6 Tries, 5 Conversions, 1 Penalty
Man of the Match – Kiwi Tom
Following the season’s steady improvement, Shire took to the field in good spirits for a friendly against opposition from a higher league. Conscious that the game would be tough (especially as the opposition arrived with near enough two teams) the pre-match talk focussed on starting brightly and remaining competitive for at least the first half.
With an enthusiastic start in mind, Bishop went onto the field looking to put a marker down for the opposition; a BIG HIT was duly delivered… consequently ending the Captain’s game (The Captain’s curse continues!)
Despite Bishop’s absence, the team remained undaunted and more than competitive up front, bossing Broadmoor in the scrums, due (in no small part) to Dr. Stuart Clarke’s debut as prop. The backs also started well, with an aggressive defensive line making it difficult for Broadmoor to find their stride. There were even a few moments of attacking flamboyance thrown in for good measure; with Kiwi Tom throwing a thirty yard “Rainbow” pass. The well drilled opposition eventually clicked though, touching down mid way through, and in the closing stages of the first half.
At half time Shire had much to be pleased about, the energy and aggression of the previous performances had remained and there was a feeling that Shire could gain something from the game. That feeling was clearly shared by Broadmoor, who early in the second half elected to kick a penalty rather than run once more at the tough tackling Shire centres. As the various Shire players picked up niggles, plans for point scoring were hampered. However the defensive effort was sustained with key contributions from Mark Pye, and a last ditch tackle by Cooper – so crucial that he assures me it saved not one but two ‘certain’ tries!
With fresh legs, Broadmoor continued to press, but again found Shire up for the challenge. Broadmoor’s frustration was obvious, but as the second half wore on the game became disjointed and strong supporting play meant that tough tackling just wasn’t enough to keep the opposition at bay.
The final score-line was a credit to ShireHall, even the referee commented on our superb defence. Broadmoor have improved further on the side who won our league at a canter two years ago. Earlier in the season we would have struggled to finish the game with our pride in tact, thankfully this is no longer the case.
Next Saturday will be different, Grove play at the same level as us and there will be no excuses. We must get ourselves up for it again; take the lessons learnt from Broadmoor’s attacking display and ensure we play to our full potential.