Bakewell Mannerians RFC 14-10 Sleaford RFC – 19/01/19
Resilient Mannerians Grind Out Much Needed Win
This was a result which had been long overdue since the turn of the year, the Mannerians’ defiant defence finally paying dividends after two disappointing defeats. In this crucial bottom of the table clash, player/coach hybrid Ben Wade selected a squad including five first team captains – it was this kind of leadership and resilience that was paramount in Bakewell’s triumph.
The preceding Friday night’s frosty conditions had left question marks on the conditions of the terrain; but when Chairman Tim Sargent gave it the all clear, this Mannerian outfit were anything but frosty. The opening exchanges saw Mannerian governance around the park – strong carrying from PC James Hall and blossoming prop Chris Taylor consistently punched holes in a Sleaford defence who could not find much in way of a response. Such dominance was led by scrum-half Seb Cooke – who had kindly taken a break from marathon training to play – and his ever-reliable half-back partner Will Moroney. And it was Moroney who, typical of his efficient play since his Mannerian renaissance this season, was able to capitalise on this front foot play, kicking the home side into a 9-point lead in the opening quarter.
It seemed only a matter of time before the try was to come for Bakewell, particularly with the pace of wings Dan Barratt and Ben Finney getting on the ball, and the constant threat of Will Brocklehurst from full back. And the first score would have fallen to Finney had the referee not ‘let the boys play’ – the ball went through the hands of one returning centre, the ever-dangerous Henry Bagshawe, to the other, Nat Lunt, who made hard yards and fed his former school-mate. Had the game been played in the more lenient Southern Hemisphere league, Bakewell would have been on the scoresheet, but as Finney burst between defenders, the referee adjudged a forward pass.
Pure flair wouldn’t be enough to earn the deserved score – it would require every Mannerian clubbing together. Stemming from solid scrum ball in the middle of the park led on by burly props Furness and Taylor, and the similarly burly Adam Pearce, the ball was recycled for a fluid backs move that saw Lunt worm a Peter Carr-esque path 40 metres up the pitch and dot down to take the score to 14-3.
The second half had little give either way in the Baltic conditions, yet, in credit to both teams, fluid and fast rugby was being played. But it is defence that wins matches, and it was Mannerians relentless display, echoing last month’s success away at Rolls Royce, which was pivotal to the success here. The work-rate of the home side was persistent, with substitutes Clarke, Smith and Martin Pearce brought on by Wade to firm things up. The formidable Mannerian back-row of Village, Brocklehurst and man of the match skipper Everitt, tackled all put before them and dug in for what seemed to be a second half shut-out.
Substitute Pearce, however, had other ideas. As the game’s burnt out towards its dying embers, pressure from the visitors was amounting in the scrum area, which, much to the disbelief of everyone wearing blue, Sir had adjudicated to be the fault of the home side. Pearce took it upon himself to address the situation, courteously informing the referee of some of the finer points of the game, earning himself an early bath for his troubles.
A minor blip in an otherwise outstandingly defiant performance, the visitors eventually got their consolation score and rescued a losing bonus point to take on the road. The result, however, took the Mannerians clear of the relegation zone, a great step towards safety in the league.
Team: Brocklehurst W, Finney, Lunt, Bagshawe, Barratt, Moroney, Cooke; Furness, Pearce A, Taylor, Wade, Hall, Everitt, Village, Brocklehurst W. Subs: Pearce M, Clarke, Smith.
Pen: Moroney (3)