We struggled to put a team together for this match. In a game that was to be, for some of us, our fourth outing in eight days. Myself, Josh Cook and Justin Brown all played for the fourth time. Supported by Darren Neilly, Joe Shiel and Rhys Forryan. Then there were a few of the regulars but we were low on personnel. So we looked towards the students for the numbers.
It was a cold wet day and we warmed up poorly. We elected to play up the mountain face first and receive the kick off. The plan was to assert our dominance in possession and to grind out the first half, then take advantage of playing down the cliff in the second half. It didn’t go to plan! We got stripped in the tackle and failed to retrieve the ball from our own rucks on no less than the first seven occasions. We found ourselves 12-0 down in the first 15 minutes. That deserves to go in the hall of shame. The riot act was read and we managed to get some possession and territory. We charged over and over again and we finally managed to breach their lines for Irish to score. Parry kicked the conversion and we looked like we might have a chance. 12-7
After a bit of a Scuffle in a ruck their 8 gave Parry a slap and decided to get off the pitch sharpish with the ref waving a nice red card at him. Then they came back at us again and again and unforced errors lead to conceding again. We went in at half time 17-7 down.
Changes were made and we had the advantage of the sheer drop. We saw the debuts of Andrew Jiri at 12, Mark Wilmott at wing, plus Charlie Bottazzi on his debut gave way to Tannaj Simpson for his second run out.
We came out powerful and managed to assert some dominance leading to another well worked forward try allowing Rhys to get over again from a whopping 47mm. 17-12
Next, Parry had a go but was denied by the referee in a tight call. Cooky and Campbell also joined the can’t put the ball down over the line crew. However, shortly after their pacey ten performed some kind of voodoo magic to slip through our lines to score under the posts. 24-12. It was just about within our grasp if we took a stranglehold on possession and played cleverly. With fifteen minutes to go, we got a penalty 20m away from their lines. Parry took the quick tap and passed on to me, I advanced then threw a lobbed miss pass that Eddie Newman gathered and ran in for the try. 24-19 all to play for. We then steeled our wits and turned on the power, going at them over and over until their line finally broke. Allowing a very hungover Rhys to score ten metres from the right touch line. 24-24, squeaky bum time! Parry stepped up. Threw a stone in the air, did his best Jonny Wilkinson impression, then smashed the ball straight through the posts. 24-26 to us, five minutes to play. Up the jumper for glory was the call. We killed the game for 3 minutes then one of our wingers kicked up field and didn’t chase. Leaving us all offside. No names, we don’t like to highlight our mistakes, he was from Morrocco. So we were on the back foot and they came at us hard! Until they spilt the ball forward, leading to the biggest cheer of the season!
Sensational comeback, fantastic to watch. A true show of recovery and character. Strong Performances from Irish, Andrew Jiri and thanks to Rhys for turning up 5 minutes before kickoff after getting changed at Old Rishworthians, what a prize plonker! We’ll let him off, as he scored two tries. Irish’s star moment was when he decided to go for the huge up and under in our own 22. It went high and only 5 yards backwards! He did however save face a little when he plucked it from the heavens, put his head down and went forward, like he should have done in the first place! Andrew Jiri was powerful going forward and made a couple of big hits, he was the pick of the students and looked like a promising talent. All in all, a top afternoon.