TOM ARMSTRONG OUTSTANDING IN SUPERB SECONDS
Notts. Security Plus Pennant League Group 3 14th April 2012
Bakewell Mannerians 2nd XV 61 pts Worksop 2nd XV 0 pts
Bakewell seconds finished their league programme with a flourish, and produced their best performance of the season. On a greasy pitch, against determined opposition, they dominated all phases of the game bar one: the lineout. Worksop’s forwards regularly produced clean ball off the top of the lineouts, and the possession gleaned enabled them to produce a competitive riposte throughout the match. This brought them into strong attacking field positions on a number of occasions, and once they forced their way over Bakewell’s line, but somehow Charlie Village got underneath to prevent the score.
Bakewell’s lineout ball was less assured, but with such slippery conditions underfoot, and the ball difficult to control, there were numerous set scrums. Here Bakewell were imperious. Their front five of Greagsby, Bentley, Bell R., Elliott and Harker produced a performance of such overwhelming dominance against big opposition that the referee frequently stopped proceedings, and gave Worksop the ball. The principle seemed to be that if one pack was going backwards at a rate of knots with their front row stood up, if not completely airborne, they should be awarded a penalty. This was actually fair enough; with the young referee doing extremely well, and being advised what to do by his touchline mentor from the referee’s society; this was completely proper. Bakewell’s pack therefore eased off the pressure, and took virtually everything from the tight.
Tom Bell, returning from his travels, was a revelation at scrum half, pacey and quick witted, he revelled in the stream of possession, mostly winged out to Jim O’Neil, who played the perfect game at 10, given the limitations of the pitch and the conditions.
Kicking for position only occasionally, Bakewell’s captain had so much quality outside him, on this narrow pitch, that the question of what to do with the ball was a constant no-brainer. Give it to Tom Armstrong! Bakewell’s No 12, and man-of-the-match, will never produce a finer display of how to play the position than he did on this day. Always running straight lines; sometimes making breaks; standing up in the tackle, looking to commit defenders, and then off-loading beautifully to support arriving at pace, this was an object lesson in creative, powerful centre three quarter play. If he went to ground with the ball it was always retained for his back row. Selectors take note.
Given all of this a big score had to come. Armstrong set up five of the tries, the first after one minute, with Lewis Cleverley producing a great finish on the right wing. Three minutes later and Armstrong put Tom Bell away, to race over the line, and after that he set up his fellow centre John Pierce, whose elusive running caused consternation in the Worksop defence until he was substituted at half time. Pierce produced a solo effort to score on the half hour, and the young schoolboy Purseglove in his first start at No8 made a powerful break, feeding the ubiquitous Ed Boam for the score.
The manager had set his team a target of 40 points for the match, and with the score at
27 – nil at the break, they pressed home their advantage to produce a stream of points throughout the second half. O’Neil fed Harker for his first try for the club, following a routine rout at the scrummage. Bakewell’s next score was their best of the game; a flowing move out from a defensive lineout; the ball taken on by Elliott and a rampant Martin Pearce, through O’Neil and the excellent Rob Foster in at centre, with Bell T. doing an impersonation of Gareth Edwards to finish at a furious pace for the try. Bakewell next took Worksop’s ball from another set scrum and Village crossed for his try; and then made the pushover for big Hopko coming in at No 8 to touch down. The final period saw Armstrong setting up again, first to the flying Tom Bell, and finally for Hopkinson to cross in typical flamboyant Mohican fashion. Bell squeezed over three slippery conversions.
Team: Bell R.,Bentley,Greagsby,Elliott,Harker Boam E, Village C., Purseglove, Bell T,O’Neil ( Capt ), Tolleyfield,Armstrong T, Pierce J.,Cleverley,Foster,
Subs: Pearce M,Hopkinson, Dunn,Clarke.
Scorers: Tries Bell T 3, Cleverley,Pierce 2, Harker, Boam,Village,Hopkinson 2
Conversion Bell T.3