The Heughers travelled to Medicals for another Candy League game and were backed by a reasonable number of supporters - some of whom were sober.
The two teams were quite evenly matched but Rovers took the lead when Evo forced his way over for a try converted by Ryan Hodgson. We then let ourselves down somewhat when less than firm tackling allowed Medicals to score 2 unconverted tries - though Jack Gunn reckoned he had held up the second one - and Medicals led 10-7. Then followed a moment of mirth when Billy Lloyd took a great line but ran over the young lady referee whom he collapsed onto. A mating ritual he says he learned from Tony Ross. Thankfully she was OK and bore no ill will. Adam Smith put us back in front with 2 similar tries in quick succession where he outpaced the defence down the wing. Neither try was converted but we led 10-17
HT Medicals 2nds 10 - 17 Rovers Heughers
After half time we stretched our lead further when POC used his weight to drive over out wide. Then Liam Wood made a good break that looked like it had come to naught when a Medicals player intercepted his offload but Liam tackled the player, robbed the ball back and passed onto Ste Railton who raced in from the 22. Again neither try was converted but our lead had stretched to 10-27 and having scored 4 unanswered tries it looked like we had the game wrapped up. How wrong we were. Aided by some subs that invigorated their team Medicals took the initiative to score 2 tries and narrow the gap to 22-27. We drove upfield though and Medicals conceded a penalty that Milky kicked to give us a bit more breathing space. However Medicals had not given up and they scored one more try that made the score 27-30 and gave us a very nervous final 6 minutes which we held out for the win.
FT Medicals 2nds 27 - 30 Rovers Heughers
This was a very thrilling game with both sides scoring 5 tries each and only converting 1 with Milky's penalty ultimately being the difference between the sides. Adam Smith scored 4 tries in 40 minutes last time out and got 2 in 60 minutes this time. A shocking decline in productivity. AJ had another immense game in the back row where he was aided in the first half by Milky at open side who had been told to go out and make a nuisance of himself. Which, hard to believe as it is, he managed beautifully. Milky's versatility was shown as he slotted into full back in the second half and he was not lonely as Squid seems to reinvented the hooker role to include being an auxiliary full back (a hacker?). Perhaps as Squid wasn't keen to scrummage because of injury but agreed to give it 10 minutes; and stayed there all game. As did Ian Flounders and these 2 plus Billy Lloyd were terrific in the scrum frequently driving Medicals back and prominent about the field. It was good to see Ian back on a rugby pitch and he fully deserved his man of the match award.
Medicals were as welcoming off the field as they were competitive on it. A proper old school early evening's entertainment took place after the match with a wheel of misfortune, inventive drinking games, an unusual use of waste bin being prominent. Added to much shedding of clothes together with a fine display of 'vessels' and a startling appearance by Medicals' version of Buster Gonads this showed the spirit of grass roots rugby is still alive. After leaving Medicals we then went for a team bonding drink in the North East's second city.
Hodgson S Railton, Grand, Gunn, Coutts, Evo (A Smith), Stevo, I Flounders, Squid, Lloyd, POC (Stoddart), Little, Milky (Wallace), AJ, Wood
Our win will have kept us top of the league and looking at other results Westoe should have leap flogged Acklam to second. Coincidentally we are scheduled to play away at Westoe next week in the Candy Cup.
Report: Ian Smith