The score suggests a closer game than it was, the home side had gone into a 29 to nil lead, however then Blackburn allowed Benedict’s to score 3 unanswered converted tries. It was a disappointing last 20 minutes of the season, the Blackburn players had switched off, may be thinking about sipping cocktails on the beach during the summer break!
With a strong wind behind them Blackburn made the best possible start to the match with a converted try after only 2 minutes. Danny Holland
had made a break into the away sides 22, the ball was recycled, it was passed along the line to centre, Richard Maudsley
, he spotted a gap and managed to get through it, before having enough strength to hold off the final defender to score. Pete McVeigh kicked the conversion.
Blackburn’s lead was soon extended to 12 – 0, as Lewis Bromley
scored in the corner after 6 minutes. The move had started on the other touch line, Blackburn had won a line out, the ball was passed along the backs, with Pete McVeigh doing well to shrug off a couple of defenders before passing to Bromley to cross the line. The conversion was missed.
After this Blackburn had the better of the game, with much of the play in their oppositions half. However, they had to wait until the 26th minute before they had their third try of the match, again the ball was passed along the line, with man of the match, Marco Vaghetti, being involved twice, the second time flicking the ball on to keep the move going, before the ball being recycled to Pete McVeigh, who hit the line straight and at pace enabling him to score in the corner. The conversion was missed, but the home side now had a 17 to nil lead. Blackburn extended this lead with the last move of the half, they won a line out just outside the 22, Steve Bibby then came in off his wing and showed great power as he shrugged off several tackles before scoring just to the left of the posts. The conversion was missed, but Blackburn still held a comfortable 22- 0 lead.
Blackburn started the second half as they did the first with an early try. From their own half there was good interplay taking play to just within the Benedict’s half, Pete McVeigh then kicked on, Ste Bibby chased well putting pressure of the Benedict’s full back who only managed to hack the ball into touch. Blackburn were then much faster thinkers than Benedict’s as a quick line out was taken to Tom Marland
, who then had an easy trot round under the post’s. The conversion was kicked by Pete McVeigh.
For the next 20 minutes most of the play was in Benedict’s half, but Blackburn were unable to score anymore points, but instead as mentioned earlier they seem to turn off and after 64 minutes Benedict’s scored the first of their 3 tries. Blackburn had begun to get penalised, with the referee awarding penalties regularly to Benedict’s and the away side took advantage of this as they used the wind advantage to kick to the corners. Ten minutes later Benedict’s added another 7 points after Blackburn being unable to deal with a chip through. The away side then scored another try and conversion with the last move of the match.
The win and bonus point secured Blackburn’s position of fifth in the table. Head coach, Dino Radice, was satisfied with his team’s performance, “It was a difficult selection due to injuries, however we did what we set out to do which was to win. It may not have been pretty at times, however if someone had offered me 5 tries and a bonus point before the start I would have accepted it.”
In this last report of the season I think it is fitting to mention some of the almost ever present forwards who tend not to make the headlines, but are crucial to the base that they give to Blackburn. While fellow forwards such as Copping, Parker, Millea and Rhodes, get regular mentions, the likes of Paul Gregson
, Liam Oldham
, Damian Miller, Tom Marland
and Gareth Bullen
don’t always get the recognition they deserve. For much of the season they have given Blackburn the upper hand in the scrum and they are often the one’s doing the hard work that is not really noticed, but without it Blackburn would be far worse off.