A Tightly fought final ends in a loss to the Grizzlies.
The last match of the season didn’t go quite to plan as The Grizzlies traveled to Letchworth to play their Plate final against Tabard 2XVS.
We knew we had a good chance as we had beaten them twice in the league and we had a strong squad of players. We were the first group of matches to be played and everyone was seemed ready and up for the match.
Unfortunately we lost the toss and the Opposition elected to kick. From the off it felt like it was going to be a tight affair.
Early on Tabard exerted some pressure with their 9, 10 and 12 pulling the strings. They seemed to have the majority of the possession and camped in our half for most of it. Good defence from the Grizzlies meant they couldn’t convert that pressure into points. Equally though we couldn’t get our own game going and things were not going our way. Missed kicks to touch, losing the ball in the tackle weren’t helping our cause and the penalty count started to rise. Even our trusty line breakers weren’t having the impact they usually have. It just felt we were a little off the pace and a bit flat.
Then a moment that could have settled the nerves. A penalty kick right in front of the posts. Chris Butterworth took over the Kicking duties as Robin Bye was on the sidelines. Unfortunately it was missed and Tabard punished us by kicking their own penalty to make it 3-0 at Halftime.
The second half we knew we had to raise our game. Unfortunately Tabard came out with the same mentality and scored first. 8-0
Our pack started to really dominate but unfortunately early on Darren Ead caught the ball from an offside position and he got yellow carded. More from the fact we had been giving away too many penalties and after numerous warnings the ref felt he had no choice. Down to 14 men. The pack reshuffled so that we could stay contested.
Adversity always seems to lift the Grizzlies and it did this time. Darren Coley weaved his way through the crowded defence. His determination was rewarded as he powered his way over the line in the corner. Conversion missed 8-5.
With our tails up and after a bit of sustained pressure Carl Lavin finally broke through and crossed the line. In the melee of bodies on top of him the ref deemed that he was held up although from the photos you can see he grounded the ball.
Tabard then had a player sin binned too which evened up the sides for a while. Unfortunately it seemed to work against us as Tabard ran in a try of their own only to be disallowed due to a forward pass. That spurred them on as they increased the pressure and the try they were looking for came from a mistake from us. As we looked to attack and spin the ball wide, a pass from our 10 got intercepted and they had a clear run in under the posts. Conversion made 15-5.
There was still time to come back but the Tabard’s defence held strong and nothing we tried seemed to come off. 15-5 Final score.
Too many mistakes were our undoing and I think every Grizzlie can hold their hand up and honestly say we weren’t at our best and didn’t deserve to win that game. A big congratulations to Tabard 2XVs for winning the Final. It was very disappointing and always hard to take but we win as a team and we lose as a team. The camaraderie and team spirit keeps us a close unit and I am truly proud of what the guys have achieved this season.
Ending up 2nd in the League and in a final is not bad going as we were prompted last season. It’s always an honor being Captain of the Grizzlies and I’m looking forward to leading them out next season. A special mention and Congratulations to Darren Coley for receiving Grizzlies Player of the Season at the OA’s End of Season Club Supper.
Ally Ruffett. Darren Ead. Deniz Gunbey. Simon Huntley. Alan Gray. Carl Lavin. Ben Hardwick. Steve Sibley. Kim Watson. Robin Bye. Pat O’Brien. James Sykes. Tawanda Mujere. Darren Coley. Mick Foley. Stu Williams. Steve Sugrue. Jeff Ninalga. Chris Butterworth.
|Letchworth Garden City Rugby Club|
|Letchworth Garden City Rugby Club, Baldock Rd, Letchworth Garden City SG6 2EN|