With the Hurricanes being truly on form this season, the chance of a top-of-the-table finish for the Hurricanes was looking highly likely so far. Staines Titans were also a powerful contender in this year’s season to finish in a good position before the play-offs. However, it’s still early in the season, so anything can change at any time.
The morning began smoothly for both teams. It was without delay both teams began their warm up drills and prepared for the match ahead, both teams were going through intense warm up sessions, in preparation for this highly challenging match. And with both teams feeling mentally and physically prepared and motivated for the match, the referee called the team captains over to get the match underway.
The match began with Staines receive the ball. It was a strong effort right from the beginning, with the Titans being switched on right from the word “Go”. A lot of good runs were coming from the players, but it was a fumble just before the half way line from an attempted low catch that gave the Hurricanes possession, Full Back Matt Shaw makes a brilliant run across the field. Only to be held at bay by a brilliant Titans defence. The Hurricanes pound the Staines defencive line but despite blocked many times by a solid line of bodiyes, getting to tackle 5 on the staines line Dummy Half and Captain Dan Johnson trys another approach and put in a cleve cross field kick. It is caught cleanly by the staines defenc but the Hurricanes chase well and tackle the catcher over his own try line which results in a dropout. Despite a fresh set of six tackles in the staines half of the pitch the Hurricanes still fail to secure a try and 4 points completing their set of 6 just short of the try line.
The possession now comes into the hands of the Titans. The set begins with the Titans on a strong break only to be taken down by strong tackle by Kyrece Williams. The Hurricanes go on to defend the Titans efforts to score the first try in the match. The Titans do show incredible resistance to the Hurricanes efforts to take them out into touch.
Nevertheless, the Titans continue to push forward, leading to tackle five, where the Titans go for the kick only to knock the ball on in the attempt. Hurricanes recive possession on the 20 meter line and a darting run from Anees Grant-Salih
, take the team to just over halfway. However both teams seem equally matched in defence and although on their try line they still force the Hurricanes to kick again on the 5th tckle, it is an impressive kick that slowly spirals down to the waiting hands of a Hurricanes player..but in his desperation to score and the interfierence from the Titians defence ends up dropping the ball forward for a knock on.
At this point the Titans are definitely proving hard to beat. It appears, at this point, that the Hurricanes are starting to get a bit desperate in their attempts to keep the oppositing pinned in their own half as a high tackle gives away a penalty.
Unfazed by this error the Hurricanes continuing to try and play to the best of their ability, and end up holding the Titans just yards from the try line.
Despite the Titans using hammer runners and trying all they can to burst through the defence, the Hurricanes aren’t prepared to surrender the first try of the match, and the Titans eventually end up being held at bay and completing their set, resulting in a turnover.
However, because of another handling error from the Hurricanes, the Titans regain the ball in an attacking scrum 20meters from the Hurricanes try line. The first attempt is a strong promising run, but a terrific tackle by Kelvin Asare that cuts the run short. A feeling of frustration and anger is starting to come from the Titans, as they resort to taking another kick, which is misfortunate to fall out in touch. The Hurricanes reclaim possession, beginning with another great run from Anees Grant-Salih
, which is a progressive break.
Then Samuel Ajayi takes his team further forward down the pitch. Quick tacktical play the balls result in catching the Titans offside, resulting in the Hurricanes dropping to Tackle Zero and in good field position, After 15 minutes of hammering rugby league from both teams the hurricanes keep up the relentless pace and take the tap penalty quickly rocketing through the unprepared Staines defence, and bring the ball down to claim the first try in the game. Now it falls to Dan Johnson to take the conversion kick, who is succedes with ease. The Hurricanes now have the early advantage, with the score at 6:0.
With the try scoring team receiving the ball back, it gives the Hurricanes a chance to build on their lead. As soon as the Hurricanes receive the ball, they make good strong progress up the pitch. and it’s not long at all before full back Matt Shaw bursts straight though the gaps in the Titans defence from a scoot and scores try. Because the try was achieved close to the edge of the pitch, it’s a challenging effort for Dan Johnson, which does prove to be a bit too much of a challenge this time as the ball flies inches off target. And with the score now standing at 10:0, it looks as though there were some stern words being said right now to the Titans.
As the Titans take the re-starting kick, they unfortunetly incure a penalty against them with several players being in front of the kicker, and so the Hurricanes recvie possiesion with a tap penalty on the halfway spot.
Kelvin Asare takes the tap and runs himself unfortunetly his good efforts are dumbfounded as he is tackled into touch. The Titans now recive the ball back with an attacking scrum. From this, the Titans make a good break down the open side except the pressure and strong defence coming from the Hurricanes is on top form, and they prevented efforts of the Titans with such strong tackeling they force the stanies players to drop the ball and turnover possession.
Strong runs from lose forward Samuel ajyia and Samuel Allen-Harvey take the hurricanes to the top right cornor of the pitch as they strive to get on the scoreboard before the halftime whistle. However it is not to be as the staines defence show there is still everything to play for standing firm And as the set ends, the referee calls Half Time
The score at half time stands at: Hurricanes 10-Titans 0
With both sides showing incredible effort, especially in their defensive attempts, the Hurricanes have done incredibly well so far to achieve the two tries they have so far, with the benefit of the two point conversion, but with 25 minutes still remaining in the second half, it’s all to play for. How will both teams act on what they know of their opponents?
The second half kicks off with the Hurricanes reciving the ball but due to a rare forward pass give possession back to Staines deep in there own half, eager to redeem themselves the Hurricanes swarm around the Titans and make the tackle after tackle, they continue this defensive effort until an lose carry sees Staines dropping the ball forward in the tackle, Hurricanes then take this opportunity to make a darting run, and another quick play the ball see the hurricanes cutting through an unprepared Staines defence to cross the white line for another TRY, which is followed by Dan Johnson taking a successful conversion kick, raising the score to 16:0.
It seems that all the Hurricanes need to do is kepe hold of the ball and they will continue to increase there lead over staines, a point that head coach Pierre Aghabala
realiterates to the team.
The Hurricanes continue to make some grate runs from kick off, but this time staines are more prepared for them and force them to 5th tackle and a kick. Which results in the Titans receiving the ball and possession in open play.
Despite the strong players in the Titans attack, it’s still nothing that can’t be handled by the stronger defenders in the Hurricanes team, who work the attackers expertly in the tackle and by time for there team mates to re organise there defence, namely the Ajayi twins. This time stains chose not to kick and simply run the ball in on the 5th tackle. So the Hurricanes retake possession after some great defence and now make some excellent runs of their own, only to spill the ball and give possession back to stains, who have a few flashes of brilliance and some deceptive footwork leaves a Croydon defender flat footed and stanes break the gain line except star Full Back Matt Shaw is able to end their run and any chances of scoring with it.
With the Hurricanes being able to pick up on their defence once more, they are able to claim possession and begin another run to the try line.
It now falls to Matt Shaw to make a break to the line, but his speedy run is held by the Titans defence, however the Hurricanes are able to defeat the Titans defence and score one more try. And with the conversion kick being successful once more by Dan Johnson, the score is once again raised to 22:0.
With the score line widneing and only minutes left to go on the clock, is there any potential for the Titans to catch up, or perhaps get close to their opponents score to ramp up the pressure, or at least get on the scoreboard. Time will tell, except there’s not a lot of it left…
By this time, it would appear that the Titans are really beginning to feel frustrated as their restarting kick goes directly off the pitch, which, because there was no bounce or touch in between, there is now a penalty tap in the favour of the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes make some successful runs down the center success of the run, but the problem is the Titans just can’t quit defending but the Hurricanes fight on, where they are eventually able to beat the defence and achieve another try.
It’s back to Dan Johnson to take the conversion kick, which is successful once again. Now that the score stands at 28:0,
With literaly seconds left on the clock the restart kick is received by Abel Paintsil
, who passes over to Matt Shaw, and then onto Kelvin Asare, who goes on a run that comes to an abrupt end when he is pressurised to go out of touch, which means the turnover. After the Titans go on a run, it’s down to Samuel Ajayi to end Tiants run, which he dose perfectly.
After the Hurricanes are able to perform a couple of solid tackles, the Titans continue to push upfeild, and it’s absolutely incredible how the Hurricanes have the energy to defend the efforts of the Titans so late in the game.
The Hurricanes make one last strive for a chance to boost their points in the match, though the Titans are determined not to let the Hurricanes add insult to injury, and as the Titans are able to retake the ball, the referee blows his whistle, this time to end the match for Full Time.
The Score at the end of this match is: Croydon Hurricanes 28-Staines Titans 0
A truly incredible match from today sees the Croydon Hurricanes remain at the top of the table, undefeated in the league and for the fist time this season complete a game without conciding a try! The match however, was a highly impressive display of effort from both sides, with the early stages making it look like the match could go either way, but today it was the Croydon Hurricanes that were able to go that one step further and claim the tries and the bonus conversion points to make the difference.
Nevertheless, the Titans did show incredible determination and an unbreakable will to go on fighting, but it was, in the end, Croydon that stood out on this day.
NEXT WEEK: The Croydon Hurricanes will be taking a break from the Junior League, and will be stepping into the Challenge Shield Festival. After being eliminated from the Challenge Cup to rivals Medway Dragons weeks ago that ended 12-10 for the Dragons, will the Hurricanes be able to pick themselves up from their misfortunate defeat and claim their first piece of silverware this season, especially when up against competition from London Skolars, St Albans Centurions, hosts Hemel Stags, and local rivals Brixton Bulls?
We hope you will be able to come to this highly exciting event next week and continue to support the Hurricanes in their efforts in the Junior League this season. Still undefeated in the league, will the Hurricanes be able to make history by winning every fixture this season? Watch this space.
By Oliver Wright.