Tabard 2ndXV — Grizzlies

The Grizzlies travelled to Tabard hoping for a win

Tabard have struggled to put 2 teams out this season and so it was a pleasant surprise that they were able to confirm the fixture. In previous seasons we have found it a hard place to go to and get a result. Last season saw us win there for the first time in living memory so we wanted to go and try and replicate this result again.
With an injury struck side we had a few familiar faces returning to the Grizzlies and some colts to supplement our numbers.

The weather was a typical January afternoon, wet, windy and the pitch was heavy underfoot. We won the toss and decided to play up hill thinking we could have the advantage of playing downhill in the second half when limbs were tiring.

From the off our pack was dominant. Our trusty front row of Ally Ruffett, Darren Ead and Simon McGuiness gave a great platform for our second row and back row forwards. We were not only getting clean ball from our own scrum but pushing them back on their ball.

Our first try came when our number 8 bulldozed his way over the line for great early score. 5-0

Tabard responded well and came back at us scoring from some nice open play, passing down the line and creating an overlap. 5-5.

Our second try came from our Full back who ran fantastic lines all day stormed passed and through the Tabard defence to score. This time in blustery conditions we converted. 12-5.

The Tabard loosehead prop was having a torrid time against Simon McGuiness and had to go off. We offered Tabard our replacement front row to keep the scrum contested which thankfully they accepted.

Our third was created by the massive effort from the forwards. From a set piece scrum just outside the oppositions 22 a big shove came on. All 8 working hard to push Tabards scrum back. Our pack controlled it perfectly pushing them back with the ball at our 8’s feet. One of the Tabards forwards had come off his feet and was trying to collapse the scrum but even that didn’t stop our pack pushing them back over their try line. Our no.8 picked up the ball but was adjudged held up but the referee gave us a penalty try for deliberately collapsing the scrum. 19-5. Half time.

In the second half with the wind and the slope we thought we could pull away but alas the scrums had to go uncontested as Tabards Loosehead prop was fine to play but just not in the front row.

The game became a bit scrappier and chances were missed to score more tries. The backs created great chances and overlaps, but a few loose passes weren’t hitting their target or the final pass wasn’t being made. Fernando ran the length of the pitch leaving the Tabard defenders in his wake only to be caught by a great last ditch effort and a scoring chance was again missed.

Finally one of the chances was taken as our centres combined beautifully to run through the Tabard defence to cross the line 24-5.

There were great performances all over the pitch but MoM went to our open side flanker Alex Curtis who played his socks off. He made ground every time he had ball in hand and tackled his heart out stopping Tabard getting through our defensive line.

DoD could have gone to our 8 for not knowing the referee calls at the scrum (He was waiting for Engage! but it never came) or Fernando for try avoidance after his amazing run. But it was given to yours truly for calling Grizzlies on 3 in the huddle and instead of counting down I just called 3 so no one called it. DOH!

At the end of the day a great win which moves us to 2nd in the league. Next match is a tough home fixture against Hertford 4XVs.

Kim Watson
Grizzlies Captain


Tabard Rugby Football Club Ground
Tabard Rugby Football Club Ground, Cobden Hill, Radlett WD7 7JL, UK

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