It was with some trepidation that we headed to Belrose for the local derby with Wakehurst. We were without head coach Al. The games against Wakehurst last year were tight battles. And it was Friday night – and we didn’t win a game last year on a Friday night.
I think it is fair to say that our victory was built around a solid forward performance and good defence. We started the game in good form (for a change), camping down in Wakehurst’s 22. The forwards controlled the breakdown, lead by Dean and George who took on the Wakehurst pack straight up the middle. They were well supported in the contest for the footy by Marcus, Jai, Caid and Sean. Wakehurst defended well, and were making it hard for Joey to get clean ball to our backline. There will be some passing practice for the backs at training as we missed quite a few opportunities to get the ball out wide to our unmarked wingers, Kai and Mitchell W.
When Wakehurst did get the ball, we defended well – with some great tackles by Mitchell W in front of the crowd, and excellent cover defence from Wilson, Sam and Gillo. However, the first converted try went to Wakehurst after a couple of clear breaks changed the momentum.
Towards the end of the first half we were back in Wakehurst territory and Dean took a penalty and bull-dozed over a couple of unsuspecting defenders for our first try. The half time score was 5-7.
There was more of the same in the second half – strong work from all the forwards and missed backline opportunities. The score could have easily been much bigger as we had a string of near misses with the try line only a whisker away (or a double movement away) from Caid, Ben, George, Marcus and Curtis (and maybe a couple of others, but I was starting to lose count). Curtis showed a lot of ticker – both in tackling much bigger opposition and attacking the Wakehurst line. It was finally Luke who managed to find the right side of the try line to take us into the lead. Dean’s conversation from the side line meant the scored finished at 12-7.
In the last 5 minutes, the game could have gone either way as Wakehurst kept threatening to break our defence. They are a very physical team, so it was a credit that the boys handled the rough stuff well. Ollie had a few tough runs in the second half and looked like he’d been hit by a train when he came off late in the game. Special thanks also to Ben (Mr Versatile) for helping out in the forwards this week.
Four wins from four games. A great start to the year.