With a first home game it was about time for the first match report of the season, a busy morning had some of the lads arrived early to prep the pitch, some arrived to organise for the start of Southgate Rugby Superheroes next weekend and some arrived early to watch a plucky underdog side take on Japan. Greg who'd been taking it easy this week due to the knee injury at the game vs Letchworth was ensuring that Pete was reminded about the result as he promised him some sushi and sake if we came out the day winners.
With a decent warm up and a strong side starting we felt this was an opportunity to make our mark on the new league and to chalk the first league win on the board. That confidence was seen throughout the side as the tackles went in ferociously and St Albans were being battered with every carry they made. But as we've discovered early this season it doesn't pay well if you don't have the ball in hand, we spent the early part of the game defending and a well drilled St Albans team gave very little away and as any who've graced the game can attest defending is tiring and after 15 minutes without seeing much ball the defence finally gave way. This was not to be the complete tale of the first half as Southgate marched back up the field and proceeded to show their own attacking capabilities, the forwards crashed and the backs ran at spaces and gained yards the hard way, with the intention to keep the points ticking Southgate went for the penalty. But lapse of concentration and intensity saw a period where St Albans ran in 3 further Try's and would have been 4 had not a timely interception from Charlie halt a further attack. A frustrating end to the half as the basics were beginning to go missing from our game.
Sam's talk at the half addressed these problems, and Southgate decided to shuffle the deck as they brought on both Jack's to help tighten up around the fringes. A similarly ferocious start to the second half was a great way to remedy the poor efforts at the end of the first half as an attritional battle took place in the middle of the pitch. Structure appeared at the breakdown and greater support with those who carried the ball which saw us break into St Albans 22, after being impeded at the breakdown Southgate called for a scrum and utilised a familiar weapon in their arsenal. After placing the St Albans set piece under pressure an opportunity broke down the blind side as Mark and Adam linked up to put Adam through in the corner. Few chances came to either side in the second half as a much better performance from Southgate saw a more even contest, but with what limited opportunity was gleamed St Albans managed to squeeze through two further Try's.
A disappointing scoreline left Southgate knowing there is more hard work to do on the training ground and there is definitely more to come from them. It was nice to have the support on the touchline and we thank those who did for coming out, with another 3 weeks till our next game and another 6 till our next home game there's plenty of time to iron out these mistakes and a good couple of weeks to enjoy the RWC.
Sayōnara. (one for you big Pete)
1. Obers 2.Stefan 3. Bulldog 4. Justin 5. Pete 6. Christos 7. Johnny 8. Shane 9. Mark 10. Adam 11. Martin 12. Scrappy (C) 13. Andy 14. Charlie 15. Tom 16. Jack S 17. Nick 18. Jack L 19. Gowers
Scorers: Adam (1T&1P)