Orrell St James ARLFC

Orrell St James ARLFC

Unrewarded efforts

by Martin Collard

“April Fools Day” saw a number of jokes being played by this bright and strangely “orange” Spring morning. The birds were “whistling” from the opposite side of the field and there seemed to be some “changes” on the pitch.

This was going to be another stiff test for the boys and with this in mind, the Head Coach drafted in a new Assistant in the shape of Ian “Speedy” Ridsdale.

Straight from the kick off, the Benchwarmers put the home team under pressure. It was clear that they did not expect the early on-slaught from a determined bunch. After only 3 tackles, St Judes had knocked on deep in their own half. From the scrum, Enis picked up and nearly lost his head. The referee blew for the “first” of Orrell’s penalties. They then completed their first set of 6 before handing over close to the try line. The home team had been shaken. Seconds later and St Judes tried a suicide pass straight into touch. From the resulting attack, the Benchwarmers made great progress up the field giving Michael the space to run in the first try of the day. Josh had brought his kicking boots and put the away team ahead 6-0.

From this moment “things” changed. The home team picked up their game but to the credit of the visitors, they only allowed them to complete one full set of 6 in the whole first half. To counter this defensive effort, it took some great individual displays, knock ons and penalties for St Judes to score their 4 tries of the half. When the Benchwarmers had ball in hand, they had good completion rates but found it difficult to find the half gap they needed to score and by half time they had fallen behind (22-6).

The second half brought more of the same. The away team were fighting against an “unstoppable force” and it wasn’t long before St Judes breached the defensive line with a powerful run and try. Five minutes later a great tackle in the in-goal area saw a St Judes player held up but the referee saw the ball touched down and awarded the try. Two further tries followed but the boys dug deep. They regularly made good yards up the field and this often left the opposition in a heap requiring treatment before play could continue.

With seconds remaining on the clock and with their second penalty of the day, Michael dived in at the corner. The kick was hard but Josh slotted the ball over the “H”. The final whistle blew and the game ended. Although the score did not flatter, the stats looked better. There was a good completion rate, great passing moves and some fantastic tackling performances. There were a lot of positives to take away from the game and everyone on the sidelines applauded the efforts of the boys – another lesson on this rugby journey.

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