Kilburn Cosmos v Grasshoppers
Kilburn hosted their first home game of the season welcoming Grasshoppers to Gladstone Park.
After a tough start to the season Kilburn had a few lessons to learn from and put into practice. Kilburn's first half display showed a lot of promise, unforced errors were down and Kilburns discipline was improved with a reduced penalty count. Kilburn looked the dominant team in the first half, Kilburn's pack applied pressure retaining the ball and making yards around the tight exchanges. Neville Marshall, Aly Bursey, Tom Ding all stood out and we're making the decisive inroads. With Kilburn's set piece looking stronger the pack would open the scoring on the day, multiple phases after securing set piece ball put Grasshoppers under pressure and the pressure eventually told when the defence was stretched it was Hooker Tom Ding who picked the ball up 5 yards out and sniped over the line untouched. Unfortunately Kilburn couldn't add the extra points from the conversion which would prove a downfall over the duration. Grasshoppers replied with a penalty after the Kilburn defence had scrambled and held out not giving up the 5 point try but offering the opposition 3 easy points infront of the posts. Kilburn replied swiftly however again with pressure mounting from forward exchanges but this time Grasshoppers clearing their lines straight down the throat of Cosmos Full Back George Brooke who charged back before firing a crisp pass to captain Fraser Hutt who released his brother Andy to round two defenders and take the 5 points in the corner, again Kilburn missed the conversion all be it this one from the touch line. Grasshoppers as per previously responded with some of their own pressure, again Kilburn were resilient but gave up a penalty which afforded Grasshoppers 3 more points, 10-6 to Kilburn. Kilburn although feeling in full control of the game couldn't extend the lead and get out of sight. They were to score again before the half however with some lovely interchanges, Oliver fed Andy Hutt on a tight angle that took him away from the defenders, Hutt fed No 8 Martin Catterall who in turn drew the last defender and slipped the ball to ever present 2nd row Andrew Brotherston who dotted down for 5 more points, Kilburn couldn't add the extras and Grasshoppers replaced again with 3 points, the half finishing 15-9 to the home side.
At half time Kilburn were confident that with the swap of ends and the wind behind them that they could really apply the pressure and extend their lead having scored with relative ease I the opening half. Unfortunately 3 minutes into the second half right winger Niall Coghlan found himself in trouble when he made contact with the Grasshoppers full back while he was in the air, the referee deemed it a red card offence and Kilburn found themselves down to 14 men for the remainder of the match. Although Kilburn's performance in the first half would suggest that they could have continued to take the game to Grasshoppers Kilburn instead went into their shells and mentally fell off the speed of the game. They found themselves in a battle with grasshoppers scoring a converted try to take the game to 15-16. With about 20 minutes to go Kilburn found some strength and worked their way up the pitch taking two penalty kick scores in quick succession to take them 21-16 up. With 10 minutes to go Kilburn were beginning to tire having played with a man less for 30 minutes, a few missed tackles and some good running from the grasshoppers meant that Kilburn were under pressure and eventually broke to give grasshoppers another converted try, grasshoppers leading 21-23. Kilburn rallied with the last few phases of the game and forced the game to run past the 80 minute mark by retaining position looking for the gap or penalty that would afford Kilburn a chance to take the game back, unfortunately an exhausted Kilburn side knocked the ball on and the game was over, the defeat tougher than the two previous games with Kilburn knowing they should have been taking full points after a positive first half display.
Kilburn will need to regroup and make positive strides to try and bring home their first win of the season next week away to Datchworth. Captain Fraser Hutt said after the game that ' it had been a tough introduction to London North West 3 league but that that game was the toughest loss so far, we knew it was there for the taking and failed to find the killer instinct, the red card hurt us but we still had the ability to win that game. We have plenty in our locker this year though and feel when we find our stride that we will be able to challenge all teams at this level