Another emphatic win against an improving BBOB side.
By Ian Stenson
Great first half but not such a good second half.
Having beaten BBOB earlier in the season the coaches mixed the side up and rested a few key guys in preparation for next weeks fixture against Kettering. Mario, Adomas and Kieran who are all new to the club in the last month, where given a starting berth. With two other new recruits in recent weeks Keith and Ethan waiting for their chance to come off the bench.
The game was as expected a little one sided with Rushden scoring with ease, particularly in the first half. However, a huge amount of credit must be given to BBOB, they never gave up and In fact scored 3 tries in the second half to show how much they have come on since our game earlier in the season. With a lot of their players only starting this year they will certainly be a tougher test next season.
The game plan was to utilise the pace of Mario, Matt and Lewis in the wider channels which meant pressure would be placed on brand new midfield of Elliott C and Callum. It worked out better than the coaches could imagine, from the kick off both caused havoc with their speed and footwork to get past numerous defenders before providing a wider pass to Mario, Matt or Lewis.
Lewis M, who again had a fine display at full back, was the first to score following a break in midfield by Elliott C. After breaking in midfield Elliott linked with Matt, whose powerful run took Rushden into the 22. The ball was quickly recycled at the ruck allowing Ryan to set his back line in motion, two passes later Lewis M has the easiest of run ins. Conversion missed 7 – 0, 4 minutes in.
With the game plan on point, Rushden created a couple of opportunities for Mario on the left wing. His initial burst of pace saw him always get out side his opposite number, he just hadn’t enough to get past the covering defenders. As he learns more about the game it will not be long before he is carving oppositions apart and scoring for fun.
Flyhalf Jamie was next on the score sheet. BBOB were awarded a lineout in the Rushden 22 following a silly penalty by Rushden. Unfortunately. BBOB knocked on at the lineout and gave a scrum to Rushden. With the windy conditions clearing kicks from the 22 were impossible. Jamie sent Elliott C up the midfield, his power took him past the initial defender and allowed him to link with Callum. Callum and Lewis M then combined to send Mario sprinting down the touch line. Great cover defence from BBOB number 7, pulled him down on the 22. The forwards were a little slow to arrive and the momentum was lost until James A collected a pass from Ryan and drove into the BBOB midfield. Ryan’s quick delivery to Jamie created a lovely gap for him to run onto and snipe in for a great length of the field try. Jamie then converted his own score for good measure. 12 – 0
If the crowd thought that was a good score, they were left speechless by the next one from Callum. Poor play and missed tackles, particularly from the forwards, allowed BBOB deep into the Rushden 22. A good tackle from James N dislodged the ball and the BBOB charge was thwarted, scrum Rushden 5m from their own goal line. With no kick possible running from inside the dead ball area was the only option, although slightly risky. But when you have the speed and foot work of Callum in the side anything can happen. Elliott C gave him a pass on his own try line and 15 seconds later he was scoring under BBOB posts. Having broken through the first line of defence he accelerated into the BBOB half with no one in front of him. The BBOB number 7 chased him hard but for once Callum backed himself, changed his line of run in and easily scored under the posts for a great try which Jamie converted
It was now the forwards chance to get in on the act with Captain Max driving over for a well-deserved try. Another powerful surge up the far touch line by Matt sucked in the defenders, James A, James N and Euan carried the ball on and into the BBOB 22. This created enough space for Max to charge into, having brushed aside three would be tacklers he dived over to score under the posts. Jamie knocked over the simple conversion.
It was now all one-way traffic with BBOB becoming disheartened by the continued battering they were getting from Rushden’s back line. Jamie was pulling the strings at 10, either using the power of the midfield or the pace of wingers to great effect. If that didn’t work, he had crazy legs Lewis M at the back who made huge meters every time he got the ball.
Matt P was next to score. After a number of carries by the boys upfront James A linked play to give Jamie some space on the far touch line. He in turn feed Matt whose pace took him past 4 tacklers with ease to scorch in for yet another try under the posts, which Jamie kicked.
Jamie had the final score of the half. Unfortunately, I missed it as I was sorting out the subs for the second half. However, Jeff told me he ran past 15 players, cart wheeled over for a try and completed a triple back somersault to celebrate. However, it was scored it took Jamie to a half time contribution of 16 points.
Half time and the coaches made 12 changes and three positional changes. Ethan came in at second row for only his 2nd game of rugby. Another positive was that Tana came on having missed the last two months with severs disease in his heal.
The expectation was to carry on where we left off but work on our break down position on the floor to help improve the quality of ball.
BBOB hadn’t read the script and a few words of encouragement at half time they were a different beast.
There bigger guys were carrying strongly and with Rushden’s back row forgetting how to tackle BBOB took advantage to score out wide. The wind dragged the conversion wide off the corner flag.
Rushden’s display was very very poor throughout the second half with poor body height in the tackle area a real cause for concern. Changing a full side did allow everyone to get game time but it also certainly disrupted the flow of the game.
Callum, continued to be a bright spark in attack which often got Rushden out of jail. From one mazy run he created a great try for him self that Jamie converted.
With Callum's Job done Keith entered the fray for his club debut on the wing, with Lennon moving to full back.
Although the game was won Rushden were certainly coming up second best in the second half. A try saving tackle out wide by Lennon stopped a certain try. However, with BBOB charging into rucks they recycled the ball well to allow their prop to charge in for a good team try.
When you need a big player to stand up Kyle J is your man. Having swapped to number 8 he picked up from the base of the scrum and charged to the BBOB line. Swatting a number of tacklers away he was able to crash over for a fine try out wide. Tana utilised the wind to kick a fine conversion.
With the game nearly over Rushden pushed for the final try of the game. Another strong carry by Elliott F started the move and after a number of controlled phases Jake glided over to score out wide. Conversion missed
With only 2 minutes left on the clock the BBOB coaches encouraged their side for one last play. The kick was spilled by Rushden causing a scrum in the Rushden half. BBOB took the ball up three or four times consistently breaking Rushden’s line of defence easily. With good front ball and a retreating Rushden side they eventually scored a great try. Conversion missed, game over.
MOM – James N, for an outstanding contribution around the park and in the tackle.