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03 September 2016 / Club News

Match Report Crumlin v Rogerstone

Crumlin V Rogerstone                                 

3rd September 2016.

 

“Spirited!!! Absolutely spirited performance” was the comment from club Chairman, Mike Lewis following the victory over today’s visitor’s Rogerstone.

After a stuttering pre-season, the Crumlin team went into today’s fixture still nursing a few headaches associated with player availability. With an unavailable and injury list forcing a number of unnatural selections, the team took the field against an impressive looking Rogerstone outfit (if the pre-match drilling was anything to go by) with a slight feeling of unpreparedness.

However………..once the referee blew his first whistle, the switch was flipped.

It was the Crumlin side who was first to rise. With the Gods emptying a deluge down on the field, it was the hunger and desire of the Crumlin back row which secured the initial possession. The competitively contested tackle area was going the way of the home side with solid ball retention, quick recycling and good options of support runners off 9, keeping the team on the go forward. The visitors were struggling to cross the half way line and spent practically all of the first 25 minutes penned deep in their own half.

With the home team pressing, the first score came after 15 minutes. After a few phases of the quick clean ball, it was outside half Jason Sheppard who found himself with space in front and plenty of time to check the covering drift defence to powerfully ghost through to score under the posts. He duly added the additional two with a straight forward conversion.

The expected reaction from the Rogerstone team never really got going after the first score and it wasn't long before the Crumlin team (following a few big midfield hits from Messrs Pigeon, Thomas and Harrision), were back playing the rugby deep in the opposition’s half.

The rain continued to fall and the referee’s whistle blowing loud and oft, it wasn’t a day for champagne rugby. A few dropped passes, the good ol’ offside and handling the ball on the floor, the game descended into the competition the weather always predicted it was going to be.

Half time was fast approaching and with the home team winning the battle of possession and territory, it was time to press the advantage. After a few well placed kicks by Sheppard, the Crumlin pack were positioned to cross the line following  a few power plays. The pick up and drive was proving an effective weapon for the Crumlin pack with nobody shirking their responsibilities. As they pressed on however, it was the Rogerstone team who were quickest to react following a “well timed” disruptive hand by the Roge scrumhalf. The visitors were quick to open up with strong running from the green and black’s number 8 who was well supported by their stand out player of the day, the rangy number 6. They went the length of the field to almost score in the far corner, only being foiled by the determined covering back of the Crumlin back line and the tireless Ben Booton.

7-0 at half time.

Both teams elected to go into the changing rooms at half time to get out of the monsoon whilst the spectators eagerly awaited Noah to sail past on his Ark.

It was a different Rogerstone who emerged from the changing rooms. Before the Crumlin water bottles could be refilled, they were back on equal terms.

After a well placed kick from the Rogerstone 10 and a misjudgement from the Crumlin winger, it was the visitors who crossed the try line following the lineout. The Rogerstone 10 added the conversation with a difficult kick out wide to square the game at 7-7.

With the wind in their sails, the visitors were keen to press on. The ever keen and strong running 8 was more than happy to carve up the field and draw the best from the Crumlin defence. It was the turn of visitors to work the attacking corners and following some good recycling, the Roge 12 opened up to cross the line, only to be denied the score following the ref’s decision of an inadequate grounding. (It looked perfectly acceptable to me, I hasten to add…)

With the storm weathered (but still blowing up my trouser legs), the Crumlin pack slowly recovered their position of dominance. The ever reliable Sheppard seemed always on hand to put in a well-placed relieving kick and the spirited tackling over the entire back line guaranteed that any potential threat was quickly snuffed out.

The next try came from to the home side courtesy of period of broken play but some slick inter passing (especially given the conditions), set the scene for number 8, Luke Pigeon, to power over in the corner.

12-7 to Crumlin with 25 minutes remaining.         

With no obvious side on  top and the game now being played between both 22 meter lines, it was the team who made the least mistakes who were going to go on and get the victory.

Some ill-discipline just outside the 22 presented Mr Reliable to step up and slot over another 3 points to extend the Crumlin lead.

As you can imagine, the set piece had descended into a lottery but the focus of props Dan Lewis and Gavin Spencer ensured that scrum ball was never going to go easy to the more organised Rogerstone pack. Stand up captain Rhys Davies was more than holding his own in the line out with a disruptive hand and clean ball for the Crumlin 9 to use.    

With the crowd sensing the victory, it wasn’t long before the final blow came from the Crumlin team to seal the “W”. More slick passing and quick ball movement created an overlap, and despite the best efforts of the now scrabbling Rogerstone defence, it was the unselfish interplay between backs and forwards and the successful execution of a few 2v1s which sent the final score crashing over the line. The MVP, Sheppard, stepped up again to add the 2 (taking his personal haul to an impressive 12 points) and the score was carved in at 22-7.

The game was played in good spirits with no real flash points and I’m sure there will be more to come from the Rogerstone team as the season progresses, but today was a day for Crumlin.

It was a well deserved and just result.

There is no denying that there is still plenty of work to be done on the training field and a number of players to stand up, but this is a great first stepping stone to what will hopefully prove to be a successful season.           

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