1s still looking to turn the clock back
By Paul Harrington
Field in the fight but once again come up short in what is already threatening to become a season to forget.
When Field travelled to Old Tiffinians last season they let a healthy lead slip in the final quarter, allowing their hosts to draw the match. This time, the fates were decidedly in the camp of the home side and, as the match progressed, the visitors never looked likely to change their destiny.
One of the few teams to match Field in the set-piece last season, Old Tiffinians showed that they had lost none of their strength in these areas on Saturday. Both sides had work to do when feeding their own scrums, but it was the hosts who benefitted most. In one case even achieving that rarest of things – a try from a Field defensive 5m scrum. With the usually reliable platform of the set piece unavailable, Field struggled to get their backs flying and the three-quarters were well marshalled by their opposite numbers.
The error-strewn opening 10-minutes of the match must have given Field some encouragement as both teams coughed up scoring opportunities when in the opposition 22. However, the home side appeared to steady the ship more quickly than their guests and fired a broadside with two converted and, crucially, unanswered tries in the remainder of the first quarter.
Field continued to battle away and enjoyed the lion’s share of both possession and territory, in the second quarter but to no avail, even succumbing to the indignity of losing an attacking scrum on the OT 5m line – the set piece courtesy of a series of penalties awarded for infringements by the home defence.
The second half continued in the same vein as Field went through phase after phase to break down the home defence only to come up short. The OT, meanwhile, scored again to take the match out of Field’s grasp. The game won, the home side went looking for a bonus-point try, whilst Field first target remained their elusive opening score.
Opportunity knocked for the visitors halfway through the third quarter as they laid siege to the OT try line, setting up several 1m drives in their attempt to cross the whitewash. OT’s defence held strong until they were adjudged to have transgressed once too many times and received a yellow card. Scenting blood in the water, Field put the penalty in to touch on the 5m line only to cough up possession on the put in and allow OT to clear their lines.
Halfway through the sin-binning, Field finally managed to score what was to be their consolation try. Lanky lock, Franko Tomić wrestling himself around while in the grip of the defence to reach out backwards and dot the ball down. Seb Kay quickly knocked over the extras and the Red Team reset to, hopefully, do the same again.
Unfortunately for the visitors, there was to be no repeat. Their hosts, however, put a further pair of tries past them to make sure of their try-bonus. Both were converted.
Field’s Head Coach, James Alder - unavoidably absent for this game – has a difficult task on his hands to keep his players from descending into the doldrums after the first two winless months of the season.
Next up for the side is another away match, this time against fellow league strugglers, Trojans, who have only one of their seven matches so far this season.