Battling Firebirds well beaten
At home to Crusaders 2s
NURFC Firebirds visitors arrived short of three players and were loaned three players by the home team to make it a 15-a-side contest. The game started in miserable conditions, with the rain and cold contributing to a series of knockons by both teams resulting in a number of scrums.
It was well into the first half before the scoreboard was troubled as both teams struggled to break down the defence of the other, however it was the visitors who scored the first of five unanswered tries, two of which they converted.
It wasn’t long into the game before the Firebirds lost outside centre Oli Smith who went off after injuring his shoulder in a typically barrelling
run and was replaced by Adrien Marie-Francoise who continues to show his versatility having now played most back positions.
There was great endeavour from the home team, with www.osteostasis.com man-of-the-match Oli Ward making some mazy runs, great cover tackling by the visitors thwarting his attempts to score.
Crusaders were again on the score sheet with on of their loan players, NURFC first team captain Simon Pitcher scoring a trademark try from 5m out, fellow loan player Tom Whitehouse was also instrumental in setting up a try after taking the ball at pace from a scrum close to the Firebirds line and drawing the last defender before putting his winger in to score.
At half time and three tries to nil down, the Firebirds rang the changes in the front row with one of three new recruits Joe Brydon replacing Adam Fox at hooker and Chris Spenceley replacing Steve Knights at prop.
In the second half the Firebirds began to play with conviction, but were unable to breach the Crusaders defences, despite coming close with Matt Perry and Gary De Lacey both being halted inches from the line.
Tom Easton also came close to scoring, following another great run from Oli Ward, but was unable to hold onto the pass with the line begging.
The game finished with the Firebirds deep into their visitors’ half, however another knock on resulted in a scrum that the visitors cleared to touch to end the game.
Despite coming off second best the Firebirds battled throughout the game and never gave up, with new players Joe Brydon, Rob Claydon and Gary De Lacey all having great games on their first run out in Green and White.
At the end of the day, Rugby was the winner as 33 players got to take the field in a contest played in great spirit and with smiles on their faces.
Team: John Madden, Adam Fox, Steve Knights, Matt Lefevre, Dary De Lacey, Matt Perry, Rob Savage, Steffan Harwood, Russ Clarke, Oli Ward, Chris De Main, Rob Claydon, Oli Smith, Tom Easton, Dale Blackburn. Replacements: Adrien Marie-Francoise, Chris Spenceley, Joe Brydon Loaned to Crusaders : Tom Whitehouse, Kim Crossley, Simon Pitcher
www.osteostasis.com man of the match: Oli Ward
The Firebirds next game is at home to Wymondham 3s, which kicks off at 12noon allowing the 1st XV to play their match against Ipswich Magpies at 2pm.