Barker Butts 23 - 21 Southam
The first league match of the season was a game full of controversy and ill discipline, which after the eighty the Southam lads felt that they had lost, rather than Barkers had won.
Southam started strongly with some big tackles, and 6 minutes in, on the Barkers 10m, a strong tackle from 2nd row Matt Catterall freed the ball, Catterall scooped it up and fed prop Will Bostock, Bostock drew the defence and laid off a pass to centre & captain Will Grindal, who came on at pace and was straight through for a try near the posts, which he duly converted. Southam continued to press and 13 minutes in a strong break in the backs from the halfway saw wing Sam Bench make ground into the Butts 22, from a Barkers scrum 10m from the line, Barkers struggled to control the ball fumbled and new boy, wing forward James Lloyd picked up and neatly stepped through for the try, converted by Grindal. Barkers then got into the game, using their big forwards to break out and get up the field and 20 minutes in from a lineout in the Southam 22, they drove in the forwards, recycled twice and spread the ball in the backs for a try wide in the corner. From the kick off Southam pressed hard all the way down to Barkers 5m, they spread the ball and with a sense of deja vu from last seasons fixture, the big Barkers wing intercepted in his own 22 and made it all the way to the Southam 22 ,before laying off in the tackle for a try in the corner. 6 minutes later, a Southam penalty on the halfway was reversed for mouth by player coach John Lowden and Barkers used the reverse penalty well, kicking deep into the Southam 22 and scoring from the lineout. From the kickoff, Barkers used their forwards to get back into the Southam 22, but Southam stole it and fly half Harry Hewson, put a long kick in, that stopped a metre from the Barkers line, Barkers cleared to touch and then fell asleep and a quick lineout by scrum half Tom Reeve was taken by Hewson, who ran in untouched for the try, converted by Grindal. The half finished with a Barkers penalty for not releasing.
HT 18 - 21
In the second half Barkers started the better and made steady progress down to the Southam 5m and broke blind from a ruck for the try. This proved to be the last score of the game as indiscipline and indecision set in. Southam got some go forward from the pack and stole lineout through 2nd row Matt Taylor and LLoyd, 20 minutes into the half, a maul on the Southam 22 was stopped by the referee for a 'deliberate head butt' on Catterall by the Barkers young prop, the referee awarded a yellow card and when the Southam captain and coach quietly pointed out that a head butt was a mandatory red card offence, the referee refused to discuss it. Catterall who was grounded by the head butt had to leave the field for a HIA. 5 minutes later a Barkers wing forward was yellow carded for mouth after a high tackle penalty, giving Southam a two man advantage, but although they twice drove Barkers off the ball, the referee reset the first, with the ball at the Southam No8's feet and then awarded a penalty for wheeling. On 30 minutes the Barkers young full back broke out and stepped through 4 tackles and looked in for a certain try before Bench dragged him down 5 metres out. Southam broke back up the field and some space was created wide out and Lowden broke clear into the Barkers 22, the last man was the Barkers full back, Lowden drew the full back and passed to supporting wing Will Clarke, the ball was slapped down by the full back and a certain try was lost. The referee would not consider a penalty try and only awarded a yellow card for the offence.
FT 23 - 21
A frustrating day on the field for Southam, which even with some very interesting decisions the lads felt they should have won.
MOTM Matt Catterall
Southam 2nds get off to a good start in the league, with a 22-7 home win over Barkers Butts 2nds
Next weeks games - Saturday Sept 16th - KO 3pm
1sts away v Old Saltleians - RFU Intermediate Cup
2nds home v Pinley - league