South Leicester RFC 35 - 26 Sheffield RUFC
Sheffield flatter to deceive, but another Whale escapes.
South Leicester 35 - 26 Sheffield RUFC
Team Selection for Saturday, 7th October 2017
15. Jamie Pearson
14. Rupert Broadley
13. Francis Robson
12. Joe McHale
11. Danny Williams
10. Andy Hodgson
9. Steve Depledge
1. Tommy Marples
2. Ianto Jones
3. Dan Rylance
4. Dom Parsons (Capt)
5. Dave Clayden
6. Connor Mitchell
7. Matthew Palphryman
8. Sean Casey
16. Ben Whitney (FR)
17. Joe Cooke (FR)
18. Sam Graham (FR)
19. Ben Hopkinson
20. Ben Parker
The general malaise of injuries and unavailability continues at Sheffield, however, despite that Sheffield were able to take a very competitive team to South Leicester, with Jamie Pearson returning to the team and Ben Hopkinson making his debut from the bench.
Sheffield made a good start to the match, putting pressure on the South Leicester defence straight from the kick off. However, a number of errors including two early interception chances for South Leicester prevented Sheffield from gaining any real advantage. Sheffield first chance to get on to the score board cam on nine minutes with a penalty for offside, but Andy Hodgson's attempt at goal was pulled to the left of the posts. South Leicester were immediately penalised again for off side from the 22 drop out. Sheffield decided to kick to touch and from the line out initiated a forward drive for the South Leicester line. Unfortunately, the drive was halted when Sheffield knocked on just short of the South Leicester 5 metre line and Sheffield were then penalised at the scrum and South Leicester were able to clear their lines with touch on half way. Dave Clayden stole the ball at the line out, but the resulting kick for territory fell directly into the waiting arms of South Leicester's full back who kicked deep to touch in Sheffield's half. Sheffield secured the lineout, but gave away a penalty shortly afterwards for not rolling away at the breakdown. South Leicester's fly half, Rickie Aley kicked the penalty and South Leicester had an unlikely lead by 3 points to nil after 16 minutes.
However, from the restart, South Leicester were penalised. Sheffield kicked to touch and secured a line out on the 5 metre line, driving again for the South Leicester line. Referee Ieuan Davies, decided that South Leicester had prevented Sheffield from scoring a try illegally and awarded Sheffield a penalty try, with South Leicester's second row, Josh McLaurin finding himself on his way to the sin bin and Sheffield had a 7 point to 3 lead after 18 minutes. Over the next period South Leicester were able to take advantage of a number of unforced errors by Sheffield and after securing good field position from a penalty given away be Sheffield on half way, had a line out in side Sheffield's 22 metre. Sheffield gave away another penalty and Rickie Aley converted to reduce Sheffield's lead to 7 points to 6 after 27 minutes.
The reversal of fortune seems to spur Sheffield on and from the kick off they took the match straight back to South Leicester and they made good inroads into South Leicester territory. However, when the Gods are not smiling on you and you are trying, maybe, a little too hard, things do not always go your way. Sheffield were very much in the ascendancy, but a wayward pass just outside South Leicester's 22 was intercepted be their left wing, Myles Bean, who went all the way to score just to the left of Sheffield's posts. .Rickie Aley converted and after just 33 minutes South Leicester led by 13 points to 7. They say lightening does strike twice in the same place, but in South Leicester it obviously does. Just five minutes later, we saw South Leicester intercept again, this time just outside the South Leicester 10 metre line. Rickie Aley passed to Myles Bean, who in turn handed on to full back, Corey Venus, who touched down wide out on the left. Aley could not manage the conversion, but South Leicester led by 18 points to 7 after 38 minutes, which is how the half ended,
The second half saw Sheffield pushing hard to get back on terms after the disastrous last few minutes of the first half. The pressure eventually told when after 10 minutes of the half, South Leicester's other second row, Will Ward was sent to the sin bin for an offence at the breakdown on South Leicester's 22 metre line, but wide out on the left. Sheffield elected to take the scrum and blindside forward Connor Mitchell did the honours with a try to the left of the posts. Andy Hodgson added the conversion and South Leicester's lead was reduced to 18 points to 14 after 51 minutes. However the elation was short lived. Sheffield coughed up a lineout to South Leicester and in trying to recover the situation gave a penalty away about 10 metres outside the 22 and wide out on the left. Aley converted for South Leicester and the lead was again out to 7 points at 21 to 14 after 57 minutes. Things did not get any better for Sheffield, with what can only be described as an outrageous off side from South Leicester that went unpunished by the officials. A chip over the top and across the pitch by alley was secured by a South Leicester player who was at least 5 metres off side when the kick took place. Sheffield were left floundering and South Leicester's scrum half, Adam Shaw was the grateful recipient of the score under the posts. Alley added the conversion and the lead was out to 28 points to 14 after 60 minutes.
The battle raged, but Sheffield were not making a great deal of headway, but on 69 minutes, South Leicester received their third yellow card, in this instance to hooker Adam Johnson. Sheffield did take full advantage immediately, because as they drove for the line they managed to knock on again and turn the ball over to the home team. The scrum was then reset several times by referee Davies, before awarding Sheffield a penalty. Sheffield reverted to the scrum again before spinning the ball wide for full back Jamie Pearson to score out on the right on seventy two minutes. Unfortunately, Andy Hodgson failed with the conversion and the gap between the teams was 9 points at 28 to 19, with both sides having scored 3 tries. Having given themselves a chance of getting something out of the match, Sheffield went into their shell and a series of penalties gave South Leicester every chance of increasing their lead, and with just 3 minutes left to play Sheffield melted away to allow South Leicester's scrum half, Adam Shaw his second try. Aley converted and South Leicester led by 35 points to 19 and had secured a 4th try and therefore, a bonus point, leaving Sheffield with nothing at all. However, South Leicester were now guilty of loosing their way, giving a penalty away at the kick off. Sheffield kicked to touch on the right and began an attack. The attack faulted when Sheffield knocked on again, but at the scrum, South Leicester erred and Sheffield had another chance. The penalty was kicked to the corner again and Sheffield set off again to attack the South Leicester try line. Time was up, but Sheffield played on sand moments later tight head prop, Dan Rylance crashed over the line, to score a fourth try for Sheffield. Andy Hodgson added the conversion and referee Davies blew for time. Sheffield had been defeated by 35 points to 26, but a vital bonus point had been secured.