Old Cents came very close to causing an upset in the Combination final when they dominated a good Coney Hill side for much of the match.Old Cents had much more of the ball and territory than Coney Hill but the Hill showed their experience and skill in taking what few chances came thier way to win a close match that went down to the wire.
Cents played their normal expansive game on a pitch that suited their style of play.Coney Hill tried to use their big forwards from set piece and broken play,their backs tried to open up but were shackled by a good Old Cents defence.
The Old Cents forwards were magnificent and dominated the set pice plays and they had Coney Hill under enormous pressure in the tight.The Old Cents Lineout went very well and in the loose the Cents forwards competed for everything and gave very liitle away.The Old Cents backs gave an acomplished diplay of attacking rugby and were unlucky not to have scored at least two tries.
Although the Cents gave their supporters a performance to be proud of,they came away with nothing because they were unable to finish off Coney Hill when the chances came their way and the Hill showed how it should be done when it mattered.Coney Hill knew that they had been in a tight match and were relieved when the final whistle went because they had been under pressure for most of the match.
Old Cents started the match by attacking with width and they dominated the early exchanges with their forwards on top.They created two real chances early on throwing the ball around,they were stopped just short of the line by desperate Coney Hill defence.However it was not long before Cents early preesure told when they were the first on the scoreboard when young Liam Hemming converteda penaly.
However,for all their early pressure Cents were made to pay when slack defence allowed a Coney Hill winger to weave his way through the Cents defence to score a good solo effort which was converted for a score of 3-7 to the Hill.Cents rallied and again took the game to Coney Hill who were having to defend well to stop Cents breaking out.Cents eventually made their pressure pay when just before Half time Liam Hemming converted his second penalty for a half time score of 6-7 to Coney Hill.
The half time score did not relect how dominant Old Cents were at this stage of the match.Their forwards were well on top in the scrum and stopped the Hill in their tracks when they attacked from the fringes of the rucks and mauls.Coney Hill's defence kept them in the match and Cents were later to rue the missed scoring oppurtunities they created in the first half.
Cents started the second half as they finished the first,by taking the match to Coney Hill and they had the Hill pinned in their own half.The early second half pressure from Cents eventually paid off when they scored an unconverted from a lineout close to the Hill line.The try was scored by Capt Pete Willetts and Liam justed missed the conversion from wide out.Score 11-7 to Cents.
The Hill came back into the match slowly and they upped the pace of their game and it was not long before their driving forward play was rewarded with an unconverted try after a series of drives close to the Cents line.However this young Cents took this in their stride and came back at the Hill with their wide expansive play.Eventually the Cents took the again lead when of all people flyhalf Rich Pinkney scored a neat drop goal.Score going into the final 15 minutes was 15-12 to Cents and an upset was on the cards.However, straight from the Kick off after Cents scored the Hill secured the ball and went at the Cents defence.After another series of drives the Hill scored a third try which was converted for a score of 14-19 to the Hill.
For the last ten minutes the Cents battered the Hill line but the Hill stood firm and showed why they have won the cup for the last 10 years.
Cents can be proud of their display and this was a great final to watch.Cents were the better side on the day but their inability to score at crucial times proved their undoing and the experience of Coney Hill showed the young Cents side that you have to take your chances when they come.
Coach Jack Preece in what could be his last game in charge of Cents was very proud of his side and said they gave him 110% and he could not have asked for more.The coach made Capt Pete Willetts his man of the match saying he was awesome today and led by example.