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2nd XV - Match centre

Wallsend I
Gateshead II
Sat 2 Dec 14:15 - Friendly Full time

2's fail to adapt to ref's calls!

Report by James Collins

I had never played at Wallsend before, but was aware that they are currently working on getting a new clubhouse and changing rooms. When we arrived at the ground, the changing rooms they had didn’t look much from the outside, but when we got in we found we had plenty of room and the facilities were very good, so no complaints there. Our game 1s game had been called off due to the weather, but the pitch at Wallsend was in really 1st class condition, so all signs pointed to a very good game of rugby.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t really to be, the game kicked off and from the start we were a bit bullied by the opposition at the breakdown, conceding a early turnovers. The referee’s management of the tackle area was ‘unique’ and his understanding of the offside laws did not tally with my own, but we failed to get to grips with his calls and Wallsend didn’t, so you have to give credit to them for that. They adapted better than us, and were content to wear us down by bashing away with big forwards around the breakdown and big centres in the midfield, it worked really well for them.
They had a Centre who was very difficult to bring down, needing 2 or 3 of our lads each time he got on the ball, and gaps and errors in our defence lead to us being 2 tries down pretty early on. 12-0
We did manage to fight back ourselves and scored a couple of tries through Johnny Thandi to get the score back to 12-12.
Unfortunately, injuries and referee decisions hampered us in the throughout the game. Dan Austin had been playing very well, but had to go off when he fell awkwardly and hurt his knee, Tom Weaver had a knock on the head and came off at half time, and Matt Butler had already gone off after breaking/dislocating/splitting open his finger in one of the most visually disgusting injuries I has seen for a long time. Towards the end Dan ‘Psycho’ Fenwick saw fellow for a vicious and unprovoked kick at a player who had been allegedly holding him back. You’re not kidding anyone Dan, we all know about your legendary temper!
Wallsend continued to hammer away at us and with players missing and others playing out of position, we just couldn’t keep them out. We ended up losing 22-12.
Some decent performances, Lewis Lacey played out of position at 10 and did it manfully. Dan Austin and Corey Blacklock were the pick of our backs, Corey especially made some good yards with runs from the back of rucks and scrums and looked dangerous when he had the ball. Our make shift wingers in Matty Cooper and Finlay Reah defended really well, and although didn’t get the service to show how their attacking abilities, they couldn’t be blamed for that.
In the forwards, Tom Race had a good game continuing his recovery from injury, and Johnny Thandi did well to keep the lads going. Johnny and Tom were the first to try to do something about the issues we had at the breakdown. Johnny was just back from his holidays and played the full 80, although he was blowing a bit by the end of the game!
Charlie Davis came on and did a good job for us. He’s not played many at this level, but he has the ability and he really put himself about in a period where we were scrapping for everything. James Moore made some big hits too, although I doubt his stint covering in the centres will lead to a long-term change…
So, decent effort all round, good spirit form the lads for the second half, but yet again it took us too long to get going and by the time we did, we had a mountain to climb. We need to learn our lessons!

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