CS RUGBY 48 v GUERNSEY 49
Pieces of eight - a cunning plan comes to nothing!- Nick Alway reports
Nick Alway reports
Pieces of eight - a cunning plan comes to nothing!
It is a cunning plan to show pirates half your treasure and then expect to steal theirs. It almost worked! At 0-24 down after 20 minutes CS appeared to have a grim afternoon in prospect : yet the match was to turn into a 16 try thriller (8 a piece). It was the islanders, however, who at the final whistle had their hands on the plunder.
By half time the score stood at a much more respectable 19-29 and, shortly after the break, the gap had narrowed further to 26-29. Although Guensey soon extended their lead yet again there was a growing feeling that the Stags now had their measure and that if they could only get their noses in front the spoils could well yet be theirs. So when on 72 minutes they took the lead , the score now 43-39, all seemed set fair . Guernsey would be dispirited by going behind surely? Not a bit of it : aided by some home side sloppiness they came roaring back to record two further tries of their own and with three minutes left on the clock were now leading 43-49.
But still there was a final twist as the Stags secured possession and patiently went through the phases. Then, incisive centre play created enough room for Ross Yiend to go round the remaining Guernsey defence in the corner but not quite enough of it for him to make any serious infield yardage so as to improve the conversion chances. So, at the end of this whirlwind afternoon, it all hinged on the final conversion from wide-out left. Sadly Scott Hadden could not coax it over and the emotionally drained Stags' supporters were left with just the consolation of two bonus points in defeat. A somewhat shell-shocked Guernsey could return to their own baileywick with the spoils : a profitable first ever visit therefore to Duke's Meadows for them!
Ex-Scotland coach, Frank Hadden who had been the guest coach at the previous Tuesday evening's coaching session and who was in the crowd supporting the team and his son, must have wished he had had as much time to feed in on defensive structures as he had had to assist with the running of supporting lines!
This curiosity of a game will live long in the memories of those who witnessed it and it is certainly by some considerable way the highest scoring game with a one point winning margin that your reporter has ever witnessed. It would be easy to put it all down to poor defence and there was much of that certainly : from the Stags' perspective particularly during that atrocious opening period and Guernsey also will have been self flagellating this week for some of their second half play - but it was not as simple as that by any means. There were flashes of real skill from both sides and Guernsey's lineout work in particular in the first half was outstanding.
It is difficult to identify the truly significant moments in a game with so much happening but I will advance some cautious suggestions nonetheless. With the score at 26-29 CS stole two successive defensive 5 metre lineouts from their hitherto aerially faultless opponents - only for the final clearance kick to go the length of the pitch and dead. From the resulting 5 metre scrum Guernsey picked up at No 8 and scored. Not long after that Chris Endersby was binned for killing a ball not that far from the half way line and then - for a period - CS were down to thirteen men with Craig Bellringer also being sin-binned not long afterwards. Admittedly the Stags did then score again when down to fourteen but if those various scenarios had played out a little differently would it all have ever come down to that final conversion attempt? I somehow doubt it ! It had been a brave afternoon though.
CS points scorers