Finaly we got some good weather!!
So the game finally arrived, the sun shone, the followers smiled... all attendees be that for North or West, knew that they would be about to witness a great game of rugby!
It’s taken some arranging, be that weather, holidays or county games... the day was finally here and the game was on!
A strangely quiet dressing room greeted us.., following what was a civilised journey over was good, chatter was high...about previous encounters, were we where strong... our opponents weak...where was our opportunity going to be..??
At 9.50 we entered the changing room door, smiling faces, bits of banter due to yesterdays sunburn and new haircuts.. a strangely relaxed build up... Hopefully its because the lads have been here before, no obvious nerves... not sure the parents shred the relaxed mood.
The fixtures through the years have been amongst the toughest and most entertaining of the year
Our walking wounded tally still high, messers Parkin ( Sept ), Hodgson ( Oct), Haldenby ( Jan), Wood ( April) & Lorrimer ( April ) , all carrying unjuries , close, but not quite there. The positive meaning that the depth of the squad would be tested to the maximum today. They have stood tall thus far, it was going to be our biggest test of the season...but these are the games we strive for!
The warmth of the April sun, framing a morning that offered much by way of anticipation... the chatter was high!
The warm up highlighted Wetherby’s forward size advantage, comfortably 10 KG a man heavier throughout. The game kicked off and Brods' receiving, a roar from the crowd highlighting the anticipation.
The early exchanges where full of desire, both sides striving to put a marker down, Wetherby's larger pack dominating the early scrums, Brods being pushed backwards. The early possession sat with Brods' who took field possession. Strong Wetherby defence keeping Brods out. Brods forwards having to work hard at the breakdown to counter their larger opponents. Brods playing some through the phases, some solid controlled rugby. Brods back line showing early with great ball in hand, drawing the Wetherby defenders. A kick over the top from Wetherby into the Brods half saw Pryce return at pace, the backs quickly aligned a smart offload to Stewart who released Collins from his own 10 mtr line. Smart footwork from Collins wrong footing his man saw him turn on the gas, beating the winger on the outside, only the fullback to beat, he stepping inside then outside to go around him for an excellent score! Much to the delight of the travelling support. Inman taking the extras with a great kick in difficult windy conditions. 7-0 Brods...
A well placed restart , high and landing in the 10 mtr line, Brods taking the kick, turned over by Wetherby’s' chasers. Attacking the fringes at pace the Wetherby forwards making steady yardage. A change of direction from the Wetherby scrum half, saw Wetherby attack the short side, a smart kick and chase, breaking the first tackle saw the Wetherby centre score a great try...game on!! - Failed to covert leaving 7-5 Brods.
Brods restarted well, a kick deep into the Wetherby 22 saw Brods look excerpt more pressure and keep their opponents on the back foot...Inman starting to take control and dictate proceedings. A Wetherby clearance over the top Collins cover across his pass releasing Gillgrass down the far side. Great feet and strong running saw him break to oncoming tackles accelerating away for a great score under the posts...get in Gilly!! Inman again converting 14 -5 Brods. A great reply to extend their well earned lead further.
The Brods pack working well, with Thompson, Leahy and Nichols all showing great defence, technically strong against their much bigger opponents. Wetherby continued to attack around the fringes of the breakdown, Brods defence standing up to the task, answering the questions being asked by the powerful running of the Wetherby forwards. Farley and Jones offering real strength...they'll earn their shower today! Brods counter ruck working well, committing where needed. Calvert Green punching above his weight and Thackray having to work hard at the breakdown…more grunt today Thackers,.keep it up !!
Brods' backs looking a continual threat the more time progresses, they look a real threat, the shape of the game becoming apparent...Wetherby's forwards attacking with pace and power around the fringes...Brods' backs ability to exploit the space ...pace, footwork and Inman’s boot...who will maintain the upper hand? The pace of the game not drawing for breath
Brods centre partnership of Pryce and Stewart a continual threat, manipulating their opponents well...its a much easier game on the front foot boys!! Stewart ran a great line, released by a lovely pass from Inman. stepping two defenders , Stewart dancing through the tackles drawing a penalty for not releasing. The penalty central to the pitch, about 30-35 yards out. Inman pointed at the posts, looking to extend the lead further. Definitely kick-able, the wind however making it a real test under the circumstances. .. never in doubt, well done!! 17-5 Brods.
Wetherby rally each other with as they kick off, a tight game so far, Brods taking their chances and working hard at the breakdown and in defence to keep them out. A great kick see's Wetherby take their own kick, Ben C having a real influence thus far for Wetherby. Strong running saw him make an addition 10 mtrs, quick re circulation saw the Wetherby backs attack Brods, their centres linking well to release the fullback on a crash line, the Brods defence working hard. A penalty for not releasing saw Wetherby kick to the corner..5 out. A catch and drive followed , Brods defence holding up well, crashing runs trying to punch through, Wetherby held up, scrum 5! Wetherby took the scrum and working well looked to punch through again, using their superior size and power. Finally they succeed 17-12 with the extras.
What a great game...end to end and some real quality rugby on show!
Inman restarts, Brods still have the upper hand..just! Chin makes a strong run down the left wing, supported well by Gillgrass and Thackray. Brods forwards work well through the phases and again punch a whole through the centre. Inman working hard on the ground Leahy having a great game helping secure good ball. Paxton White makes a great break, almost going over, supported by Nichols they try to drive over, forced back Broods keep ball but sacrifice ground. A knock sees Paxton White go off and Smith enter proceedings. Smart play sees Pryce stepping in at '10' opened up the defence releasing Stewart on a fantastic line to go over before the break...24-12 Brods..
A quick restart saw Brods go through phases working left and right, Inman released Nichols who makes a great run, the loose ball pounced up my Thompson, penalty Brods, in from the side, a great conversion...27-12 Half time...and breathe...what a first half, surely the second cant live up to that!! What a game... Real pace and power and two very even teams. A great half from both teas who tried to play contrasting styles.
Brods' backs creating and exploiting the space great support play, forwards really working hard to set up quick ball in attack; punching above their weight to a man in defence to thwart the powerful Wetherby forwards, with some talent in the back line with great vision.
The weather changing, sun gone, clouds in, wind gone, rain starting...the first score could be a telling one!!
Changes at Brods..some great performances making way...the injured Chin off for Cliff, Nixon on for the excellent Calvert Green.
Wetherby kick off and capitalise on a Brods missed catch, making great early yards and putting Brods under immediate pressure. Brods defending well, slowing the Wetherby forwards, they creep forward gaining yards slowly. Spinning the ball out to the backs, Wetherby try out wide, Brods defence up to the task, the Centres closing the space with good line speed. Recirculating left, Wetherby break the line after concerted phases and score...an important score 27 - 19.
The kick off, again , perfectly placed saw Wetherby attack again, and push Brods deep into their 22, Wetherby tails are definitely up, the want this..Brods by contrast know they are in a game! This is an arm wrestle, The Wetherby forwards try left and right, trying to craft a way through the sterling Brods defence..they say a good 'big un' will always beat a good little un' its a real test of that today..Brods technically are playing fantastic rugby, the penalty count a testament to the quality of rugby on show. Wetherby are pushing hard for the score that would bring them within a score of taking the lead!
Brods defence being tested like never before and a vital part of the contest, to conceed two scores after being 15 points up would be a real blow...these Brods would put everything on the line. What seemed an age, but fully 15 minutes Brods had to defend in their 22. Great defence and a calm head saw Brods work tirelessly, Inman clearing, every forward taking their turn, defending like their lives depended on it. Wetherby coach asked me "are you nervous?!?"...always until the final whistle blows... but these boys showed why they are the current champions, they where playing like champions...Reset a 5 yard scrum, the third in a row...The rallying call from Thackray..come on boys, we go again! Again Wetherby take the scrum and work blind, tirelessly the Brods put body on the line, Farley and Jones again and again push them back, hold them up...It breaks out we pounce, Inman clears to the 22..10 phases we defended like Spartans!.."Lets get back on the front foot boys", Inman cried!
The line saw Wetherby attack through their backs, FB into the line, testing Brods defence again, centre spotting a gap, a great cover tackle for Stewart. Again they came, across to the far side forwards driving hard at the 5 mtr line, Quick pass to the wing as he tried to work over, tackled short by Collins. Recycled, Wetherby pick and go , left and right, looking for the space...Brods defence continues to hold firm...You could sense everyone knew this was a vital stage of the game!!
Macdonald having a really solid game at 5, working tirelessly, hitting the ruck hard, underneath or twisting out, these Brods' would make sure that Wetherby would earn any score! Leahy and Nichols earning the respect of their opponents...absolute commitment! Yet another scrim on the 5, surely Brods would buckle under the constant pressure? The ball comes our , the Wetherby 9 going blind, spilling the ball forward offering some well earned respite! The scrum offering Inman a chance to clear Brods' line. A kick to half way, turning Wetherby around, not making touch deliberately saw Brods push out!A great chase by Collins and Gillgrass putting the Wetherby FB under pressure, Brods' recycle well and Inman releases his centres again , ball through hand, Cliff getting his first taste of the ball with a great break down the line, finally being pushed into touch after beating 2 men.
Wetherby took off the top and a driving maul pushed Brods to half way, both forwards compete again, drained from the constant physicality of the last 15 minutes!! Smith makes a great break into space beating 2 Wetherby forwards, his darting run taking Brods' to the 22. Brods' working hard draw a penalty...thinking about the kick, Inman sensing there where c5 mins left took his time, ...keep the ball...kicks to the left corner... at last we have the ball and some territory. Line out on the 5...Brods take off the top through Macdonald...a peel off right sees Jones stopped just short, Thackray is driven back as he tries a pick up, Nixon goes again he thought he made it, but the referee adjudged a knock forward...scrum 5. Wetherby take it and try to run from their 22, Inman makes a great tackle as Brods defence pushed up, great speed fellas, Leahy and Jones their quickly and force a turnover...Inman sets the backs off, Pryce and Stewart make great lines and send Cliff over in the corner 32 - 19...a big score after the defending for so long. Inman slots the conversion 34-19...
A score that surely must seal it!!....Brods take the kick off and Leahy once more takes the ball in, quick circulation from Smith who spots a gap and scampers through to the Wetherby 10 mtr line, Farley and Thompson set up nicely, Inman demands quick ball and send Stewart through for his second and the match winning score!
Wetherby 19 Old Brods 39.
What a game!! - The score in the end may have flattered Brods, but the display certainly did not.As ever against Wetherby another fantastic display of junior rugby, played in the right spirit and some genuine talent on show. A huge thank you to Wetherby, and to all their coaches. Their boys where a credit to the club.
Final is Sunday 29th April - KO is 1pm - West Park Leeds
Updated 15:31 - 23 Apr 2018 by Andrew Haldenby