Victory with final kick of game wraps up 'incredible' season
A DRAMATIC second-half fightback saw Manor Park claim victory in their final game of the season with the very last kick of the match.
The bonus-point win saw Kev Venus’ side finish a creditable eighth in Midlands 3 West South, a feat the head coach labelled as ‘incredible’.
“In a season where the main plan was to secure our position and ensure we stayed in this league has been achieved,” he said. “An incredible feat considering the amount of injuries and availability issues that have hampered our journey.”
First-half tries from Gaz Hammond and Tom Reed
were cancelled out by scintillating tries from Old Wheats as Richard Drury touched down twice either side of a Dan Brooks try.
With 20 minutes to go, Park trailed 32-14 as a swelled support from the sidelines became increasingly disinterested as Tom Tombleson’s try for the visitors looked set to earn Old Wheatleyans all the points on offer with Gaz Windsor kicking seven further points.
But Manor’s heads did not drop as they found a way back into the game. Incessant forward pressure yielded a raft of penalties as Wheats buckled up front.
got the ball rolling with a close-range score, before Matt Marston
skilfully juggled a back-pedalling scrum to score a try – his 23rd season of achieving that feat for Manor Park.
All of a sudden Manor Park trailed by just six points, and now it seemed inevitable they would find the match-sealing score.
And it came from a familiar source when Stephen Ballard
picked up and drove over near the posts for his tenth try of the season. Callum Bishop
’s ‘routine’ conversion was the final act of a gripping game.
Venus hailed a ‘fantastic’ result despite his side’s tendency to shoot themselves in the foot.
He explained: “We went into the Old Wheats game full off anticipation and trepidation on the outcome the squad had targeted this game as a must win no matter what.
“We almost committed rugby suicide allowing Wheats to once again expose some weaknesses.
“With Wheats 14 looking the most exciting winger I have seen all season there was a clear worry. But however the last few weeks have shown we are resilient and never give up on the cause.
“With the knowledge our much smaller pack was stronger and more powerful than the men in front of them we took to giving the large crowd a tense last few minutes.
“Keeping it tight, and Wheats continually giving away endless penalties we produced a fantastic result. Taking the kicking tee onto Callum Bishop
for a kick to steal the game, I was cautious not to mention this is the kick to win it.
“He however was calm and collected and slotted the easy conversion to the sound of the whistle and signal the end of the game.
“Steven Ballard was at his best all game and has been putting in performances that would warrant his inclusion in the county senior side with the ability to play all three front row slots, he has however made the number two shirt his own this season.
“That said man of the match was Gaz Hammond the quiet man of rugby was his typical uncompromising self. His show stopping tackles, turnovers and barn storming runs created problem after problem that Wheats had no answer to.”