Lambert- Taylor sets up win
By Michael Mellor
With the ref's help ?
Mike Mellor reports -
Man of the match Jack Lambert Taylor’s two tries laid the foundations for a narrow victory consolidating Abbey’s mid-table league position in sixth slot.
The win came with an unwitting helping hand from Gloucestershire referee Mr William Gilder. The last play of the game was a penalty to Stow right in front of the posts. They needed six points to win, requiring a converted try. Would they take a scrum, tap and run, or go for a lineout and drive? Stow spent a long time discussing the options amongst themselves and with the referee. Stow stunned the spectators by choosing the kick at goal, taking the three points to concede the game, content with a losing bonus point, and to have narrowed their scoring differential.
As the players left the pitch it quickly became known they had taken the option as the referee told them an incorrect score at that time of 22 – 13, and they had needed nine points. Despite Stow’s immediate post-match protestations, he stuck to that position, until wiser and calmer counsel prevailed in the clubhouse afterwards, and he corrected the official score sheet.
Beforehand Abbey Head Coach Fungai had an extensive list of un availabilities for the long trip to Gloucester resulting in seven changes in personnel involving handing a debut to prop Will Lane and the return to first team action for centre Aaron Ross, winger Steve Warwick, full back Dan Love, and hooker Martin Collier on the bench. With captain Will Bevan side-lined for up to twelve weeks following collar bone surgery, Lambert-Taylor switched from winger to scrum half and it was he who gave Abbey a dream start after just four minutes. From an attacking scrum he took the ball, sold a dummy pass, and nipped over for his first try and converted it.
The advantage swung momentarily to Stow following a penalty from full back Billy Maude and a try from winger James Holmes, winning the race to touch down following a kick and chase. Maude added the extras.
Soon Lambert Taylor restored Abbey’s lead by taking his second converted try to give a turn round score at the break, 14-10.
Stow fielded a young side as they build for the future, and their tactics of a single pass, drive, recycle, then repeat the pass and drive, deprived Abbey of possession for extensive periods in the first half, despite the good performance from the back row, where Ed House was prominent. Stow mounted just three serious threats to the Abbey as their outside half breached the defensive line to give his outside centre space to attack.
Abbey’s possession was moved around but with a much changed back line, ball movement lacked sharpness.
The second half saw a more dominant scrummage from Abbey as changes were rung in the pack with George House, Martin Collier and Nick Bradfield took their turn from the bench. Early after the restart Stow narrowed the score with a penalty from Maude making the most of some errant kicking from Abbey.
Abbey’s lead was quickly extended with a try from winger Remi Norville, a potent threat on the occasions the ball was in his hands.
Despite having more possession Abbey could not find a way through the Stow defence. But the reduced number of Rosehill travelling support were content that the win would be theirs, with the game seemingly concluding with Stow under the cosh in their twenty-two. But a failed kick for goal from the visitors saw Stow make the most of the drop out, sweep upfield in a final flurry to win the fateful penalty in front of the goal, and had the correct score line been given to them, the result might well have been different.
Mr Childer, though had first done both sides a greater service, he had stood in at half an hour’s notice from Painswick rugby club, as the appointed referee cried off, the switch delaying the start for twenty minutes.
This Saturday is a league rest Saturday, with Abbey’s last home game of this calendar year being the following week 9th December at home to Thatcham with a pre-match festive lunch for all who wish to join in the fun. On the 16th Abbey are away to Wallingford.
Team: Charlton, Postlethwaite, Lane, Knights, Shaw, Beckley, E House, Woodward (capt), Lambert-Taylor, Bryson, Norville, Ross, Shackleford, Warwick, Love, reps (all used) G House, Collier, Bradfield.