57 — 5
Grizzlies first home game of the season ends with a win 57-5After a tough away game at Berko we were looking forward to playing our first home game of the season. With great momentum coming into this game I had high hopes we could put on a good display and the Grizzlies didn’t disappoint.
Pinner and Grammarians had brought a full compliment of players and had been out warming up and going through their drills a good 30 minutes before us. What is now becoming a bit of a routine and a headache for the skipper, we still didn’t have our full team out with 10 minutes to go before KO. The warm up was definitely short in numbers, but when it mattered, the boys seemed to switch on.
I won the toss and decided to play with the quite strong wind that was present. Pinner chose to kick. From the off we knew their huge pack would want to try and dominate us physically. We had a perfect response early on with our very own behemoth Kieren Kelly making a strong run through their defence to cross over their line to score our first try on 7minutes. Our trusty goal kicker Robin Bye slotted the conversion.
With our tails up and the wind behind us we knew if we kept our composure and our intensity we could dominate proceedings in the first half. Carl Lavin at 8 was a constant threat. Picking the ball up and crossing the gain line everytime he ran with the ball. What was pleasing was how we played with ball in hand and had support runners every time someone made a line break.
Carl scored his first try on the 15 minute mark with his aggressive style of running he powered over to touch the ball down. Robin kicked the conversion to make it 14-0.
The forwards were working really hard at every break down to secure the ball and made it easy for the skipper to gather clean ball pass it out to the backs. Confidence was high and the back line were spinning the ball wide at every occasion. Unfortunately in one of those moves a loose pass from Robin Bye was intercepted by a Pinner and G player and they had a clear run in between the posts. The conversion was missed. 14-5.
This didn’t dampen the spirits at all, in fact it had the opposite effect and made the Grizzlies even more focused. The backs ran a move from their own half which almost ended in an amazing team try. Alas Will Harlow got caught a couple of metres short of the line when we had a 3 on 1 overlap and a try scoring opportunity was stopped. He made up for it moments later when he crossed the white wash to score his first try of the game. Robin had his kicking boots on and converted the try. 21-5
It sounds like it was just open flowing rugby it wasn’t. Big hits were going in all over the park. It felt like the whistle was being blown every 5 minutes for another injury. Lots of players where being called out for high tackles. Liam Ead chased down one of his own kicks into the oppositions 22, went to tackle and got a boot on the head which left him seeing stars. He had to go off. A Pinner and G player was left Bloody nosed and dazed. Had to go off. Both teams were having to use their bench.
Pinner was giving away silly penalties which allowed us to take quick tap and goes and gain the advantage for not retreating 10 yards.
The half ended well with Chris Butterworth controlling things at 10. With the move of the match he set up a dummy move that fooled everyone and released our flying wing Darren Coley for his first try of the game. Again Robin converted. 28-5. Half time.
The second half went in a similar fashion as the first, with great work from the forwards allowing the backs to run riot. We were getting a lot of change from the 10, 12 channel and seemed to be pinning P&G back into their own half. In another move that saw the ball being shifted through the hands this time the recipient of the final ball was Ben Hardwick who licked his lips when he saw the miss match with the P&G winger. Suffices to say he scored the try in the corner. Robin’s couldn’t keep up his 100% record and just missed the conversion.
Will Harlow on the wing was having another storming game and he proved that by running around the defence to score his second. Uncharacteristically Robin missed his second kick of the day. 38-5.
The line outs had worked all afternoon with Alan Gray securing the ball and popping it off the top allowing quick ball to the backs. The scrums too were working well. Secure and strong we dominated for most of the match. It was great to have Mike Hewitt back propping with us again. A Grizzlie Legend he was visiting from Wales and I’m sure he had something to do with why the scrums were working so well.
Not to be out done by Will Harlow, Darren Coley took it on himself to score a few more tries. Cutting through the defence like a hot knife through butter he scored 2 more tries making him a “Hatrick Hero”. The match ball was his. Robin converting one of those to make the score 50-5.
With bodies being strewn all over the pitch (2 P&G players knocked into each other and both had to be sidelined) the injury list was mounting. Mick Foley and Will Harlow had to go off (Hamstring), Steve Sibley who had already played at 5,6,7 and 8 had a stint on the wing. Unfortunately it didn’t last long as he too had to go off with another pulled hamstring.
To round the afternoon off Carl Lavin scored his second try of the game. Robin converted taking his tally to 6 kicks. Final score 57-5
Carl Lavin’s tireless work at the breakdown as well as in open play, his ferocious tackling and line breaks, the pick ups from the base of the scrum, the restart catches all gained him the MoM award. This weeks “Chris of the Day” was a difficult one but alas Kieren Kelly gets it again for having the ball ripped from him by a young lad half his size (I’m being generous he was way smaller). One of our players shouted in disbelief “No Way!” to which the reply was “Yes Way!!!” as the smiling P&G player ran away with the ball. Congrats Kieren!
Joking aside it was a fine display by all of the Grizzlies. They kept their focus and discipline without losing their intensity when things could have gotten out of hand. The teamwork, support play, handling and defence was some of the best I’ve seen this team play. I’m very proud of the lads and hope we can continue to play as well as this each week.
Our next game is Cuffley Away.
Kieren Kelly, Darren Ead, Mike Hewitt, Jamie Temple, Gareth Williams (VC), Alan Gray, Steve Sibley, Carl Lavin, Kim Watson (Capt.) Chris Butterworth, Mick Foley, Robin Bye, Darren Coley, Andy O’Brien, Liam Ead, Ben Hardwick, Elvis Mills, Nathan Thomas, Will Harlow.
|Old Albanian Sports Club, 160 Harpenden Rd, St Albans AL3 6BB, UK|