Great second half performance gives Launceston a big win against Bideford
Sam Jago is the catalyst that sets the tone for strong Launceston finish and Kieran Bainbridge is unstoppable as he generates massive momentum for the forwards
Launceston made the trip up to Bideford on a bright chilly morning without any guide as to the quality of the opposition. Exciting times. The wind was strong and blowing down the pitch suggesting that it was going to be a game of two halves.
Launceston started with the wind and Bideford in their faces. The cherry and whites had the upper hand in the early exchanges and created good forward pressure pushing the All Blacks deep into their own half. A great defensive effort kept them at bay with great breakdown work from Freddie Ward, Billy Martin and Adam Howgill creating several turnovers at critical moments. However, Bideford maintained the pressure and eventually forced a score in the left hand corner. 5-0
All the pressure had been from Bideford and Launceston had failed to enter the opposition half. The dominant home team looked to be creating more pressure through a quick rucking game and some strong running from the backs. Launceston failed to react quickly enough in the contact area and couldn’t create any momentum of their own. It was difficult to see Launceston challenging the Bideford line.
However, from broken play in the middle of the field Sam Jago (coaches man of the match) created a moment of genius scything through the Bideford defence with raw pace and great footwork. From 9 he outstripped the despairing defence and went in under the posts. 5-7
That single moment changed the dynamic of the game. The Launceston forwards raised their collective game and the backs started to back themselves. Intensity in the contact and at the breakdown were better, linespeed was sharper, tackles were made with conviction and the boys started to work as a unit. Tom Lowe put in a typically massive hit to prevent a score. Great work from the forwards, especially Adam Howgill, released Sam Jago who raced in for another on the right. 5-14
The All Blacks reached half time with their noses in front despite the strong breeze, which boded well for the second half. The Blacks kicked off and pushed deep into the Bideford half creating good pressure. The Launceston back line, overflowing with pace and creativity started to really test the home team by moving the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. Ollie Tomkies was pulling the strings and released BILLY MARTIN to power his way over from 10 metres. 5-19
With some daylight between the scores, Launceston started to relax and dictate the play while Bidefords heads started to drop after their bright start. Kane Clements had one of his best games in a Launceston shirt carrying with real conviction showing real strength in the tackle. Kieran Bainbridge (captains man of the match) grew in stature as the game progressed. Playing at No8 he controlled the ball at scrum time and made some blasting runs to decimate the defence. He was rewarded with a try after a typical burst. 5-26
As Bideford really started to tire Launceston turned on the style with some devastating back play and great game awareness. George Mill showed excellent finishing to dive over on the left and take a deserved score. 5-31
Alfie Hold was now controlling the pack from scrum half and drove them on playing like a third flanker. Ben Webb who had made some strong runs carrying the ball one handed was rewarded for his athleticism and determination with a strong finish on the right. 5-36
Ollie Tomkies attempted to show that fly halves can tackle by putting in some big hits but ended up with two broken fingers for his efforts. Nice one Ollie!! However, Launceston had their tails up and holes started to appear across the park. A great run from Josh Brown down the right was well defended and it looked as though the opportunity was lost only for him to fling an outrageous pass behind his back for the ever-present Freddie Ward to go over on the right. 5-41
The end of the game couldn’t come soon enough for the depleted and demoralised Bideford lads. With the last play Launceston turned the ball over again and pushed deep with Alife Hold sniping and crashing over. The try was awarded after a TMO decision. 5-46 Full time