20 — 13
The Grizzlies get a last minute win over League leaders Cuffley.First game back after the Christmas break was against the high flying league leaders Cuffley 2XVs. After having been beaten at theirs earlier on in the season the Grizzlies wanted to get revenge and start the new year with a win. Cuffley have only been beaten once so far this season so we knew it was going to be a tough match.
We knew Cuffley were taking this seriously as after 5 minutes they won a penalty in front of the posts and went for the 3 points. Luckily for us they missed but it gave us a good indication of what was to come.
Our first score came from a set piece. Carl Lavin playing at 8 picked up and went down the blind side from the back of the scrum. Darren Coley running in support down the wing received a perfectly weighted pass to score in the corner. 5-0.
Our pack was very dominant and pushed back Cuffley with ease. A great display of power from our forwards and especially our front row. After 10 minutes our pack almost pushed the Cuffley pack over their own try line and not surprisingly one of Cuffley’s Props went off injured which meant the scrums had to go uncontested. This changed the dynamic of the game and took away one of our advantages but the scoreline remained the same up to half time.
The second half started well for us as the on fire Darren Coley scored his second of the match again in the corner. 10-0.
We asserted some pressure on Cuffley and gained a penalty which Robin Bye slotted home with aplomb. 13-0.
We were blessed with a strong squad and changes were made to freshen up the lineup. There were some fantastic runs from the likes of James Sykes who powered his way from our own half leaving the Cuffley defenders in his wake. He made it into their 22 only to be stopped short. Ben Hardwick for such a big man seems to be able to glide his way through defences like a slippery eel and gain good ground whenever he has ball in hand.
One area where we weren’t getting the upper hand was the line out and Cuffley were exerting pressure on our ball at every throw. At the break down too we were starting to give penalties away which seemed to spur Cuffley on. After some sustained pressure from Cuffley, their other big prop forward bulldozed his way through our defence to cross the try line and score. 13-7.
As the game wore on Cuffley started to get the upper hand in the contact area. Some indiscipline at the break down gave them a penalty which they converted. 13-10. The pressure was on us and we didn’t make it easy on ourselves as we tried to run out of our own 22 which ended up on a knock on. At this point a player from each team got yellow carded. Stu Williams for a high tackle and Cuffley’s 15 for several off the ball instances. This meant we both played with 14 men. The high tackle gave Cuffley another penalty which they happily accepted and kicked to level the scores. 13-13.
With the clock counting down we needed to lift our game. Darren Coley almost scored a hat-trick when his superb mazey run saw him tackled just shy of the try line. He reach out to place the ball over the line but alas it was deemed a double movement and the try was disallowed. With only a couple of minutes left on the clock we managed to get work our way into their 22 and get a penalty of our own. It was a no brainer to kick for goal, a Jonny Wilkinson moment, convert and we have beaten the league leaders. Unfortunately none of my trusty kickers fancied it so instead we went for a tap and go. George Middleton took it on himself to charge at the defence and got held up short. Second phase ball and Carl Lavin received a pop pass for him to bundle his way over the line under the posts. The try was converted and game over. 20-13.
A really fantastic effort from the boys. “MoM” went to Carl Lavin for his destructive running and bone crunching tackles. His work rate and commitment was just phenomenal. Special mention to Darren Coley for is excellent 2 tries which could have been 3. “Chris of the Day” went to Stu Williams who after coming on was pretty much off again with a yellow card for a high tackle.
This Saturday we have a Cup game at home vs Finsbury Park 2XVs.
|Old Albanian Sports Club, 160 Harpenden Rd, St Albans AL3 6BB, UK|