Banking an Important Win
Lancers grab win with powerful second-half performance
Having changed our warm up to be more aggressive and create the expectation of hitting the ground running, we lost the toss, but despite this, got exactly what we wanted. Sun and wind at our backs and the kick off.
Olly Mooney opened the exchange with his flat stab 10m into HSBC’s territory and with the quick feet of James Collinson we regained the ball and moved one, two, three phases into the centre of the pitch where a swift backline movement saw us go 5 zip with one minute on the clock. The kick didn’t go over, but spirits were high.
Having played HSBC a few times now, we know they are not a team that go down easily, and their return effort was bruising and swift. Finding ourselves on own 22m line within 5 minutes a lazy side entry into the ruck saw a penalty awarded to HSBC. Easily converted, 5 – 3 Lancers.
Not to be outdone, the Lancers traded blows with the Bankers and 8 – 3 was the score to the Lancers at the 20 minutes mark.
What followed next was a messy second quarter, with the Lancers discipline costing us dearly, and a few HSBC scores taking the battle to 5 – 15, HSBC. Around the 30 minute mark the referee having awarded HSBC numerous penalties for side entry and hands in the ruck finally had had enough and sent our 10, Olly Mooney off after an infringement on the 40m line. This resulted in a penalty taking the score to 5 – 18 with 10 minutes remaining in the opening stanza. In retrospect, this is where we found our feet, with Jack Hooper spurning the offer of standing Jack Bullen in the back line and telling me his men could do it by themselves. The lads from Old Kent Road really stood up in this period and denied HSBC for ten minutes with a man down, heading into the break 13 points down, but by no means beaten.
Going into the break we knew that we had to turn things around and play the rugby we knew we had in us. The principle was simple, keep the ball, starve HSBC of possession and we will win. A few choice words and a real ‘hair drying’ from coach Dom Palacio at half time was exactly what we needed and the message stuck.
After the kick off we were a different team, a better team. The scrum which had already been pushing HSBC backwards now seemed to do it with regular intention and the lineout which wasn’t our usual level, started to hit a few marks, stealing HSBC’s ball and securing our own. Some credit needs to go to Bertie Elliot here as his throwing into a decent wind was on point. In short, the set piece did their job and secured the ball.
Additionally, Hoops and the back line joined in with what was probably the most commanding effort this season. Not a ball was dropped and possession was ours, choking HSBC and forcing them to defend for longer periods of time. Callum Whitton’s performance was his season’s best, as was Jake Upward, showing that all that time in the theatre has his feet fine-tuned to dance around the oppo. This released some excellent running from James Collinson and Tom Dyson who has gained momentum after his first start against Kings.
So, some memorable moments.
1) Tom MacFarland’s kick returns. That long loping style of his really paid dividends this week.
2) Alex Tocili’s entrance into the team with some lovely work at 2 in the lineout and big hits in defence
3) Jack Hooper’s quick decision to kick the ball in the HSBC 22m with a 3 on 1 overlap which went straight to the oppo
4) Jack Bullen’s monster run through the middle of ruck, resulting in the oppo blaming each other for not guarding and us hearing ‘but he came right through the middle!’
5) Jack Bullen’s monster run in which he was belted in a bone rattler by his opposite number
6) Glen Boevink’s fumble in the last ten minutes and subsequent ‘superman dive’
7) Olly Mooney taking a quick lineout and literally throwing it to HSBC resulting in all sorts of confusion
8) Ben Ofori attacking with his face…. and winning
9) The beautiful pod work that resulted in a penalty try – we stretched them from one side to the other lads, well executed
10) Going the distance, with Tom Dyson capitalising on a 12 phase play which moved to either side of the pitch twice
Long story short, this weekend was the culmination of a season of hard work and no results. It was a day where everything clicked and we played for each other. The effort in the last 6 minutes after we scored our last try and had to defend for the rest of the game on our line was simply exceptional. To hold out a hungry HSBC team, holding them up twice (Bertie’s ‘turtle’ manoeuvre) and defending two 5m scrums will surely have to be one of the highlight of the season.
Fair do’s to HSBC though, neither of us should be where we are on the ladder, and we look forward to the return fixture at theirs.
MotM: Oliver Walton – tackled anything that moved
DotD: Tom Dyson for dropping the ball over the line (harsh but fair)
Try Scorers: Tom Dyson, Ben Ofori, Penalty Try and Jake Upward.