Hard fought draw tough pill to swallow for the Blues.
Coventry 2nd XV 12 - 12 Bishop's Stortford Blues
The Bishop’s Stortford Blues faced an impressive Coventry development squad last weekend in a nail biting match for both sides. After an impressive bout between the two first XV’s, which saw a narrow victory for the home side, the Blues and Cov Dev took to the field.
It was the Blues who found top gear quickest, providing the pressure in the first 10 minutes. After a couple of territorial kicks into the corners, and some impressive forward play, the Blues were able to get themselves into a great position. After an injection of pace by Centre Ross Bird, he was able to setup an easy two on one in the corner, where Lawrence Joel cruised over the line for the first score. A simple kick by fly half, Webber, made it 7-0.
It was becoming clear that the wet conditions were making it tough for the home side, who reverted to very one-dimensional tactics. Coventry’s fly half repeatedly fed a barrage of forwards tucking the ball up their jumper’s phase after phase. Although some credit must go to the side for looking after the ball so well, the iron wall of defense offered by the Blues was not going to be breached.
It wasn’t long before the more expansive rugby of Bishop’s Stortford, found themselves on the front foot again. Finding width didn’t seem to be an issue for the Blues, and they quickly found space around the outside.
After some well organised phases by the forwards, centre Ross Bird put his mark on the game for the second time. A quality turn of pace allowed him the space to beat his man and step past two covering tackles, before putting winger Joel into the corner for the second time of the match.
With 10 minutes before the end of the half, Bishop’s Stortford were in control, not for the increased efforts by the home side. A quick break by Coventry saw the prop forward lumber through, putting them on the front foot.
Yet again, Stortford were able to quickly diffuse the pressure, much to the frustration of Coventry’s lock, who was subsequently sin binned for throwing punches, much to the frustration to their coach, who spoke strongly to the referee about some of the decisions made before the half was called.
The second half saw veteran Jimmy Rea take to the field, with the hope that an experienced head would help the Blues go home with their first win of the season. But the relentless attack of the home side showed their determination to get themselves back into the match.
It was continued pressure by the home side, as they threw everything at the Blues who were camped on their line. Their resolve was eventually rewarded, with a well worked try ending with the winger falling over the line in the corner. Unconverted, the score stayed at 12-5.
With 20 minutes to go, the Blues brought on international debutant, Anatolli to replace Tryscorer LJ.
The Blues had very little opportunity to put any phases together with most of the play in their 22. It was a valiant effort by everyone to keep the Coventry side out. With a couple of penalties rewarded to the attacking side, the fly half chose to hit the corner and build an attempt to get an equalizing try.
A collapsed maul saw front row Alfie Walsh receive a yellow card, leaving the Blues a man short for the remainder of the match. But that didn’t seem to phase the players, as they continued their efforts to defend their line at all costs.
With just a minute to go, the Blues had a lineout just metres from their line, which frustratingly saw the possession get turned over giving the home side the advantage. However the referee took the last play of the match into his own hands, rewarding Coventry a very dubious penalty try. With no time to respond, the boys were left feeling hard done by.
All in all the Blues fought well and deserved more than a draw from the match, but it was a fantastic effort by the team.