20th January 2018
Rovers run over by Running away Frenchmen
Tries(2): Hodgson, Shamir
Conversions (1): Shafiq
The Rovers had the joy of an unusually late KO last Saturday which was a pleasant surprise for everyone. No mid-day sun this week for the team. However, we were brought down to earth when we surveyed the Dempsey pitch. If last week was a battle, this week’s pitch looked like a battlefield from the Western Front. Brown mud, puddles, and distinct lack of decent grip and that was just the walk from the car park! It was definitely a long stud day.
The opposition for us were the Gaulois aka The French. A well drilled team with decent pace and hands. It was not going to be an easy day, but the team lined up eager to give them the best shot. With the pitch in such a state the game plan was to force errors and capitalise. Team played to this plan well with players rushing up and pressuring the French 10 and 12 allowing us to relieve pressure repeatedly and consistently stay in the middle half of the pitch. Special mention goes to a few vets for putting in some big hits; Foxxy, Steve B (who popped his shoulder due to his efforts), Frandisco, Steve H. The rest of the team worked their socks (or boots) off with bodies put on the line despite some size mismatches. Unfortunately, the speed and hands of the French eventually found some gaps out wide to break through. We did have some rewards from hard short-ball runs and made the French defense work hard to win possession back. The first half finished on a dubious yellow card for Gary which most people thought was a bit extreme. Half-time score was 5-24 with a burrowing try from Dave H the only solace from 40 mins of hard work.
The 2nd half began with blunt but rousing words of encouragement from Tommy (“Smash ‘em and worry about the rest later”). The 2nd half was more of the same with solid tackling and running from all Rovers but the French still able to get around the corner to score. Highlights were the pack starting to motor with the tight-five of mostly vets showing how it’s done and shoving the French back 10 metres in consecutive scrums. Shamir scored our second try having discovered the new position of outside centre. He’d never played there before, hell he didn’t even know where to stand initially but ran and tackled hard and got the points to show for it.
Last quarter saw the French get a couple of yellow cards but Rovers couldn’t make it count has the heavy mud and work rate starting to get the better of us. Final score was 12-55.
Man of the Match was Chris who bossed everything from scrum-half and even took the crash ball when options weren’t available. Special mention goes to all the Wrinklies who lead from the front and showed age means nothing. Thanks to all the supporters who waded through the mud and made their voices heard.
Man of the Match – Chris Andrew