Nottingham Scorpions ARFC

Nottingham Scorpions ARFC

Round 5 - Nottingham vs Manchester

by Andrew Batchelor

A rubbish start left us a mountain to climb, but guts, determination and old fashioned hard hitting footy saw us make a good showing for 3 quarters

Round 5 saw the top two teams in the league go head to head, Nottingham vs Manchester. Both undefeated so far this season. Statistically Nottingham is the best defensive team and Manchester is the best offensive team. Both would be put to the test on a damp and slippery day.

Unfortunately for the Scorpions, we decided not to play footy for the first 20 mintutes. Manchester steam rolled us scoring 7 unanswered goals. Disorganisation, lack of focus, ball watching and not marking our men would cost us dearly with Manchester moving the ball around the park at will. The quarter couldn't have finished soon enough ending Manchester 7-2-44 to Nottingham 0-2-2.

Manchester were understandably jubilant with their start, getting ready to crack open the champagne already. But some strong words at quarter time and strategic positional changes from the captain Rich Lucas proved all the difference, strengthing the Scorpions resolve not to give in and take the fight to the Mozzies.
The second and third quarters were hard fought but constant pressure and some big hits from the Scorpions forced Manchester to rush their kicks and passes disrupting their control of the game. Nottingham managed to claw back 15 points in the next 40 minutes, showing that despite the rubbish start we were still a force to be reckoned with, and getting to within 5 goals with 20 minutes remaining. The half ended Manchester 11-3-69 to Nottingham 5-4-34 and third quarter Manchester 12-10-82 to Nottingham 8-7-55.

The final quarter saw more of the same hard work from both sides and despite a multitude of scoring opportunities by the Mozzies in the second half of the game, the Scorpions defence kept them to the sides and near the 40m so they couldn't convert most into goals. With a mountain to climb in the final 10 minutes the Scorpions had to play some desperation football but it didn't pay off. A last second goal from the Mozzies sealed the win of the final quarter and the game, Manchester 15-17-107 to Nottingham 10-9-69.

All the boys deserve a pat on the back as everyone turned it up a gear for the last three quarters and played their guts out. Special mentions go to Vinny Carey for some big hits and getting the ball up out of the middle to our forwards all day. Adam Biddle moved to full back after the first quarter and was a titan in defence, shutting down the Mozzies scoring rate and making some brilliant charge downs. Jamie Thomas and Rob Goliah made their 2012 debuts in the toughest match of the season and we couldn't have asked more of them. Jamie was running into clear space time and again and Rob was darting between attackers seemingly untouchable...at one point he was outnumbered 3 to 1 and still popped the ball up to our forwards resulting in a goal.

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But nobody would doubt our best on ground, and most probably best on ground for the match, was Andy Kraefft. After the first quarter Andy was everywhere and in everything, winning the rucks, turning over ball, running from one side of the field to the other, picking up 4 goals and huge respect from his team mates for his efforts.

Message of the day...Manchester got a lucky start but then knew they were in a fight for the rest of the match...they won't be cracking open that champagne bottle just yet!

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