Another Nerve Jangler but PL Bring Home the Points
PL had their backs to the wall for much of the game but a combination of taking their chances well and great defence ensured a first win on the road
After last week's success at home, PL were hoping to get their season fully on track with their first win on the road but it was never going to be easy as this week's opponents were Whitecraigs who were flying high at second place in the league.
It was the perfect afternoon for rugby, and the biggest problem for the travelling support appeared to be the midges who had come out in force to watch the match and have some lunch. The first 10 minutes was a great indicator as to how the match was going to be played as both sides gave everything in effort without any reward on the scoring front. This changed when finally PL were able to work the ball through several sets of hands until it reached Antoin Penrose on the wing and he stepped inside a couple of tackles to score a good try which was converted by Robbie Griffin to put the visitors 0-7 up.
The lead was to be short lived though because just two minutes later, although PL were shaping up to launch another attack, a high floated pass was intercepted by the home side and they were able to run half the length of the pitch to score under the posts. The conversion tied the scores up at 7-7.
Griffin soon had the chance to PL ahead again but his 17th minute penalty was pushed wide, however the stand off made amends just a minute later when he made no mistake with a kick that put PL 7-10 up.
Once again there followed a period of intense attrition during which time Whitecraigs gave themselves a good chance with a penalty that was kicked to touch on the 5 metre line but PL's line-out was too good and the ball was won back and possesion retained until it was cleared to safety.
PL continued to play good rugby for the remainder of the half and they were rewarded for their efforts in the 36th minute when Dale Gordon crossed to score and Griffin's conversion put then 7-17 up at the break.
Whitecraigs seemed to take more benefit from their half-time team talk and managed to park themselves on the PL 5 metre line for the first five minutes of the half. In the 47th minute, the pressure on the PL defence became too great and they were forced to concede a penalty but instead of opting to take the points, Whitecraigs chose a scrum instead. The PL pack were too good to give anything away though and despite the intensity they were able to win good ball which allowed Griffin to clear the danger and put the ball into touch on the 10 metre line.
Despite the pressure, the PL defence was holding up well and the line-out especially, was proving to be a good source of possession even when jumping against the throw.
Despite the majority of possession and consistently better field position, Whitecraigs just couldn't find a way through PL's well organised defence and so they were grateful to take the points from two penalties that came their way in the 60th and 65th minutes.
With the scoreboard showing 13-17 and 14 minutes to go, it was still an open game that could go either way but Whitecraigs were surely favourites given the amount pressure and possession they had enjoyed during the second half. PL had other ideas though and despite being one of the weaker areas of their game earlier in the season, it was their defensive skills that came to the fore and would see them through to the final whistle without conceding any further points.
This was a tremendous win away from home that showed just what PL could do when they have their backs to the wall but they will have to find top form in all areas when unbeaten Cartha Queens Park are the visitors to The Pennypit next Saturday. Kick off 3pm.