Although the sun was shining brightly, the wind was blowing hard and cold which fortunately meant that one supporter (IR) left his shorts at home (that reminds me, I need to buy a couple of pints of milk!).
Straight from the kick off, it was clear that it was going to be a long morning for the blue and yellows. The first of 3 kick offs that failed to be collected, bounced and went into touch giving the visitors help that they clearly didn’t need.
The first 10 minutes saw an onslaught from the Hornets which saw them cross the line 3 times due to some out of character tackling (or lack of it). The defence that for so long has been a trade mark of the Benchwarmers seemed to have been left at home with the remains of their Easter eggs.
On 10 minutes, it looked like the home team had finally made a break through. Managing to play the ball quickly, they earned a penalty with some “lying on” by the visitors. This second set saw Declan make some space before Michael disappeared over the tryline under the posts. Josh gratefully accepted the positioning and scored the conversion bringing OSJ closer at 6-14.
Unfortunately, that was it. The remainder of the half saw more slack tackling and mistakes when they finally got hold of the ball. The Hornets however stood firm preventing any forward movement (although the boys ran miles sideways). This created pressure that secured 2 more tries by half time which could easily have been more if it wasn’t for some last ditch tackles from Jordan and Enis on the right wing. At half time the home team were down 6-24.
The second half started more convincingly for the Benchwarmers. They secured 3 consecutive sets which ended with an OSJ scrum in front of the posts on the visitors 10m line. Enis picked up and ran sideways before touching down in the corner – too far for Josh to add the extras.
Then it was back to more mistakes and poor tackling. Two more tries from the Hornets extended their advantage before the referee effectively marched OSJ down the field with 4 penalties and Declan ran the ball home from 2 metres (although he is probably now telling everyone he ran the full length of the pitch). Josh converted and the score was 16-36.
The Hornets hadn’t finished and went over twice more before the referee brought proceedings to an end. With the final score at 16-46, it was a lesson in what happens when your defence doesn’t turn up and your forwards don’t make ground. When the ball was played quickly, OSJ looked more like the team we are used to watching but this didn’t happen often enough. It would be of no surprise to this reporter if the next week sees some major tackling drills and some lessons in taking the ball at pace to break tackles.
We all knew that the step up was going to be hard and the team are still on course to reach their goal for the season. The key is to learn from the mistakes and move forward. There was enough in today’s performance to show the boys are making progress and they are being competitive at this level. The message from the sidelines is simple, keep going we are all proud of what you achieve each week.