Single Score For Understrength Bakewell Team Settles Scrappy Contest
With another double header, this time against the two Sheffield teams of Tigers & Abbeydale clashing with St Anselm’s School rugby tournament the depleted Bakewell ranks already reeling from the surprising news of Josh Oddy’s departure from rugby were always going to struggle to field a full (Let alone competitive) team. In the end, after much work from Team Manager Linda Mayhew’s texting finger the previous evening, an eight of Will Adlington, Harrison Butterworth, Ryan Dakin, Eddie Finnay, Joe Fitzsimons, Tom Mayhew, Dan Stevenson & Max Webber answered the call.
With one player short the Sheffield coach kindly agreed to a Tiger player donning the blue hooped shirt to take the field as a Bakewell Mannerian. That honour went to one Louis Dodsworth a prop by trade who was immediately despatched to the three quarters taking his place gamely, albeit displaying the positional sense……………………of a prop.
With the Tigers having fielded their first string team in the earlier rubber to exact revenge for their previous week’s defeat by Abbeydale, Bakewell were somewhat fortunate to be pitted against effectively a Tiger’s ‘B’ squad. The previous inter-Sheffield match apparently had an element of ‘grudge’ running through it as Bakewell coach Ryan Fitzsimons, & referee for his charges encounter with the Tigers, had been asked to ‘cover’ in his pre-match address to both teams the ‘unusual’ tackling practises that had allegedly occurred earlier (Unfair leverage being gained from the groin area, involving grasping apparently!).
The Bakewell boys somewhat bemused by this request did however conspire to commence in their now customary fashion; plenty of enthusiasm but without the organisation and discipline required to trouble better teams.
In the absence of the towering presence of Litchfield as a driving force Harrison Butterworth took up the mantel making good yards…….before losing possession. Gradually Bakewell advanced; a Tiger error gifting a scrum adjacent to their line allowing scrum half Mayhew to find Joe Fitzsimmons who burst over for a score. The floodgates didn’t however open as the fans hoped, as the game never progressed beyond that of a pretty scrappy affair. This could have been due to the opposition’s unfamiliarity at playing as a starting line up; or just the now usual Bakewell starting lethargy. There were some points to cheer; Ryan Dakin’s excellent tackle and Will Adlington’s subsequent drive, despite the close attentions of numerous Tigers. Butterworth then drove forward but despite crossing the line could not conspire a means of grounding (Probably something to do with the four Tigers on or around him). Half time allowed time for some running repairs to Dan Stephenson’s bloody nose before battle recommenced.
Bakewell’s lack of movement of the ball to their three quarters blunted any cutting edge against a resolute Tiger defence and whilst the boys demonstrated some consistently fine rucking you always felt that the inability to test the Tigers out wide was always going to limit the margin of victory whilst leaving them vulnerable to a sucker punch (As at Melbourne the previous week). Bakewell’s forwards maintained pressure for much of the half but ultimately the game was summed up by the final play which ended with a Bakewell knock on. ‘If your boys play like that against Abbeydale they’re going to get stuffed’ was the frank assessment of one of the Tiger coaching staff which, whilst not totally fair, did contain an element of truth……..
Final score Bakewell 1: Tigers 0.