With Glorious sunshine and a slight breeze, the days conditions couldn’t have been any better, I mean they could, some say it was too hot and the ground was like concrete. Ts took to the field at Parkfields for the first game of the 2019-20 season and the side was;
Forwards; Penson. B.Goddard, Fyles were the front row, with Skip Banks & Speakin at Locks, completed with Jasper, Mooro & Smithy’s return to back row.
Backs; Marcus Wirght on his debut partnered with Fozzy as half backs, with the classic combination of Jash & JH as the 3/4s, finally a back 3 of Rose, Stock & Polley.
Reserves; hosted 2 1st XV debutants, Scott Davidson & Alex Stagg, finally completing the squad Puff.
These 2 sides had some interesting encounters last season with both sides winning at home comfortably. Old Cranleighans (OC) got the game underway and immediately applied the pressure, a mistake at the base of the scrum allowed OC to capitalise and nudge to the corner for the first score as Ts went 5-0 down in 5 mins.
The next opportunity came Ts way from a charge down, but their mistakes cost them as speed of play and missed tackles allowed OC to pin Ts all the way back on their own 5m line. Ts became their own worst enemies in the early stages of the game, missed tackles, penalty count & handling errors littered throughout the first half was Ts undoing. OCs gained a penalty and extended their lead to 8-0.
Ts began to apply some pressure over the next 5 mins as they kept ball and gained a bit more structure, it pushed OCs deeper int their half, but it amounted to nothing. After just over 20 minutes we lost Fyles to the bin.
Ts begin to build momentum once again but a mistake in the attack lead to an interception try taking their lead to 13-0 after 30 minutes. OCs slip up on the back of their lineout to create a scrum, a good platform lead to a great opportunity for the backs to play, as Jash links up with Stock & Rose who makes it over in the corner, Fozzy hits the post as the score is 13-5 to OCs.
Although Ts had clawed their way back into the game, a well placed kick off lead to OCs gaining great field position against a very disorganised Ts defence and manage to use their quick ball to get over the line once again taking the score to 20-5. With only a number of minutes left in the half Ts went down to 13 men as Jasper found himself on the end of a yellow, again it was Ts penalty count letting them down.
With only 13 on the field, OCs took advantage of their already strong rolling maul to push Ts in and they were able to exploit the D and managed to get over out wide to finish the half 25-5.
Scott makes his way onto the field for his debut & Ts get the game underway, Ts early mistakes complimented by OCs rolling maul they really put Ts under pressure from the off and made it 30-5 after 3 minutes.
Ts then begin their assault, OCs cough up a penalty and Smithy goes on a rampage, Marcus speeds up the pace of the game and Ts march into the opposition 22, but mistakes let them down. Once Ts had gained possession & structure gaps begun to show in the OC defence and on his debut Marcus manages to snipe and go under the sticks, the nutcase slid as well! Fozzy made it 30-12.
Ts start off well again and march down the pitch, after pinning OCs deep Ts manage to thwart the OCs lineout and gain great field position. Ts continue to build the pressure as OCs penalty count begins to rise, this leads to scrum deep in the oppo half and a well executed backs move gives JH the opportunity to stretch for the line and get 5 more, Fozzy closes the gap to 30-19.
After a few pahses of scrappy play from both sides, Ts manage to pin OCs deep into their half with a lineout, a well worked lineout means B.Goddard slumps over in the corner, Fozzy just missing takes the score to 30-24, but Ts with the momentum. Another penalty and lineout in the OCs 22, after building a number of phases and applying the pressure, Jash manages to squirm through a gap and finds himself dotting down, Fozzy makes it 31-30 with about 10 on the clock.
Stagg makes his way onto the field in a high pressure situation, for his debut. But the next 10 minutes would be all OCs, Ts leaving everything on the field in terms of defence, OCs hammering away but not being able to break Ts down. With only 4 minutes left OCs used their forward to draw in the Ts defence, then finally managed to release their winger in the corner to dot down and make it 35-31.
That would be the final score, credit to OCs they came out the blocks early and didn’t allow Ts time on ball or any momentum but Ts dug deep to bring it back to a 1 point game. Credit to the OCs side who took it to the wire and were able to find the win after Ts had all the momentum, we look forward to seeing them later in the season.
Ts make the trip down to Eastleigh this weekend where last year they took a bit of a pasting, hopefully different conditions give Ts the opportunity to rectify last seasons scoreline.
Congrats to those who pulled on the red & black jersey for their debuts & Mooro for 50 caps.
MOTM: Jordan, Penson, JH & Marcus all having good games but Smithy was destructive from the off and was awarded the pint.
DOTD: Tough choice with 2 yellows but an interception took the award for Fozzy.
Well guys we’re back to awful grammar and terrible spelling in my reports, but should you moan I’m happy to discuss with you in kangaroo court on Nov 9th…..
Thanks for the read, until next time