Sheffield Medicals 7 – 8 Manchester Medics
After a week off for many of the players, Sheffield were fresh and ready for a rare home game. With the match being re-arranged to make it a double-header this was sure to be a huge game but with the kind of wind that could blow a dog off its lead, it was unlikely to be a classic.
The match began as it intended to go on. A succession of poor passes and dropped balls saw the first half descend into a scrappy affair in which Sheffield failed to string 2 phases together. Manchester pressured the Sheffield line-out early on and were able to make yards through big forward runners. Their pressure paid off after a series of infringements at the ruck from Sheffield lead to a couple of kickable penalties for Manchester, one of which was slotted.
Not much rugby was played by either side in the first half and on the one occasion Sheffield decided to move it wide a Manchester winger knocked down the final pass. After listening to the case of the prosecution lead by Ali Shaw and Fawdry from the touchline, the ref judged the Manchester player to have deliberately knocked it on and swiftly sent him to the bin of sin.
Half time came with the score at 0-3.
The 10 man rugby tactics of the first half carried over into the second with neither side bossing the game. Spectators could already be seen leaving their seats when a chance came suddenly for Sheffield...a quick dart and a jink from Will Watkinson opened up a 2 on 1 for ginger Rob to race ahead down the touch line with only one man to beat. He could have stepped the defender or passed inside but instead he decided to kick ahead. A collaborative moan swept across the pitch as the ball was clearly going dead and the opportunity had obviously been wasted. As is the way with the odd shaped ball however it somehow managed to bounce in field, completely bamboozling the Manchester players allowing Andy “hi-tops” Slater to elegantly flop on it for his first try for Sheffield Medics. A truly momentous occasion spoiled only by the over-exuberant celebration. Gabbot converted and celebrated in a similar arm-pumping fashion.
As the half progressed Sheffield once again began to give away too many penalties and were quickly without a hooker or scrum-half after the ref lost patience and dispatched them to the sin-bin. With Sheffield having lost men, Manchester were able to dominate at the ruck despite the best efforts of the ever-present back row. With accurate kicking to the corner, Manchester were soon able to enter the opposition 22 and quickly went over for a short distance pick and drive try. The conversion was missed.
Sheffield were given a glimmer of hope when a Manchester player was yellow carded for an infringement at the ruck but time was not on our side and the full time whistle blew with the score at 7-8.
A combination of unfavourable weather conditions and indiscipline lost the game for Sheffield. Well played to Manchester and much respect for playing in unfortunate circumstances.
By Joe Knight
MOTM - Joe Knight
SOTM - Jonny Horsford
TOTM - Andy Slater