Collective effort pays dividends at Sheffield
From Bruce Cameron
A squad of 14 on the day travelled to Abbeydale through torrential rain to take on 20+ Sheffield players with the rain continuing throughout. Thanks to Sheffield for lending us a winger in each half and especially to the two lads in question, Conor & Jack, who ensured we could get as many boys as possible a game of 15 a-side rugby.
It’s impossible to pick out any individual performances on the day, the stand out was the collective effort, communication and cohesion amongst the whole Hegians team. The big Sheffield pack battered away at us time and time again but they were almost always repelled by robust, physical hits and when they moved the ball wider our backs continued the intensity in defence.
We were the first to get the score board moving after our forwards worked the ball well through a number of phases and then a good call to attack the blindside from deep in our own half (not the first time the boys had shown the confidence to successfully move the ball from deep despite the conditions). Good hands from Adam to Will to Ewan and then a show and go from Ewan allowed him to head up the pitch with just the Full Back to beat. Great support from Will on his inside and guest winger Conor on his outside made for two options for the scoring pass. Will was the recipient and he scorched under the posts unopposed leaving Ollie an easy 2 pointer to convert.
Almost straight from the restart a couple of errors in the greasy conditions brought the pressure on in our 22 and Sheffield capitalised to score a five pointer.
Our second try came when we moved the ball well from Adam to Tom W to Ewan who put guest winger Conor in space to head up the pitch. As he was closed down he managed to offload the ball back to Ewan who sprinted away from the covering defence to dot it down under the sticks. Ollie again knocking over the straightforward conversion. Half time 14:5.
Sheffield upped their intensity in the 2nd half and must have spent a good 10 minutes at the start of the half camped in Hegians 22. Time and again they were thwarted and we actually withstood that initial barrage. It wasn’t long before Sheffield were back pressing our line though and this time, despite some solid defence in the tight, they managed to retain possession through enough phases to draw in the defence and then moved the ball quickly out wide to secure a neatly worked score.
Hegians galvanised themselves from the kick off and managed finally to get some field position in the second half. A successful scrum and a pre-planned move saw Will put in to space on a hard line. As he sprinted towards the line he was brought down but the conditions meant that he slid over with his momentum. A less straightforward conversion for Ollie this time but he coolly slotted it through the middle of the sticks.
Sheffield weren’t done though and continued to attack with gusto. Their third try was a repeat of their second where they hammered our line through multiple phases. Despite some heroic defence they managed to retain possession again and again, eventually drawing in enough defenders to enable them to send the ball out wide and dot it down in the corner. We were back to a one score game and both teams going at it hammer and tong to try and secure the result.
The final whistle was blown though with Hegians the victors 21:15. Three tries apiece but the difference perhaps summed up as being Hegians robust defence forcing the visitors to score out wide whilst managing to create more space in attack to slice through their opposition and score under or near the posts.
A hugely impressive performance from 1-14 (plus our two guest wingers) today that showed real heart and a desire and willingness to put their bodies on the line for their teammates. A great performance.
Our second match against Sheffield this season leaves us with one win apiece. These closely fought contests are set to continue as we already have two more fixtures in the diary. We’ll look forward to the next battle!