Grizzlies respond perfectly to last weeks disappointment with a resounding victory at home.After last weeks display, I knew the Grizzlies needed a big game to get our season back on track and get some confidence back in the side. The boys seemed focused and ready for the game ahead. The team did not disappoint as we went about playing some of the best rugby we have done this season. Still with a long injury list we managed to piece together strong side to play the visitors, Royston who had had some great results already in the league.
On a perfect day for rugby the sun was shining and the boys started the afternoon perfectly with a early score after a couple of minutes. A great show and go from Eddie Panting at inside centre saw him create a gap which he went through. He offloaded perfectly to the on running Tawanda who score his first try. Robin Bye narrowly missed the conversion. 5-0.
Darren Coley was next to cross the white wash a couple of minutes later with a lovely move from the backs which saw the ball being passed through the hands to finally reach Darren who scored in the corner. Robin converted to a difficult kick from the sideline to make the score 12-0.
It was an unusually good start for the Grizzlies but they kept their focus and continued to dominate. The next score came from a line out. The ball was won by Alan Gray and the ball was spread wide. The skipper for the day Mick Foley took the ball on and went for a mazey run, looking to score. He got stopped short just before the line but managed to offload to the supporting runner Chris Butterworth who just need to ground the ball to score the try. Robin Bye converted the try. 19-0.
After 20 minutes the curse of the injury struck the Grizzlies again. Stand in scrum half Ian Reece who had had a great game up till this moment unfortunately fractured his wrist by one of his own players accidentally stepping on his arm. A little reorganisation saw Robin Bye go to 9 and Mick Foley replacing him at outside centre. Darren Coley moving off the wing to Full back and Scott Whyman coming on at left wing.
The switch around didn’t mean the Grizzlies lost shape. They continued to turn the screw and Simon McGuiness scored on the 24th minute after some great rucking on Roystons try line, he picked up and drove over to score. Robin with his kicking boots converted. 26-0.
On 30 minutes Skipper Foley came off injured with a knee injury. Stu Williams replaced him at outside centre and Chris Butterworth took over the Captains duties.
We continued to attack and camped out in the Royston’s half. Scott Whyman was released on the wing and unfortunately just got stopped short of the line and push out of play. From the resulting line out Darren Ead scored in what he describes as an amazing try as the opposition knocked down their own ball and it bounced loose. Darrens razor sharp reactions allowed him to fall on the ball and the try was awarded. The conversion was missed. 31-0.
Right at the end of the first half Royston rallied and saw them head towards our try line. Darren Ead fresh from scoring did his defensive duties and stopped the the ball carrier from crossing the line. Half time.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first with Grizzlies dominance in both possession and territory. On the 47th minute Eddie Panting ran riot from the half way line taking on the Royston defence, ghosting past them only to be caught in the 22. Tawanda was running in support and Eddie managed a lovely offload to him. He had one defender to beat which he did comfortably and registered his second try of the game. Conversion was missed. 36-0.
Royston again started to get their tails up and the battle became more physical. Several blood bins on both sides was testament to that. With the claret flowing Royston pulled off a great try scoring move which saw them go blind from a scrum and use the overlap to score their first and only try of the match. 36-7.
This little blip didn’t stop the Grizzlies playing some great open, running rugby. Our handling was superb as the ball was passed through the hands and moves were coming off. Scott Whyman’s first try came from a move that saw Carl Lavin break through the gain line. He offloaded to on running Panting. Panting switched with Stu Williams. Williams with an inside pop to Alan Gray. Gray passed wide back to Panting. Panting fixes the last defender and pops to Scott who runs in for the try. Unfortunately the conversion was missed 41-7.
Scott followed up soon after with his second try of the match. Another play from a scrum saw the ball being shifted wide. Foley back on threw a fake switch and broke through the defence. He fixed the last defender and offloaded to Scott to finish. Conversion missed. 46-7.
The backline was definitely enjoying themselves and Tawanda not to be out done but Scott scored a fantastic solo try. He picked up a loose ball on the half way line off his laces with players baring down on him. A great pick up with no space to move as he was right on the touchline as well. He ran round 4 of the Royston defenders almost getting scragged, but he had enough strength to break free from the tackle and enough pace to power himself over the line. Hat-trick Hero!!! The kick was converted 53-7.
By this time the Royston heads had dropped and on the 70th Minute Stu Williams added to their painful afternoon. Carl Lavin again drove forward on one of his typical powerful line breaks. He offloaded to Stu Williams who showed great slight of hand as he threw a dummy pass which the defender fell for and had an easy run in to score. Robin converted the kick 60-7.
Scott, inspired by Tawanda’s Hat-trick wanted one for himself and it came soon after as he kicked a loose ball forward and had the gas to beat the 2 chasing defenders and land on the ball to make him the second Hat-trick Hero of the day.
Robin converted once again 67-7.
As the final whistle was just about to blow Mick Foley put the final nail in the coffin. From the touch line it looked like he had ripped the ball from the opposition on the half way line, but he later told me that the player actually passed the ball and he intercepted it. Either way we saw him speed off with the ball unopposed to score under the post. Robin converted to make the final score 74-7.
All in all a much more satisfying game than last weeks. The boys needed to a big win to get our season back on track and to get the smiles back on their faces, all of which happened. I am really pleased with the commitment to the tackle which had gone missing in the last 3 matches. Our handing and decision making was spot on and our discipline and focus never wavered. Suffices to say it was a much happier changing room at the end of the match. Hopefully we can build on this result and move forward.
Special mention to Scott Whyman who scored a great hat-trick with his family all watching. MoM went to the outstanding Tawanda Svangus who not only scored a fantastic Hat-trick with his blistering pace and strength but did his fair share of crunching tackles.
“Chris of the Day” picked himself not for any on field horrors but for forgetting the Beers and claiming he never received the text saying it was him this week. Unfortunately for him everyone knew differently… Congrats Chris Butterworth!
Our next match is Datchworth 3XVs away.
|Old Albanian Sports Club, 160 Harpenden Rd, St Albans AL3 6BB, UK|