Hustlers v BBOB
The last game...............
Acklam Hustlers finally finished their long season with an away fixture to Tim Faint’s old team Hartlepool BBOB.
Ack’s starting XV was much changed from the previous week as we welcomed Steven Hamilton for his 1st senior game of rugby since joining us through r2r , Paul Jeffers & Phil Mabo adding some guile and experience in our backs & Johnny Wills bringing skill , commitment and a great work ethic to the team .
It was great to see Dad & Son in the same pack with Garry and Joel Nichols playing as our flankers (hopefully one day Dad Garry will be as good as Joel ;)
And so to the game.
The captains pre-match instruction of absolutely smashing your 1st tackle was completely ignored in the opening passages of play and allowed bbob to run in easy , soft tries.
This set the tone for the 1st 30 minutes as we struggled to put anything resembling a rugby move or tackle together.
Then Johnny hit a monster tackle against their biggest player that resulted in the bbob lad having to leave the pitch and our lads took heart.
Young Joel Nichols & Johnny linked up well to start gaining yards that allowed us to bring Ash , Paul & Phil into the game - with Ack starting to play actual rugby we managed to cross the line with the captain stretching over for our 1st try.
Halftime came score bbob lots , Acklam 5.
The half time talk was all about composure & doing the basics correctly and this , along with a change at 9 , enabled us to be much more competitive in the 2nd half .
Great work by Joel & Jonny allowed Garry to ignore the overlap( again ) and crash it in , with Ash seizing the opportunity to nick a try & cement his place as top Hustler try scorer for the season.
The mood in the game changed & what had been a good spirited social match resulted in 3 yellow cards for the home team . This carried on to the last play when BBOB finished off with a try by their 9 with a simple pick up from the back of the scrum as his opposite number just stood & watched him run past .
The final whistle came as a relief after a hard game where we came off as 2nd best , but against a team with a squad of 30 players who were playing at DN3 level 2 years ago.
Special mentions go to big Jack McLoughlin with his best performance in a hustlers shirt yet .
Phil & Paul for adding experience & grit to our backs
Garry & Neal for helping us out again .
Man of the match goes to Jonny for his all round play but especially is attitude & ability to bring out the best in those around him.
A very close second was Joel Nichols for his ability to attack the opposition & even when he gets wrapped up by 2 or 3 lads , still fights to gain a few extra yards for his team .
Dick of the day had a few candidates but We’re not finishing this season on a low note
Instead I just want to thank everyone of you who has pulled on a hustlers shirt this season, at times it’s been a hard, hard slog but for the most part it’s been the best season I’ve ever been part of as we’ve shared laughs , tries & beers together
See you all next season for more of the same .
George & Kris .