Once again I blame the wife for missing the game by having her birthday on a Saturday in the rugby season, I did the right thing and took her to London and in particular to Bond street.
As to the match, while waiting as my wife browsed the chocolate counter at Fortnum & Mason's I was able to look on the internet and to my great joy see that the team had pulled off a draw against St Austell.
Unbounded joy even, during the week at training and after talking to Joe outside the Lifecentre the general feeling seemed to be that we were most likely to loose.
Out of the first three matches so far we might reasonably have expected to win two and could have won the third after a good performance against Okehampton, as it was we didn't and particularly after the loss to Bude club spirit was low.
With St Austell close to the top of the table and us close to the bottom the prospects were not good.
As I said in the previous weeks dit we have many good players in the team and we have not become a bad team over the summer.
Anyway, reading the report in he Herald it seems that we could quite well have won.
In the first period we were 7~5 up after St Austell broke away early on for a 0~5 lead.
Then Matt Anstis
put in a ‘thoughtful’ kick that gave us a close in line out, and from it Joe Page
scored a try converted by Matt.
Matt continued to kick well and kicked us in to a good position and from the resulting backs move Ben McGowan
should, by his own standards, scored but fumbled the ball ten yards out.
With Saints struggling to breach out ‘rugged defence’ as the Herald put it, they eventually came away with a penalty to give them a half time lead of 7~8, which, so I read, they did not deserve.
Attacking early in the half we had the squeeze on the visitors when they kicked out of defence. Two of our defending players went for the ball, got in each others way and allowed St Austell a seven point try. 7~13.
With eleven minutes to go we escaped from some Saints pressure, they were penalised, collected a yellow card, and Matt added three points. 10~13.
Further pressure from us got us another penalty, instead of going for three points we went for a try to try and win the game. A fair shout, I think. We did not score.
Extract from the St Austell match report on their web page.
‘Camped on the hosts’ 22m line and with the electronic scoreboard showing time was up, Saints were successfully running the clock down through a series of forward drives. Suddenly the ball squirmed out of Saints hands and Services broke up field. Tackled on the 10m line Saints seemed to have prevented any real damage only to be penalised at the ruck. Quick thinking by the Services scrum half caught the Saints defence on the hop and although the run was stopped on the halfway it was at the expense of another penalty. Another attempt to tap and run was impeded by Saints who conceded a third penalty for not retiring the full 10m. The self-destruct button was then pressed as the ball was thrown away to prevent a third quick penalty leaving the Referee Marc Simon with no choice but to advance the mark a further 10m, crucially within kicking range. Up stepped Matt Anstis
to fire over the equalising penalty immediately followed by the final whistle to the delight of the home crowd. With Services celebrating as if they had won and Saints players collapsing to their knees in defeat it was hard to remember the game was drawn’.
The kick was out wide and 25 yards out. A difficult one for any kicker. For Matt, just another day at the office, he put it over to take the referees whistle and a draw.
Let's not get too carried away, it certainly lifted the gloom but there are difficult games ahead.
The fact that we deserved to win, in points and league position terms makes no difference, but in terms of team spirit it gives the firsts a huge boost.
Another bonus point in the bag always helps and Fortnum & Mason do sell nice chocolates.