Grizzlies — Tabard 2ndXV

Grizzlies win League game against Tabard without playing.

The Grizzlies match against Tabards 2XVs was, unfortunately, a non event as Tabard couldn’t put a side out so we got a 25-0 win.

We luckily found a friendly fixture to replace it against Hatfield 2Xvs. Again it was a non event as they pull out late on.

Our fantastic fixture secretary Darren Ead managed to find us yet another opponent to play last minute and we had Stockwood Park 2/3XVs to come and play us.

Stockwood Park 2/3XVs

As it was a friendly at home we had big squad with some of the Gladiators bolstering our numbers due to them not having a fixture.

Our games against Stockwood are always quite fiery affairs and this proved to be the case.

Unfortunately they didn’t have a complete front row, in fact they needed 2 props. Alas we only had one replacement front row at our disposal so we went uncontested. This was to prove decisive as ou
r normal dominate pack could not be used in it’s usual destructive manner.

The match started brightly with a new look backline made up of Butters at 10, Toby Daley at 12, James Sykes at 13 and Darren Coley at 15 shifting the ball wide to the flying wing Andy O’Brien to score early doors. Chris Butterworth Converted. 7-0.

What then followed was a mad 20 minutes of the match where the Grizzlies switched off. Whether it was the thought of finally get one over Stockwood or that the first try just came too easy I don’t know. Knock on’s, missed tackles, poor passing, bad decision making and lack of composure all led Stockwood park gaining a strangle hold on the game with 4 unanswered tries. Luckily they could only convert 2 of them. Score 7-24. Stockwood used their big young backline to full effect as their offload game was very successful in keeping the ball alive and finding the 
mismatches and overlaps.

With such a big squad we rolled the subs on and off. With Injuries to Simon Hunter and a blood sub for Toby the introduction of Steve Sibley and Adam Russell things seemed to settle the squad and Ben Pearce coming on at 9 added some impetus. Still the with scrums being uncontested it hurts us and was an advantage for the Stockwood team.

At half time we had managed to call another prop and offered them 2 front row players. To our amazement they declined and the game continued as a bit of a farce with the knowledge we could have a proper game of rugby rather then the 15 a side rugby league game we were playing.

A big rallying call at halftime from our on day skipper Darren Ead, who was celebrating his big 50 got the boys fired up. Having his son Liam come on and play on this special day made it an even better. The half time talk seemed to work as Stockwood couldn’t break through our defence as was the case in the first half. When Ben Hardwick crossed the line to score we all felt we were back in the match. Robin Bye kicked the conversion to make the score 14-24.

When Liam Ead ran in his try to make the score 19-24 we really were back in the match. Unfortunately that was our last score before the Stockwood had the last word by scoring one more try and converting it to make the final score 19-31. In a match that ended up quite scrappy, with quite a few flash points and the disappointment of not having contested scrums, on reflection having such a big squad worked against us. It was difficult to find continuity with all the changes that had to be made. Everyone needed game time. But I think we can all raise our hands and say it wasn’t our best game we have played. My moment of the match was when Nathan Thomas got absolutely smashed by of the Stockwood Park back rows. You could hear the hit from the sidelines and the a big gasp from the supporters. He was sent flying backwards but had managed to rip the ball from the opponent, get up and carry on with a counter attack.

On a positive note the team never gave up. The team spirit and camaraderie can not be faulted. Great to see 3s & 4s players playing well together. Toby Daley had a great game at inside centre then 10. It was great to have both Toby and Tommy Daley playing together before Tommy goes off on his travels. Having Adam Russell back in a Grizzzlie shirt and the Ead family, father and son playing together. It all made for a great celebration to the MoM and the Big 50th birthday boy – Darren Ead. The celebrations continued well into the evening with the annual OA’s Rugby Bull Run.

I almost forgot “Chris of the Day” goes to yours truly for some quite shocking passes. The one that everyone will remember (and not let me forget) is the one I actual hit my own leg when trying to pass out at back of the scrum knocking on in the process.
Thank goodness my U12’s I coach weren’t there to see it.

Kim Watson
Grizzlies Captain


Woollams Pavilion
Old Albanian Sports Club, 160 Harpenden Rd, St Albans AL3 6BB, UK

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