indifferent performances in recent weeks Pennthorpe were always going to pose a real challenge. In recent years the best we have managed is a very exciting 7 – 7 draw last season. We would certainly need to be at full strength to get anything out of the game. The Monday night hockey was a good boost to morale but Tuesday morning brought the loss of Ollie H with a high temperature (the only high temperature of the week!) and so a training session with a new hooker (Luca) was Tuesdays priority. Further bad news came on Wednesday with the loss of James D to sickness. Mr Jenkins was beginning to wonder if he would actullay have a side as I once again plundered his line up. We went with the bare 15 to fortress Pennthorpe. Ted came into the second row, Gianluca to blind side with Duncan moving to outside centre and Ed taking the 10 shirt. So all in all no disruption what so ever!!
At this point, thanks to the brave souls who supported on a day when even the Geography teacher would agree that it really was freezing! After a good warm up we recieved kick off which we promptly knocked on and then managed to concede a series of silly penalties and were 5 – 0 down before we could blink. Playing down the famous slope in the first half we really needed a lead by half time. Not the most auspicious start! However good work on the left led to Morgan, breaking from the base of the ruck with support from Ryan and Minchan, pressurised their defence, a miss move led to the Korean express scoring in the corner 5 – 5. The half meandered to a close and with the last play of the half, (coach shouting concentrate and nothing silly now) the boys responded with a daring raid down the middle, a long run from Morgan who scored under the posts and converted his own try 12 – 5 at the half.
2nd half, our kick, they eventually caught the ball and ran through our entire team to score under the posts! 12 – 12. The game basically seasawed for the next 15 minutes with no side really gaining the upper hand and mistakes being made by the cart load principally due to the now penetrating cold. However, after a period of sustained pressure, the forwards created the opportunity for Morgan to go over and give us a tenuous 17 – 12 lead. Great last ditch tackling from Gianluca, Ryan, Josh and a slightly “star seeing “Andy kept out the determined onslaught from the opposition. A 5m scrum against us resulted in Luca and the solid front row, (Jack I and Ollie C) winning against the head for Ryan and Andy to bring the ball away to saftey. However Morgan had a different agenda and ran,with Josh in support, the length of the field to score in the corner. An excellent attempt at the conversion was missed but the referee called last play and we managed to get the ball out of play, (with a knock on) to win a famous victory, the first for a number of years.
At the end of the day, not a classic, but a very well deserved victory under very inclement weather conditions. It is immensely pleasing, that despite all the late changes, the boys can work together and simply get on with the task at hand. The will to do well is very strong and is exemplified by the capatain Ryan. Not all have been mentioned as individuals however this was very much a team victory. Well done boys you should be very proud of yourselves. JC
Team: Jack I, Luca, Ollie C. Ted, Elliott, Gianluca, Morgan, Ryan, Andy, Ed, Nils, Duncan, Minchan, Josh and James N.