Old Brentwoods v.s. King Cross Steelers [15- 17]
PHYSICAL WOODIES COME CLOSE BUT BEATEN BY OPORTUNISTIC STEELERS
Old Brentwood’s turned up in good spirits having come off the back of a win against May Baker. Although we suffered a big loss before to Steeler’s we knew we hadn’t turned up away and had a lot to prove in this double header fixture.
We had an early set back before the game when we lost our first choice 9, Baz Letts to an unfortunate head collision in the warm up. This created a reshuffle to see Jamie make his debut at 9 and Aaron Knapp making his first start for the one’s this season at centre.
The game was underway with a mirage of sunlight gleaming into the Old Brentwood’s eyes, some would say a beautiful day for rugby but with the wet weather the night before it made for greasy conditions. Old Brentwood’s started in their usual fashion starting sluggish and not quite ready for the battle ahead. This was pounced upon by the wide eyed Steeler’s who had turned up to keep their unbeaten record. They started hard out the blocks and within the first 10 minutes the Steeler’s 10 gave precedence to the name King’s cross as the back made fine work of their darting runs to break through the Old B’s defence and score the first points of the game. The conversion was good 0-7 Steeler’s.
Old B’s tried to muster a few counter attacks while under heavy pressure from the Steelers who were pressing for a second. Old B’s looked to use the pace on the wing with Zach Yeldham making positive moves before seeing a chanced squandered by the greasy ball getting the better of him.
Positive signs from Old B’s however the Steelers were proving more clinical and applying a better finishing touch. With a high kick over the top to our faultless fullback who collected well but the pressure amounted inside the Old B’s 22 and the referee awarded a penalty to the Steelers. You can see which team was more switched on with the no.8 tapping and going whilst Old B’s slowly retreating eventually being tackled but not before offloading wide eventually to the wing who took the ball over the line for a try. 0-12 Steelers Conversion missed.
The Team however weren’t down we knew we had started slow and our presence had been felt which just needed to turn the clogs. With a Rally call from the senior players and a very good vocal performance all game from the returning Sam Cousins the team were raring to chase down the next kick.
It didn’t take long for the clogs to start churning with huge carries from Wilko sitting down a number of the Steelers players and great support work from the back row creating line breaks. Old Bs were moving forward and in great numbers. The Front row were a particular force winning Scrum after scrum and doing a lot of donkey wok providing a great platform for quick ball at the break downs.
With the pressure mounting Old B’s were awarded a penalty for a high tackle, the penalty rewarded was placed to just inside the Steelers 22. The forwards of Old B’s had started to dominate the Steelers pack and this was the opportunity, a standard call and the ball was brought down perfectly by Charlie Raymond. The forwards started to march the Maul was tight and immediately drove the Steelers back and eventually the powerful drive gave Wilko the perfect platform to crash over from the back of the maul. 5- 12 conversion missed.
Old B’s continued to press to half time but the ball was greasy and we weren’t capitalising on moving the ball wide. A half spent defending from the outset saw the tides turned; Old Brentwood’s were confident going into Half time they could bring this back.
OB’s came out in the second half like they ended the first fierce and looking to take the game to Kings Cross Steeler’s. The pressure continued to mount as every attack thrown at Old Bs was swatted by a great defence and eventually the penalty was awarded at the break down. With the first half try coming from the driving maul we looked for the corner in the attempt to mimic what was achieved before. Unfortunately the throw was deemed not straight and a scrum awarded. Little errors were proving to be the Old Bs downfall throughout this game.
Again within the space of 5 minutes Old B’s had turned defence into attack by winning another penalty within kicking distance however with the lineouts proving to be a weakness for the Steeler’s Old bs went for the corner. Steelers were more prepared this time realising the tactic and held the maul up with 1m to spare, another opportunity flittered away.
However it wasn’t long before Old B’s had the ball in hand again with more heavy-duty carries from Cousins, Wilko and Lennox. Eventually earning a penalty 5m’s out from the Steeler’s try line. Like his opposite number in the first half, Wilko quick to think saw the opportunity to tap and go and sumptuously carried the ball over the line drawing attention of 3 Steelers players whose efforts were halted. Joe Davies then slotted the conversion to take the score to 12-12, GAME ON.
It seemed Steelers weren’t used to this pressure and looked to reinstall their earlier start to the game taking the ball back at old bs. Hits were coming in left right and predominately centre with Tom, Nick and Knappy digging in some big shoulders to push back the advancing Steelers. The pressure was mounting but the defence was proving too good for the Steeler’s to get through. The Steelers instead opted to chip the ball over which was collected well by Joe Davies however carried over his own try line. Instead of grounding the ball and conceding a 5m scrum, Davies offloaded to Rhys Newton to clear the ball. His kick was charged down and kindly fell at the feet of a Steelers defender who fell on the ball over the line for their 3rd try. Conversion missed – 12-17.
Old B’s were annoyed of the fortune gifted to Steelers and were keen to get back up the pitch. The kick off was made with a great chase down from Stu and Wilko who made the hit and got us sitting just outside the Steelers 22. The Steelers continued to look for other opportunities in attack and after the success of their first kick in behind, Steelers again kicked the ball when attacking in the OBs 22. This time Davies went for the safety-first option and grounded the ball for the 22 drop out. He rushed to the 22m line to take a quick drop out with the Steelers defence disorganised. As he was about to kick the retreating Steelers player appeared to trip him in the process. The referee instructed Davies to take the kick again, but by now the Steelers defence was organised. Some would argue OBs should have been awarded a penalty for the trip.
From a penalty, OBs again kicked to the corner and again got to within a metre of the line. This time OBs attacked wide through the backs but the long pass travelled forwards which ended another promising attack.
From the resulting scrum, the OBs pack earned a penalty in front of the sticks and opted to take the kick at goal. Davies wasted no time and slotted the 3 points to make the score 15-17.
With 5 minutes to go, Davies was very nearly the match winning hero. His speed and footwork broke through the Steelers line and gave him a 1-on-1 with their fullback inside the 22. Davies grubbered past the last defender but was taken out as he chased his kick. The referee awarded a penalty and a yellow card to the fullback but could easily have awarded a penalty try and Davies was clear through with no defenders near him to compete for the ball over the try line.
The penalty was 5m from the touchline and the kick would have been difficult, so OBs again kicked the penalty to the corner and backed their lineout drive, but again the Steelers defence did well to hold them out and won a scrum put in.
After a final attack from Steelers, OBs won a penalty just outside their 22 with seconds remaining. They took the quick tap and looked to attack the space wide. Steelers defence held up the ball carrier in a choke tackle. The referee signalled the end of play which left OBs frustrated and Steelers relieved.
Coach quote: “It’s a tough result to take as we did enough to win that game and had periods of real dominance up front. We created so many chances to score in their 22 but just couldn’t get over the line. I think we were unlucky not to get the penalty try as I would have backed Joe to score that, but we should have scored from the lineout. Maybe we could have looked to kick for the posts more than we did, but the players felt they had dominance in the maul and I trust my leadership group on the field. I thought our pack – in particular the front row – were outstanding and it’s been our best defensive shift so far this season. Their tries all came from our mistakes which is frustrating. We worked really hard, but Steelers worked smart and credit to them they were ruthless in taking their chances to score. We’ve got a few weeks before our next game but we’ll prepare well and bounce back stronger against Bancroft.”
Tries: Sam Wilkinson (2)
Conversions: Joe Davies (1)
Penalty: Joe Davies (1)
Man of the Match: Sam Wilkinson
Dick of the Day: Nick Clarke