This weekend saw the Caledonian Thebans travelling down to Manchester to take on the Manchester Village Spartans 2nd XVs.
The Caledonian Thebans dominated the opening exchanges, with a prevailing forward pack. Blair Smith opened the scoring with two well worked tries from a series of forward attacks, taking the lead to 10 – 0. The Spartans then hit back, keeping possession and challenging the Thebans line. Some great defensive work from the backline, in particular Neil Fox & Michael Elliot kept the home side at bay. The Spartans were eventually rewarded with a well worked try from a series of Thebans penalties to bring them back to within a score. A blind side run by Johnathan Cockayne and Smith saw another Thebans try, this time converted by Cockayne to put the visitors twelve points ahead. The Spartans took another try before half time leaving them a score behind going into the second half.
The Spartans started the second half strongly, driving the Thebans back. The Thebans defence remained strong however, and after a period of intense attack they were able to successfully turn the ball over and clear their lines. The Thebans then showed their class, and after Fox and Paul Gardiner had made inroads through the middle, the ball went wide to Nathan Colom who flew down the wing to score a beautiful try (somewhere between the corner and the posts). Another well worked try from the base of the scrum saw Smith score his fourth try of the game and allowed Cockayne to redeem himself with a second conversion.
The Spartans managed to pull a try back but it was too little too late and a rampant Thebans side, dominant both in defence and attack, proved too strong. Demonstrating remarkable cohesion the Thebans side scored a final cracking try of their own after some high-quality phase play. Smith was the catalyst with the initial break, and picking the ball from the base of the ruck, the excellent Forrester saw off two tacklers before driving over the line.
The Thebans had a great game showing some promising attacking with top notch handling by the likes of Fox & Gardiner and some great physicality in the forwards from Smith, Johnathan Geary & Robert Doyle. The Thebans led the game from the start and though they conceded four tries from some soft penalties they showed some real quality defence throughout. The Thebans had scented blood and truly dominate the final exchanges of the game. A great display of handling, running and tackling saw a well deserving Neil Fox take the Man of the Match award.
Tries: Smith (4), Forrester (1), Colom (1)
Conversions: Cockayne (2)