Poor performance sees Old Gs slip to disappointing defeat
Andy Kidd hat-trick not enough as Old Gs lose 27-24 at HSBC
Old Gs travelled to HSBC on Saturday, hopeful of getting their season back on track following a recent run of defeats. Despite a hat-trick of tries from Andy Kidd, an overall disjointed performance in both attack and defence saw them slide to a 27-24 defeat to a HSBC side that took their chances well.
Old Gs kicked off and as has been the Achilles heel this season were slow out of the blocks. Conceding a run of penalties they allowed HSBC to make headway up field, with them eventually crossing to open the scoring - 0-7.
With ball in hand Old Gs were looking promising, making good ground, but they were struggling to piece together the passages of play required within their game plan to threaten the HSBC line. Handling errors, loose passes and poor support play were all leading to Old Gs turning the ball over to HSBC who were using their sizeable forwards to hammer into the Old Gs defence - which initially stood strong.
However, the pressure was beginning to tell on the Old Gs rear-guard, with defenders slipping off tackles or not making it into the defensive line. This meant that HSBC runners, now brimming with confidence, were finding holes and men to go through.
The HSBC fly-half capitalised on one of these instances, slid through a hole and shipped the ball onto his supporting flanker who stretched over despite the best efforts of the Old Gs scramble defence. The extras were missed, 0-12.
Despite Old Gs having a good chunk of the ball and spending good time in the HSBC half things were not quite clicking into place for them, with the line out drive not at full throttle, and simple balls in midfield being spilled. All in all a poor first half from the boys in blue and blue.
After some justifiably strong words at half time from all concerned, Old Gs looked to wipe the slate clean and come back in the second period with a spring in their step. So it proved with a score soon occurring.
From the kick off Joe Martin made good headway up field, with Andy Kidd in good support. The ball was recycled well with forwards such as Andy Morris and Jack Nash carrying hard, with Greg Humphreys finding space further out. Having sucked in defenders the ball was moved wide where Matt Holdstock found Kidd who breezed over. Humphreys kicked the conversion but then left the field with an ankle injury, with Old Gs having found their way back into the game, 7-12.
The game was becoming end to end in nature, with both sides taking the opportunity to add a penalty to their totals, with Old Gs coming from the boot of Holdstock, 10-15.
The only way to describe the next 10 minutes is that Old Gs pushed the self-destruct button and imploded - giving away soft tries that HSBC finished well.
The first saw HSBC spin the ball wide, shrug off Old Gs poor attempts at a tackle and make the final simple pass to cross the whitewash and round under the posts. 10-22.
The second was even worse, two missed tackles in midfield saw the HSBC centre surge forward, making the passes required to allow their winger to extend the advantage to 10-27.
Adding in a couple of missed penalty shots at goal HSBC were now dominant in all facets of play, to their credit in some aspects, but in no small amount to Old Gs themselves, poor in both defence, energy, and the penalty count.
With 15 minutes on the clock Old Gs still had the time, but needed to start showing more across all elements of play to give themselves a chance of getting back in the game.
Gradually forwards and backs started to combine, Andy Kidd buzzing all over the place with ball in hand, ably supported by forward colleagues Frazer Barnes, Brett Buckingham, and the energetic Costley - with Mark Fenton-Smith beginning to do some damage in midfield.
The phases started to come together, with Doug Wilson moving the ball well from the base of the breakdown. Space was being created as the HSBC defence tired. Skipper Barnes cut a hard line and shifted the ball to Kidd who was on hand to cross for his 2nd try under the sticks. Holdstock converted, 17-27.
It was now all Old Gs. From the kick off Costley made a huge break up the middle, with HSBC conceding penalties to thwart Old Gs progress. One of these included a huge Old Gs scrum which completely ran over their counterparts, literally in some instances. These penalties were kicked to the corner with Old Gs looking for further tries.
From one of these, the line out maul was set, yet repelled well by HSBC. The forwards were not done though, with a series of pick and drives from Brett Buckingham and replacement Kevin Spain. Kidd then picked himself and squeezed over in the corner for his hat-trick. Holdstock added the extras from the touch line and it was 24-27 with a minute in the clock.
From the kick off Old Gs knew that they had to keep the ball live and recycled well. Costley hit a great line and surged 50 yards up field. HSBC though were in no mood to accept defeat from the jaws of victory - and won a penalty at the resultant breakdown. They tapped and kicked this to touch to hear the final whistle. Final score - Old Gs 24 HSBC 27.
On reflection another five minutes in the game may well have seen Old Gs steal a victory. However, this would have been undeserved considering their performance littered with errors both in attack but more worryingly defence. A lot of work will need to put in place in the training ground in advance of the next league fixture vs RBS on 9th December. Credit to HSBC who took their chances well when they arose and were deserving of their victory.