1st XV - Report
Roundhegians in top of the table clash with Bramley
Roundhegians entertained Bramley in a top of the table clash at the memorial ground, with John Cooper a late call up at hooker making a successful debut.
At this point Roundhegians were totally dominant in the scrums and line out and with the midfield trio of James Dobson, Jack Hooper and Tim Smith posing a constant threat another try seemed certain to come at any time. On two occasions only desperate defence from Bramley prevented a further score. However the pressure eventually led to a further penalty from Alex Jones to make the score 17-0 after 17mins. Penalties were exchanged to lead to a half time score of 23-6 to Roundhegians.
At half time it seemed like a straight forward victory was on the cards for Roundhegians with the main aim being to secure the bonus point. However in the second half Roundhegians had to put up with a determined and spirited Bramley side who were keen to do better and almost immediately scored a converted try due to a powerful run from their number 8, although Roundhegians would have been disappointed with their defence around the ruck.
However ,a bigger problem for Roundhegians was the amount of penalties they conceded in the second half with over 17 penalties being conceded in all parts of the field and for a variety of different offences. This stream of penalties eventually led to a further penalty kick to Bramley who closed to within 7 points. At this point Roundhegians introduced leon blakey in the back row and Sam Trueman on the wing who both made significant contributions.
The forwards were able to secure good possession from the set piece and with James Dobson controlling field position with accurate and thoughtful kicking Roundhegians were able to apply pressure on Bramley. After a crunching tackle from Tim Smith in midfield Roundhegians produced some good attacking play but were penalised again, this would have been the tenth penalty decision in a row that had been awarded against the home side but the penalty was reversed due to the over aggressive attitude of one of the Bramley players who received a yellow card. A surging run from leon blakey followed by a rolling maul allowed Roundhegians to get within inches of the line and with a penalty awarded, Roundhegians played the advantage and the ball eventually got to Sam Trueman who evaded four players to score a superb try on 70 mins.
Further good play resulted in another try for Sam Trueman on 75 minutes allowing Roundhegians to race to a 33-16 lead. Soon after the restart Bramley scored a try due to the inability to collect a chip over the top and with 80 minutes completed this looked like the end of the game. However, in the tenth minute of added time Bramley got a penalty close to the posts and made the score 33-26. This meant that Roundhegians had to hold out for the last 3 minutes to close out the game. However in this time they still managed to give away 3 penalties. The pressure that Roundhegians were able to apply on the Bramley lineout combined with the solid defence meant that Bramley could not score and in the thirteenth minute of added time the referee blew the final whistle to allow Hegians to clinch the win.
With Hegians getting a bonus point win against the second in the table to go 6 points clear at the top of the table you would think the Hegians camp would be pleased but the feeling afterwards was more one of frustration about not playing to their full potential and not being able to go through the phases. However, no team at any level in rugby can afford to give away 17 penalties in one half and expect to control the game. The ability to score two tries and earn a bonus point win in the second half was a reflection of the ability and team spirit of the side to succeed under difficult circumstances under the determined leadership of captain Mat Loughney