Sheffield Medics 13 – 18 Doncaster Phoenix
It was a perfect day for rugby on Saturday the 6th of April, the sun even made a brief appearance after weeks the doom and gloom of winter. The wind was strangely coming across the pitch from a north-easterly direction and the home crowd were in good voice. Phoenix began the game by kicking to the medics. After a period of sizing each other up, phoenix won a scrum outside the Medic’s 22. The number 8 picked up and after some miscommunication between the Medic’s back-row and the Medic’s number 8 was thrown aside phoenix touched down and added the extras to take the 0-7 lead.
From this the Medics pulled their socks up and had some good pressure in the Phoenix half. Eventually the pressure paid off and after a good lineout and rolling maul the backs got their hands on the ball. One breakdown later, Alex Fawdry powered his way over the white wash coming around the corner. Ted Farmer, new employee of Arla Foods, added the extras to make it 7-7.
After this, the Medics let their foot off the pedal and the league leaders capitalised with two quick penalties. This was like coal to the furnaces for the Medics and they started playing again. Starting to pick the limited gaps in the Phoenix defence the Medics team moved up the field. One brilliant move sculpted by the transcendent Alastair Shaw ended with the Medics second row being held back by the Phoenix winger. The referee had no choice but the give the winger a yellow card for cynical play and preventing a possible try. With the man advantage the Medics needed to capitalise, they spent much of the time in the Phoenix 22 but could only manage three points from the boot of Ted Farmer taking the halftime score to 10-13 to Phoenix.
The second half picked up where the first left off with both teams putting pressure on each other. First blow went to Phoenix. After a number of unsuccessful mauls were broken up by the Medics. Phoenix managed to push over for try in the corner. From this the kicker was unable to add the extras but took the score to 10-18. The league leaders continued their pressure in the 22 and forced a number of penalties in the ‘red zone’ from the Medics. Enough was enough for the referee and resulted in a yellow card for the Medic’s 7. Although the validity of this final penalty was hotly disputed by many of the players and fans alike.
With their backs against the wall the Medics started playing their rugby again. With the medics playing some of their best rugby of the game they began to make their way up the field. The pressure resulted in another penalty for Ted Farmer’s boot bringing the Medics within one score of Phoenix at 13-18. Maintaining their pressure, pulling Phoenix from one side of the pitch to the other they managed to engineer a two on one with the full-back. Unfortunately this golden opportunity fell to the hands of the James ‘the butcher’ Whinki. Doing what a prop does best, he took the ball into contact and missed his chance to offload due to the strong tackle from the full-back.
After this, the attack petered out and eventually Phoenix cleared their lines. This allowed the Medics to put another flowing attack together and get behind the Phoenix defence. In the next phase a certain try was cynically prevented by a retreating phoenix second row. After roars from the crowd and indignation from the players the referee only gave a penalty. With a full complement of players the league leaders managed to win the ball back play out the game with an extended period of pick-and-go’s.
Final score was 13-18 to the Doncaster Phoenix. It was a very even game with Phoenix just finding that extra 5% to beat the medics and maintain their winning run. The Medics can be proud that they came close to their potential and aim to go unbeaten for the rest of the season beginning with an away game to Castleford on Saturday 13th of April.