Old Eds 8 Barkers Butts 10
Every season there’s “the one that got away” and Old Eds will feel this was that match.
Despite improved play and territorial advantage, the Eds managed to lose this match having behind for only the last 2 minutes. Once again, they could only blame inaccuracy at key moments, whilst Barkers Butts deserve huge credit for never giving up and were rewarded with an important win for them.
Early on a fantastic powerful leg drive to finish off what was a well worked Ed’s attack, stretching Barkers to the widths of the Weddington Road pitch, saw No13 Rob Galloway show immense strength to drive through the Barkers defender and complete the move to open Ed’s account for the day: 5-0. Injured full-back Dan Elkerton was replaced by Sam Southall. The referee had to warn Barkers for repeated infringements. The very last kick of the half was a penalty to Barkers to make the score 5-3.
Lock Gareth Cartwright tidied up a line-out and from an Eds’ scrum No10 Ashley Kalnins kicked down the centre of the field and Craig Jones did well to collect. No 8 Ryan Hatch took the ball into contact and Jones was ready at first receiver to burst through the midfield and angle towards the left-wing corner. He looked certain to score but for a brilliant cover tackle, which dislodged the ball just short of the line.
Barkers’ responded with a break out featuring their rangy No4, which ended with a knock-on on the half-way line. A long kick by No9 Brad Darlaston resulted in a Barkers’ 22m drop-out which was well-fielded by No15 Sam Southall, and taken on by Skipper Phil King, at No6, barreling 25 metres through heavy traffic. Barkers were caught offside and Brad Darlaston nailed the kick to take the score to 8-3 after 52 minutes. Hatch’s knee injury saw the evergreen Craig Fielding take the field, moving to Lock as Paul Levin moved back a row to No8. A high tackle on Kalnins was the first of three Barkers’ infringements in very short order, prompting the referee to again warn Barkers for repeated infringements. Almost immediately, they were penalised again for pulling down in the line-out, the ref deeming the penalty as sufficient sanction. Although the penalty was potentially kickable, Eds opted for the touch-kick which yielded an attacking line-out which was won by the Eds but negated by an off-side infringement. Trying to break out of their 22, a Barkers’ kick was well-fielded by No14 Luke Roberts. A clear Eds’ crossing infringement was spotted by the ref who had a word with Barkers’ for appealing,
Shortly after, a rare Barkers’ raid into Eds’ territory saw them work the ball to their right-winger in a good position, only for the ball to be spilled. Eds’ moved back into Barkers’ territory where Levins’ break from a scrum made 15 metres and led to a series of Eds’ phases only to end with a knock-on. Kalnins’ took a blow to the head which was adjudged as unintentional. Shaking off the effects, shortly after he spotted Roberts in oceans of space on the right-wing and launched a 40m pin-point cross-kick which, if caught over the line, would have finished the match, Time stood still as players and spectators watched the ball arc to its destiny through a floodlit sky. Unfortunately, Roberts couldn’t collect and the chance was gone, with seven minutes to go,
Barkers realised this match was there for the taking and surged upfield. Eds were caught appealing for a decision and on this occasion a penalty was awarded. With three minutes remaining, the Barkers’ No4 again made damaging run and, from the breakdown, the No 14 came off his wing to take the ball as first receiver and dummy his way to score near to the posts to level the match, with the conversion taking the score to 8-10. Barkers’ protected the ball well to close out the remaining 2 minutes.
Gareth Cartwright (playing out if position at Second Row) was deservedly awarded the Julie Hoey Memorial Shield by her husband Derek. The Barkers Butts’ player of the match was prop Jack Crimmins.
Old Eds First Team: S Haberfield, G Parker, D McAdam, P Levin, G Cartwright, J Darlaston, P King (Capt), B Darlaston, R Hatch, A Kalnins, A Coopey, C Jones, R Galloway, L Roberts, D Elkerton
Subs: C Fielding, S Southall