Going into this game we did not know what to expect as Butser Baa Baa's are a mix of Peterfield and Havant boys who are not regulars in their first team. However hats of to both Havant and Peterfield set of coaches for getting together and making up a scratch side who do not train together but want to play rugby. This was a brave move for two "rival" clubs in Hampshire but with only the boys in mind was a great move and a good message to send to other clubs in the area as well as the country who have too many players for everyone to play in one team but not enough to play two teams for their club.
So we knew that both clubs had good pedigre and that they would field good players and as one team they could/would be a handfull and we were not wrong.
My message to the boys was the same as it is for every game "I dont care about the score line as long as everyone puts in 110% for each other" Also that if we were going to have a chance to win this game then we would have to score first.
So with this still fresh in the boys ears we took the kick off and they decide to kick it right back to us which was a good idea apart from it landed in Eds hands who caught it well and rampaged up the pitch with 3 or 4 tacklers hanging of him however Ed was able to cross the line for the fist try, So 2 minutes in and we were 0-5 winning. Unfortuantly Lucas was unable to convert a tricky conversion but 0-5 was the start we wanted. Butser were good at the breakdown and we were getting knocked off the ball alot but we continued to compete. Some good rus by Lucas and Dara and great defencive work from Oli J (Capt) once again leading by example. But the Butser backs were dominating and looked dangerous everytime they recieved the ball. Unfortunatly this was the case with 8 minutes gone and they were able score a try, breaking through some soft tackles to equal it up to 5-5 with now 10 minutes gones as they too missed their conversion.
Our scrums were dominating theirs both on our ball and theirs and won allot throughout the game against the head as much as we won our own. Both Matteo and Louis hooked well and supported by Sam Page and Sammy Nadgie. However we kept having forwards i the back line and the backs in the rucks which left us open when their backs attacked us and once again they ran outside of a couple of forwards and easily got over the line and was able to put the ball down under the posts, for which they converted. We hung on and dug deep but the half time whistle went with the scoreline 12-5 to the Baa Baa's
With fireworks night just gone i decided to give the boys a few rockets of my own at half time as i could not see how we were losing this game and the boys took it on board. Unfortunalty just before half time Lucas (10) took a knock and we had to re-arrange our backs and i swapped Bradley and Mattis over to give Mattis a go at scrum half as I said they were share the role.
From the first scrum into the second half Mattis did what he does best and made some good runs from the back of the scrum and was able to make ground. However we kept holding onto the ball too long and only looking for the offload after the contact had been made instead of passing it throuhg our hands and commiting the defenders first.
Then we had a scrum just outside their 22 and there was only one move that the boys wanted to execute and it was the move that has worked for us in the past and it worked again today. With a massive scrum the ball came to Ed's feet for which he picked and went and was able to fend off 4/5 tackles and get the ball over the try line with 8 minutes gone in the second half. With Lucas off the pitch now Dara stepped up cool as a cucumber and slotted the ball between the posts to make it 12-12 not an easy kick for anyone let alone someone who has not kicked all game and had to make it to draw the game!
With only 7 minutes to go Butser hit us again and this time we made it even easier for them by having two props in the inside and outside centre positions their backs were able to run around and past them and even with Balise on their heels were not be to be caught and were able to again put the ball under the posts, for which they slotted and made it 19-12 with less than 6 minutes to go. I had to make a tactical sub as Taylor thought he was playing football and tried to stop the try with what only can be called a "fly hack!" this was not done out of mallice just a bit of inexperience and desperation to stop the try. The ref had a word and treated it the same way but i decide to sub him to be able to inform him what is and is not allowed in Rugby.
5 minutes to go and it was now all hands tot he pump and the boys really dug deep to try and get something out of this game and then Ed made a great run and crossed the line with at least 4 guys hanging off him but he was able to get the ball down and score his hatrick. Once again it was up to Dara to level the points and once again he stepped up and kicked a very tricky let alone a big pressure shot and was able to bring the score line back to level at 19-19 each.
A couple minutes later we lose both Bradley and Sam Pit as Bradley took a heavy tackle to the ribs for which we all heard and Sam Pitt had a knock to the throat which stopped the game for 10 minutes or so.
With 2 minutes left on the clock this game now could of gone either way. The boys now had to dig deep and they knew one missed tackle and the game would be lost. However Butser were now chomping at the bit and hit us with everthing they had. With only 10 seconds to go they made a break down the wing and a double try saving tackle from Mathew and Blaise took their player into touch and the ref blew his whistle.
What a game! I expect this was a great game to watch for a neutral but trust me a very stressful one to coach.......
Our forwards were outstanding in the scrums and lineouts but some still need work on their fitness to keep up wiht the play and positioning around the pitch after breakdowns etc.
Our backs tackled well and put pressure on their backs but still need to know when to run and when to pass.
All players played for each other but need to offload earlier and be more agressive in the breakdown.
Man of the Match
Because of his hatrick and work rate Ed gets man of the match but special mention goes to Dara for his kicks and newbies Taylor and William Bethal for their work rate. Gabe ran strong and both Louis and Matteo hooked well.
Extra special mention goes to Adam Stockley who broke his collar bone the 2 weeks before but wanted to watch and support the boys away from home and cheer them on. He also had the last words in our final huddle and the boys appreciated him being there as well as his words at the end.
I hope all our injured players rest and recover soon and well done boys this is now going to the wire and I think Hants RFU will have a tough choice who to put up if it ends up all tiied at the top of the league at the end of the last league game on the 18th December.
Also once again well done to Havant and Petersfield for getting together and allowing those boys to play where other teams would not.