Sat 20
First XV
Medics Bounce Back

Medics Bounce Back

By Matt Green
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A day out in The Dales saw Sheffield Medics bounce back from last week’s awful performance to record a bonus point win and deny Skipton any score for their efforts.

Plenty of standing water along the Aire Valley pointed towards a wet and muddy affair but Skipton’s Sandylands pitch was in perfect condition as the soap/tax/contact dodgers arrived after a scenic (ignoring Bratfud that is), but lengthy, drive.

Concentration levels and improved discipline (small d) in attack were high on the agenda as the Medics kicked off left and immediately forced a knock-on. From the resulting scrum play moved through a number of phases to the right touchline with some strong carries from the pack and centres. The ball was moved one phase back left and then Ted Farmer fed FTR Conville who looked up, spotted a gap and made a half-break before finding the ruthlessly efficient Chris Blackwell on a millimetrically accurate converging support-line which took him under the posts. Tedward converted from under the sticks and the students were up and running.

Skipton’s Kickoff was fielded by Skipper Fawdry and lines were cleared. Here started an exceptional defensive performance from the Medics as Skipton were, time and again, sent back from whence they came, with the pack performing lumberjack duties on the home side’s carriers around the fringes and the backline repeatedly stopping their opponents on, or behind, the gain line. Again, xxxxface Gabbot set the tone and, apart from one glaring mix-up in midfield where the hard-running and hard-tackling Skipton 12 was waved through, the home team were restricted to kicking to gain territory for most of the afternoon.

Medics pressure in defence led to the first of numerous pilfers (did you see that Kearnsey, you little ripper), from George Cusworth and Medics went back on the attack, making ground with phase after phase of controlled rugby. Again FTR found himself with the ball in hand against a hard-drifting Skipton backline, with Blackwell and Justin Bieber’s hair hero, Mike C. Watters, on his outside. A well judged kick through allowed the always composed Fullback to collect, flick his bangs out of his eyes and dot down in the corner for the Medics’ second score.

After 15 minutes the Medics were looking good for the win but maintaining their impressive start would be the challenge. They went about it extremely well for the next 10 minutes and should have scored twice more but the students forced the play and came away with nothing but a penalty from the metronomic boot of the club’s moral standard-bearer, Ted Farmer.

Errors in attack were now creeping in to the Medics’ game and frustration began to build as time after time chances went begging. Another score was needed before half-time and it came almost on the whistle. A clearing kick from Skipton was fielded by the Tweedledee to Tom Piggot’s Tweedledum(b), Rob Causer who threw an outlandish left-handed effort-ball spin pass (which looked to the crowd like it would have been more at-home at Lambeau Field than Sandylands) which, after an intervention and speculative offload from Herr Flick, somehow ended up in the hands of the marauding Tris Crawshaw. Skipton probably feared little danger when they saw it was the bloke wearing 5 on his back but he stepped through a gap 40m out and outpaced the covering backline defence for an excellent individual score. Ted converted again, but you knew that.

A (let’s say measured) half-time kick up the arse was prescribed (get it?) and the Medics started the second half determined to cut out the mistakes which were curtailing their game. The application and enthusiasm were there but a combination of some more forced plays, some imaginative decisions by the referee at the breakdown and continued concerted effort from the home team meant that scoring chances were scarce. Despite this, the Medics had the chance to score three further tries, but again composure let them down at the crucial moment (sure this is a problem after Pop Tarts for some of the boys too).

The bonus point try did come after the Medics’ best play of the half, where a number of phases again gave Crawshaw the opportunity to stretch his legs 40 metres out, he again surged through a hole before stepping the fullback and cantering over under the sticks before nearly being burgled from behind (behave) by a valiant defensive chase from a Skipton player. The ball was grounded though and the inevitable conversion was added.

That was the last meaningful event of the game aside from another Farmer penalty as the remaining 20 minutes was contested in the middle of the field, with neither side able to create an opportunity of note. There was still time, however, for a ‘Fawdry Special’ – a particular type of no-look, back-handed miracle offload which the intended recipient would only have a chance of pulling in, were he in possession of his own gravitational field.

The students left the pitch with the satisfaction of 5 points, a defensive shut-out and the prospect of a warm shower, but with the feeling that they will need to play better, for a lot longer to come out on top against high-flying West Leeds next week.

Credit and thanks must go to Skipton for their nerver-say-die attitude on the field and their excellent hospitality off it (the lady in the kitchen served a lovely pie). We look forward to your visit to Norton-on-le-hill.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 20, Oct 2012




Yorkshire 2