A disappointing evening all round as this senior cup quarter final match was played without a team of three officials (be interested to know how many of the other senior matches had this issue) In addition, the score line was not as the match seemed as we had some great moments but the contest was at times one sided due to inaccuracy on our part.
Take nothing away from Northern who I thought looked better than last season with the addition of a new 8 and another fly half. Their basic skill level on the evening was of a much higher standard to ours as we made some costly individual errors. Northern's first try was from a line out that we lost on our ball, second try from an advantage kicked away by a chip kick which just bounced to them rather than to us.
Northern were leading 17-0 after 25 mins before we started to make some passes stick leading to a great break by Andy Hall. At the very end of the half we were putting Northern under a lot of pressure and numerous penalties earned their six a yellow card. The final mins were camped on their try line as we looked be pushing a scrum over. Second collapse in a row gave us a penalty advantage but we still had the ball, couple of cracks at lunging to the line but we knocked it on. Incredibly disappointing to see Northern awarded a scrum as in 4-5 phases we made about 1 metre. Northern held us out but we were buoyed by the fact that we had dominated the final 15 mins of the half.
We had momentum and just spoke about trying to make it last as long as possible and turning the one man advantage into points. This son disappeared as Darren Kelly was yellow carded not long after the restart. No issue with the card if it was issued for dissent however the decision to give the penalty was meant with amusement by the Northern pack. From a Northern line out we had appeared to perfectly defended the maul as 4-5 players from either side fell to the floor. Only for Kelly to be penalised for not rolling away.
This incident killed off the game as Northern got back on a roll with a man advantage and scored some nice team tries. The ref was injured in a collision (not caused by Darren Kelly if you are asking) as he was sandwiched by a player from each side. He could no longer continue but luckily there were 3-4 refs on the balcony watching (yet no AR's appointed ?) Graham Crozier volunteered to do the last 19 mins so the players could benefit from finishing the full 80 mins.
Thank you to Richard and Graham for reffing the fixture. I hope that Richard recovers quickly and gets back onto the pitch sooner rather than later.
Cheers to the Northern lads - food was fantastic afterwards and you were excellent during the match. Thought your second rows carried well, eight was great in the line out and quick off the scrum. Probably more important was how your 9 and 10 controlled field position in both halves. Good luck in the next round and we look forward to trying to close the gap in our league game on the 7th September.
Remembered a nice saying on the wall at school - I never lose. Either I win or I learn - so four training sessions to put things right. Up the Vos !