Luctonians RFC 26 v 7 Sheffield Tigers RUFC
Saturday 1st February 2020
The Black and Whites confirmed their recent good form with a fine home win against a dogged Sheffield Tigers in front of a vibrant, and once they got their voices warmed up, rowdy and noisy home crowd who gave the Boards one hell of a battering. The game was played in extremely difficult conditions with the stiff wind (Stiff wind? It was blowing a Hoolie!) and this played its part for both sides in each half.
Lucs, playing into the wind blowing from Welsh Wales first half, started the brighter and their possession and tactical game kept Tigers down to just a few sporadic visits into their half for the first 20 minutes and, when they did threaten, Tigers were denied by the excellent home side defence.
Tigers were perhaps unfortunate to lose their hooker after 10 minutes to injury, and they relied heavily on the kicking abilities of Ireland with his wind assisted kicks deep into Lucs territory to keep the home side on the back foot. His one penalty attempt from 40 plus metres sailed wide much to the derision of the home crowd.
Lucs struck first blood when Josh Watkins, showing his usual pace and mobility, capitalised on excellent work by Tom Furnival and Drew Cheshire to put the home side ahead after 25 minutes. Louis Silver‘s conversion attempt looked to all the world to be sailing towards the uprights until another gust blew it back towards him.
Tigers were stung into action and they responded almost immediately when they drove Alan Symcox over from a maul close in with the ever-accurate Mark Ireland kicking the extras to give them a 5-7 half time lead much against the run of play. Lucs were happy to hold the score to 2 points difference and tactically they looked comfortable at oranges.
Half Time Score
Luctonians 5 v 7 Sheffield Tigers
Half time, and the Draw today was for the Ladies Rugby Section with 2 large hampers on offer, one of Wine and the second of spirits. Pleased to say the Ladies announced to me that the winning prizes were, as always, in the Clubhouse and the winners should contact them where they could be found propping up the bar. Good call ladies, it was too cold to be outside.
And where was a Womble when you want one? Oh yes, 3 if not 4 were sat at back of the stand when one supporter inadvertently kicked his empty pint pot for six. Not one Womble moved! I gather it was a job that could wait until Wednesday when they won’t have much to do, and a team would be sent to sweep up the glass then. [Oi! No glass outside the clubhouse! Ed.]
Wales, “Please Mr Man on the microphone will you not announce the latest Rugby score from Cardiff as we are recording it and don’t want to know what happened until we get home.” I guessed this might be the only win for the men in Red in this season’s 6 Nations so I was happy to oblige.
The second half was just as entertaining, albeit scrappy, as the strong breeze did little for kicks from hand and passing became difficult. Both sides adapted the ‘up your jumper’ approach and relied on turnover ball to gain ground. The tactic worked in Lucs’ favour, as they kept Tigers pinned back with excellent defence in their half. Tigers were suffering a few injuries and took to the knee on a few occasions as the tackling was hard and tough with no quarter given by other side.
Eventually Lucs’ patience was starting to show and they gained the upper hand when loose ball allowed the combination of Frank Kelly and Will Burton to put Josh Watkins in for his second try of the afternoon in the corner; Louis Silver kicking an excellent conversion from the touch line.
The game was becoming even more stop-start with Tigers’ physio being the busiest person on the pitch attending knocks – the video clock at the end of the match registered 53 minutes for the second half!
Lucs were growing in confidence, and Frank Kelly’s try on the hour consolidated the home sides advantage when he finished off another flowing move across the backs following a good set piece. Louis Silver again converting from an acute angle. Logan Almond saw yellow for Tigers and they worked hard to get something out of the game by keeping Lucs deep in their 22 for long periods as the clock ticked down in what seemed a never ending 40 minutes. Not knowing how long was to go, Lucs set off on another foray into Tigers territory, and an excellent touch kick gave them the chance to set up another driving maul.
The Black and Whites worked back and forth in the Tigers’ red zone and got their reward, despite being down to 14 with Owien Harriott-Davis in the bin for an unfortunate high tackle. Tigers were penalised for the umpteenth time but this time, instead of taking another scrum, the quick thinking Seb Robinson spun a tap penalty out to Will Burton whose loop pass found Drew Cheshire in the clear to touch down in the corner. Johnny Morris added the conversion by aiming his kick at ninety degrees to the posts and allowing the wind to do the rest.
Full Time Score
Luctonians 26 v 7 Sheffield Tigers
Luctonians Man of the Match
Geoffers’ Star Man
Referee: Mr Charlie Gayther
Tries: Josh Watkins (25, 56), Frank Kelly (63), Drew Cheshire (79)
Convs: Louis Silver (57, 64), John Morris (80)
Sheffield Tigers Scorers
Try: Alan Symcox (29)
Conv: Mark Ireland (30)
Josh Watkins, John Morris, Drew Cheshire, Frank Kelly, Charlie Meredith, Will Burton, Louis Silver; Tom Furnival, Callum Young, Joe White, Owien Harriott-Davis, Conor Turner, Cameron Tawfik, Seb Robinson, Sam Jones
Ryan Smeilus, Connor Deignan, Ben Link, Max Hill, Owen Randell
Peter Swatkins, Rob Davidson, James Broadley, Joe Duffy, Henri Packard, Mark Ireland, Ryan Holmes; Luke Crofts, Sam Johnson, Ed Simmonds, Lee Orton, James Newman, William Wallace, Logan Almond, Alan Symcox
Louis Townsend, Will Bennett, Nicholas Bingham, Lee Monks, Thomas Farrell
Another fine win for the Black and Whites which sees them steadily move up the table and away from the relegation zone. Going up from 3rd bottom to 12th overall, moving Huddersfield and Otley below us with still Grasshoppers and Scunthorpe in the basement plots.
Next week Hull at home who sit just the one point and one place above us. All to play for so be sure to get down to Mortimer Park again next week, you won’t be disappointed, and the Boys need you to #MakeSomeNoise #BangThoseBoards
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