Grizzlies vs St. Albans 2Xvs – A game of 2 Halves.
The Grizzlies left frustrated as they lose to St Albans in their 2nd defeat of the season 22-12.
The game away to local rivals St. Albans always adds a little spice to the proceedings and this match was no different. An injury struck Grizzlies travelled the short drive to St. Albans RFC full of hope of continuing our winning streak even though we were missing several key players. The weather was perfect for a game of running rugby. We won the toss and chose to go with the slight wind that was present and St. Albans kicked us off. The Grizzlies dominated the first 10 minutes with possession and territory. Unfortunately for us the first try was scored by St. Albans against the run of play. It came from a well weighted chip kick that went behind our defensive line with only our stand in full back Rob Fenton to cover. Alas he allowed the ball to bounce one too many times and the kicker regathered his kick to score under the posts. There seems to be a pattern emerging where we let the opposition score first before we get our heads into the game. Unfortunately for us we didn’t seem to get our heads into the game properly until the second half.
The next try was a poor one to have been scored against us. It was purely a lack of concentration in our defence that saw St. Albans score their second try, which up to that point had be steadfast. The momentum had swung by this point and everything seemed to be going St. Albans’ way. Their 3rd try was a contentious one. Camped in our 22 one of the St. Albans forwards picked the ball up and drove over the line but was held up as he crossed by several Grizzlies players. He never touched it down, I should know as I was underneath him, but the Ref gave it. We finally won a penalty in front of the posts and the normally ever reliable boot of Mick Foley managed to just push the ball left of the uprights. The first half seem to fly by and before we knew it we were 19-0 down at half time.
After a good team talk the Grizzlies came out all guns blazing. We knew we had to put in a big second half performance to get anything out of the match. The pack really started to put pressure on their counterparts and we started winning ball. We started going forward and put phases together rather than individual runs. The intensity at the ruck picked up and the support play and continuity was much better. Our efforts were rewarded with a great team try in the corner scored by Rob Fenton. It gave the Grizzlies the boost they needed and we continued to play with this new found vigour. Our second try was a bit of individual brilliance from Steven Maishman playing at 8. We had a scrum outside their 22 and Maish picked up from the back of the scrum and went on a rampaging run handing off a couple of defenders before crossing the line. Foley managed to convert and the score stood at 19-12.
Unfortunately for us that was the last time we scored but St. Albans scored a penalty to put the final score 22-12.
MoM went to Ally Ruffett for scrummaging his heart out and again making some great runs over the gain line. DoD went to Deniz Gunbey for making a weak excuse of a tackle on the St. Albans Gargantuan No.10 only to end up on his backside. Better luck next time Deniz!
The match was a messy affair with scrums constantly being re-set, breakdown chaos and dubious decisions being called all over the place. No excuses though as you have to play what’s in front of you and to the situation at that time. We just weren’t good enough or savvy enough on the day. Giving the opposition a 19 point lead at half time is not good enough. But a positive I can take from it is the way the lads fought back and won the second half. Their heads never dropped. A frustrating day all round but it should give us extra motivation for the return leg. I know all the players are very much looking forward to the home game on January 28th.
Next match 29.10.16 – Top of the table clash with Berkhampsted at Home.
Kim Watson (Captain)