Datchworth 32 v Kilburn Cosmos 20
A new league, with new challenges
Kilburn travelled away to Datchworth at the weekend with only 1 point from a possible opening 15, Datchworth at the opposite end of the table were unbeaten and looking strong. Kilburn however flew out the blocks with full back Alistair Brace making good yards down the right wing and crossing the try line to dot down only to be pulled back by the touch judge for a dubious foot in touch call. Still though Kilburn continued to find space in the opening exchanges, centre Phil Cook making strong hard yards through the Datchworth defence and Kilburns loose forwards providing quick ball. Datchworth looked relieved to score the first points of the game after Kilburn gave away a penalty in their half and the Datchwork Kicker stood up and put the first points on the Board to take the home team 3 – 0. Kilburn found themselves under pressure over the next five minutes giving away too many penalties in the middle of the field allowing a strong Datchworth pack to have an attempt on Kilburn line via driving mauls and hard running forwards, Kilburn were resolute however and if any positives were to be pulled from the game it was the defence in these tight scenarios. A miss lack in judgment saw Datchworth score their first try, Kilburn player coach Andy Hutt saw space wide and as is in Kilburns nature they tried to expose it unfortunately the Datchworth wing had noticed it also and his only option was to go for the interception, he managed to get his hands cleanly on the ball before it reached Hutt and strolled over from Kilburns 22m line unopposed, Datcworth 10 Kilburn 0. Kilburn responded like expected from last year’s Herts and Middlesex 1 champions, they sucked it up and took it back to Datchworth, first taking the chance at 3 easy points from a penalty, prior to Hutt trying to make amends by running over the Datchworth stand off, followed by carries from back rowers Neville Marshall and Martin Catterall before stand-off Danny Clarke released right wing Ozzy Idemudia to score his first 1st team try, captain Fraser Hutt failed to add the extra’s leaving the score 10 – 8 to Datchworth. The score didn’t stay that way for long with Kilburn allowing Datchworth back into their 22, this time from the tight exchanges Datchworth rolled a maul over the Kilburn try line were it eventually came down, although no clear grounding of the ball could be made Datchworth were awarded the try and took full advantage taking the conversion also, Datchworth 17 Kilburn 8. Spirits were not to be broken however and Kilburn replied with some great running rugby ending with ever present second row forward and vice-captain Andrew Brotherston collecting an awkward ball and crossing the line for a try to be converted by Hutt, pulling the score at half time back to 17-15.
Discussions at half time revolved around cutting out the lapses in concentration that were leading to giving the opposition easy yards and in some cases easy points. At the same time the Kilburn coaching staff were positive and when Kilburn played their game and took the game to Datchworth they looked in full contention for the win they have been searching for since the start of the season. Kilburn however fell into the same trap that they fell into the week before, they failed to continue the good phase play they had established in the first half that saw Datchworth on the back foot, instead they were looking to make the glory pass or offload all to often, this resulted in knock ons and forward passes from forced exchanges, as such Datchworth retained more possession and inevitably given their strong start to the year turned this into points. Kilburn quickly found themselves pushing harder for the break when in reality they needed to relax and take their time and resort back to retaining possession as per the first half. Datchworth scored two unanswered tries, Kilburn slipping off a few tackles in each to provide the hosts the bonus point and a healthy cushion on the score board, 31-15. Kilburn lost stand off Clarke to injury pushing Hutt back to the number 10 slot, Fraser Hutt tried to retake control of the game looking to keep the ball and put phases together, it looked to be working but with 10 minutes left Datchworth were defending well and had no need to take any risks. Eventually kilburns rewards came for their renewed efforts with the Hutt brothers linking up for quick front foot ball, Fraser releasing Andy to break the Datchworth defence and take a converted score under the posts. This was as far as the revival was to make it, the clock ran out and while Kilburn were searching for a last score to take a bonus point loss for being within 7 points they gave the ball up and Datchworth were happy to end the game.
Kilburn Vice Captain and scorer Andrew Brotherston said that although the loss had hurt there was positives to take from the game, ‘we knew it would be a tough game with Datchworth having taken full points so far this year, but we travelled with a changed squad due to injuries and holidays and still felt strong and fully in the game. Unfortunately lapses in concentration in the second half cost us and at this new level we can’t afford to do that at crucial stage of the game. We will have a tough game next week welcoming Stevenage to Gladstone Park but we have been in every game so far this season and only our own mistakes have meant that we haven’t taken the results.