A game of two halves brings out the best in the Launceston boys as the overcome strong Bideford effort
Kane Clements and Finn Hilsdon carry with real conviction as Launceston put in complete second half performance
Bideford travelled to Polson for the first fixture between these to teams for many years. With rain over night and strong side wind the conditions were always going to be testing. Bideford, playing in the Japanese national colours, turned up with great enthusiasm but were short on numbers. With a good squad present, Launceston chose to donate two players per half to make it an even contest. Adam Howgill and Freddie Ward kindly offered to play for the opposition which was going to make life rather interesting for the All Black forwards and changed the mood slightly.
Bideford had some good players and started the strongest. They made good ground and pushed deep into the Launceston half. The All Blacks, struggling to organise their defence and losing out at the breakdown couldn't retain possession and didn't have the intensity to make any progress. However, good defence kept the Bideford out and the All Blacks managed to string some phases together. Alfie Hold was very busy and drove the forwards on. A penalty on the Bideford 5m line allowed Josh Elias to charge through for his first score. Great effort Josh. 7-0
From the restart Adam Howgill chased well and made an athletic catch, turned Ollie Tomkies inside out and charged through a couple of tackles to score a great individual try for Bideford in the left corner. 7-5
Ollie Tomkies and Alex Maciver-Redwood combined well to make some headway but the support and intensity weren't there to make any scoring opportunities . Bideford played the better rugby, with Freddie Ward offering great continuity and creating a real challenge for his mates. The pressure produced another score with Bideford touching down in the corner. 7-10
Launceston couldn't find their rhythm and the strong running Bideford forwards were just doing their job better. Great momentum pushed them deep into All Black territory and they stretched their lead with another score under the posts. 7-15
Just before half time Launceston put a few phases together and Tom Simpkins-Wright started to make some big carries. It was all a bit frantic, but the backs created some space and Ollie Tomkies jinked through to score under the posts. 14-15 half time
With some stern words at half time from Finn Stiles, Ollie Tomkies and Freddie Ward the boys knew they had to up their game and start the second half strongly. However, it was Bideford that had all the early pressure again. They drove well into Launceston territory and threatened to score but were held up over the line on two occasions by desperate defence. Shaking off their apathy the All Blacks ran from deep and with excellent supporting lines pushed down field with outstanding interplay. Good continuity and precise handling allowed Captain Freddie fantastic to escape and streak in under the posts. 21-15
A sustained period of good rugby from Launceston provided some great momentum with forwards linking well with the backs to release Ollie Tomkies on an arcing run to the line to score his second. 28-15
It is fantastic to see several players really try to make their mark in the front row. With Josh Elias, Josh Bakehouse, Jake Glover, Kian Hicks, Billy Martin and Kane Clements (coaches man of the match) all putting their hand up, selection is becoming a real headache. They have all found the ability to carry well around the fringes and have found fulfilment in all the mucky jobs that few enjoy. The competition this season means that they all have to raise their game and really make the most of their opportunities.
The purple patch continued with sustained pressure and flowing moves down field. Finn Stiles was a fantastic link man and turned over several balls that defied the laws of physics. Alex Maciver-Redwood was really starting to pull the strings and Finn HIlsdon brought some direct running in midfield. Finlay Moses was elusive in the loose and carried really well. As a result, space appeared on the outside and Joe Allen, back after injury, ran in a lovely try on the right. 33-15
A slight lapse of concentration allowed Bideford to pounce on a mistake and kick through to score on the right. 33-20
Ben Webb finished the scoring on the right with great determination in front of his adoring support. 40-20
A great game which provided a real challenge for the Launceston boys. After a shaky first half the boys put some really good rugby together in the second half and scored some excellent team tries. Many thanks to Freddie Ward, Adam Howgill, Jake GLover and Dylan Doherty who all pulled on a Bideford shirt and made the game an interesting contest.