1st XV Huff and Puff to Away Defeat
Roundhegian's Defence Wins the Day
With Roundhegians in the bottom two at the start of the game and Goole flying high after their demolition of North Ribb in their last game, this result was a forgone conclusion wasn’t it? If it was, no one told the home side as they strangled any plans Goole might have had of a fast and open game. Anyone turning up to watch the top of the league team would have left at half time assuming that they had turned up at the wrong location. Any other neutrals would also have left unless they were fans of sumo wrestling as that is what the game resembled for much of the time.
Slick passing and fast hands? Forget it. There was no chance of that happening with both side encroaching over the off-side line throughout the game to give no space or time to the side in possession. As a result the ball rarely got past the inside centre and so went back inside into the heavy forward traffic that had just been competing for the ball in the previous phase of the game. Goole had plenty of willing ball carriers in the forwards, often getting past the gain line only to lose any momentum as they failed to retain the ball long enough to put any spell of prolonged pressure on the home side in the second half, when they had the majority of possession and territorial advantage. Goole could just not get their game going. The extremely slow ball from breakdowns, unforced errors, being on the wrong side of a heavy penalty count all contributed to a lack lustre performance and boosted the confidence of the home side.
I sent a message after the match to say that “this was one of the worst games I have had the misfortune to watch” but on reflection that is harsh, it should have said that “it was one of the most disappointing games to watch, as a Goole supporter, or indeed a follower of rugby union”. There was not one memorable moment of individual skill throughout the entire game and unless you were a Roundhegians supporter you wished you were somewhere else. There were plenty of effort and endeavour, and both sets of forwards charged into defensive positions with minimal gain that resulted in yet another breakdown mass of writhing bodies wrestling for the ball. Supporters from both sides were claiming off-side and handling on the ground, as they could see things that the referee could not. The outcome was slow, slow ball from all breakdowns and organised defences to comfortably deal with whoever managed to come out with the ball.
It always looked like one score would win the game and so it proved with neither side looking like scoring a try and Roundhegians getting the majority of penalty decision for both kickers to have a 100% kick success rate. There was never more that 3 points in the game at any time as the home side took the lead in the 2nd minute only for Moore to reply for Goole shorty after 3 - 3. Roundhegians kicked a penalty and so did Goole, with this trend continued to bring the half time score to 9 – 9, a score that Goole would have been happy with after spending most of the half defending.
Goole now had the fresh breeze in their favour in the 2nd half and after a bright start you thought that the away side were getting on top and it was only a matter of time before they scored. Unfortunately for the travelling supporters that did not happen as Goole were penalised a number of times to allow the home side to relieve the pressure. It was from one such situation that got Roundhegians into the Goole half and kicked what turned out to be the winning penalty to lead 12 – 9 half way through the second half. From then onwards, Goole huffed and puffed but could not blow down the Roundhegian defence as they failed to maintain any pressure or disappointingly win any penalties within kickable range.
A game to forget? It certainly was, and one that they need to put behind them as they look forward to a fixtures with three top of the table teams over the next few weeks. Certainly no man-of-the-match contenders from the Goole backs, but a massive physical effort by No 8 Taylor gave him the nod over the rest of the back row that worked hard throughout the match along with the rest of the forwards.
Don’t get me wrong, this was not a bad display by Goole, just a disappointing one with a lack of any sort of spark to ignite their performance. This is a tough league where you are highly likely to be punished if you have an off-day.
As with many games, domination of territory and possession mean nothing if you do not take advantage and turn them into points. Goole had plenty of opportunities to win the game but were predictable with none of the recent try scoring sparkle on display. It could be argued that a draw would have been a fair result for two very evenly matched and determined teams but it was Yarnbury that got the result.