Lydney lose but fight to the finish
Maidenhead 27 – Lydney 21
Despite wet conditions and playing on an artificial synthetic pitch, good open rugby was always a possibility. Lydney pressed hard in the opening exchanges resulting in a finely worked try by Jimmy Walters converted by Ollie Locke. At the re-start, Maidenhead bombarded the Lydney line but the away side managed to clear their line after being awarded a deserved penalty. Within minutes of the penalty decision, the home team rallied strongly with their thwarting incisive running, no doubt engineered by their coach, ex England World Cup star Will Greenwood. They opened their scoring for a push over try by hooker Mark Darlington with the conversion going wide. With a 5 – 7 lead, Lydney continued to regain territorial advantage. Both sides, despite the rain, were willing to demonstrate adventurous play passing the ball at every given opportunity.With ten minutes of the first half remaining, Lydney were awarded a penalty enabling them to gain a good territorial position. Ball possession switched from one team to another and it was Maidenhead who capitalised after exerting considerable pressure in the far corner of the Lydney line.
The referee, who appeared to miss a direct push and punch from a Maidenhead forward to the body and head of Lydney’s hard working captain (and fine example to others in demonstrating restraint ) Sam Arnott ,ignored his justifiable appeal - making no attempt to consult with the touch judges! Furthermore, the referee added significantly to Lydney’s first half misfortunes with some dubious, if not doubtful decision making, eventually stealing the show by awarding Maidenhead a penalty try (Mark Darlington being awarded the touching down & Ed Keohane adding the conversion).
This, it seems, set a precedence for almost the entire second half with the Lydney team trailing at the interval 12 – 7. The second half resumed with Maidenhead setting up several thrustful runs deep into Lydney territory .The home team’s confidence gathered further momentum and for almost 30 minutes of the second half,Lydney were encamped in their own half unable to breach their opponent’s half of the pitch. The away team defended stoutly and tackled ferociously in order to thwart the endless number of Maidenhead attacks. In fairness, for very long periods, Maidenhead should have turned their possession into points and could easily have been out of sight within the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Admirably assisted further by a number of additional poor refereeing decisions, the home team went further ahead after Lydney were given a yellow card which resulted in Maidenhead scoring their third try in the 17th minute by winger Scott Prince crossing far out .Fortunately for Lydney, the conversion went wide.
At 17 – 7, Lydney responded well and replied almost immediately with an interception by winger Ruben Haile crossing under the uprights – converted by Ollie Locke.
At 17 – 14, the score gave the Maidenhead crowd the motivation they needed to cheer on their team with greater ferocity. The home team did not disappoint their supporters and it was not long before they added a further converted try scored by Maidenhead substitute Dave Cole converted by Ed Keohane. At 24 – 14,Lydney continued to do battle making several adventurous runs into the Maidenhead half. At the outset, the referee awarded yet another penalty to the home team to make the score 27 – 14.
In the 78th (2 minutes before the final whistle) the Lydney XV rallied yet again and banged their way over the Maidenhead line with second row forward Dave Bennett crossing under the post & Ollie Locke adding the conversion.
Though Lydney's position at the bottom of the table looks ominous and increasingly insurmountable, it can never be said they are easily beaten. Yes,the young squad may be lacking quality in certain positions as well as perhaps missing the tactical awareness in order to exploit the oppositions weaknesses or to capitalise on the scoring opportunities which come their way, they have maintained an excellent spirit with a work rate and a level of tenacity that needs praising. They are a squad who do not “give up”, who “give their all”. Their loyal and faithful supporters recognise this – despite the club’s position in the table.
Well done Lyd! Ignore the flack and prove the unfaithful wrong. Keep going – Drive on Lyd!!
Report by Gerald Love