This was a re-arranged game after being postponed earlier in the year due to the bad weather, as this should have been a free date some regular players had made other plans for the day. This included 4 of the normal front 5 forwards, however those who came into the team didn’t let anyone down and helped the team secure the win, plus a bonus point for 4 tries.
The first half was a tight affair, Blackburn did exert some early pressure on the home side’s line, however they were unable to cross the line, so they had to settle for 3 points from a penalty kick by Max Fullalove on 6 minutes. After this De La Salle had more possession and went through several phases of play, Blackburn’s defence was organised and prevented too much progress, however they did give away a penalty 35 metres out, De La Salle elected to kick at goal, but the ball just drifted wide. Following this much of the play was between the 22’s, with neither side able to break through the defence lines. Then on 27 minutes the home side were level, Blackburn were penalised and the resulting kick from just inside the Blackburn 10 metre line was successful.
At times up to this point Blackburn’s play had been a little frantic, however they started to settle down and began to take the upper hand. They came close to scoring a try on 32 minutes however Alan Howarth was just stopped short. However, they didn’t need to wait long, from a 5 metre scrum Blackburn had gone for the line, they were stopped short, the ball was then recycled , Danny Holland
looped round to feed Luke Copping, who showed good strength to go round the winger and stretched to score in the corner. This gave Blackburn an 8 – 3 half time lead, although De La Salle did have a penalty kick at goal, just before the half time whistle, however the kick was missed.
Blackburn started the second half applying pressure on the home side and after only 4 minutes they had their second try. The ball was recycled, it was passed from Max Fullalove on to Leon Fifield
, he spotted and managed to go through a gap, this took him deep into the 22, it looked like he could go for the corner, however he passed well back inside to Anton Garcia
who scored close to the posts. Max Fullalove kicked the conversion taking Blackburn’s lead to 15 – 3. Blackburn increased this lead on 56 minutes, De La Salle had the put in at a scrum just outside their 22, however the away side put a big shove on and won the ball against the head, this enabled Rob
Parker to go blind, his galloping run took him into the 22, he then threw a dummy making him space to go through and crash over the line. Max Fullalove kicked the conversion from close to the touch line taking the score to 22 – 3.
On 69 minutes Blackburn secured the bonus point by scoring their fourth try. From a line out on the far side, the ball went a little too long, however Rob
Parker managed to gather it, he then threw a long pass to Max Fullalove, he in turn passed it to Anton Garcia
, who fed Richard Maudsley
, from 20 metres he pinned his ears back and managed to score in the corner. This gave the away side a 27 – 3 lead. They nearly increased this lead with the last move of the game, Richard Maudsley
chipped the ball on, he followed the kick along with Danny Holland
, the defender made a bit of a hash of picking up the ball, Danny Holland
seized on the opportunity to swoop the ball up and dive for the line, however the referee adjudged that the ball had been knocked and the final whistle was blown.
This was not the most free following of performances from Blackburn this season, however they did enough to win and secure the maximum 5 points, this was especially impressive considering the number of regulars missing. De La Salle is never the easiest place to visit, the game was hard, however it was played in a good spirit. The home side kept trying to play and in particular the number 8, who never stopped running and this made him a constant threat.
This game will go down as a win for the first team, however they were greatly supported by the Development and 3rd team, as they both provided players to cover the missing first team players.
In addition to the above report from Scotty I would like to congratulate Della on their new changing facilities which were a welcome improvement to the portacabins from last year!
I also think it is important to mention what a good game it was from a spectators point of view. The scoreline was against them but at all times the game was played in the true spirit of the game of rugby. We were also made very welcome in the club house after the game - thanks lads for your hospitality.
Well done to all at De La Salle and good luck for the rest of the season
1st XV Manager