Emerald Warriors V MU Barnhall
Saturday 31st October 2015, 2pm
There will be a fair few sore bodies today, and there were some very exhausted players walking off the pitch on Saturday. This is due to the fact that every single player gave 100% in the game, from the first minute to the last, despite an impending loss. We continuously carried the ball into contact, and put in strong tackles. A big pat on the back to you all (ouch not too hard)
From the first whistle, receiving the ball in the kick-off, we attacked hard and fast and, after winning a penalty, found ourselves in the oppositions 22 area with a lineout. It took Barnhall a few minutes to catch up with our pace, they were not expecting it at all. Under pressure, they conceded penalties, and we kicked for touch. A couple of these kicks failed to make touch, which is something we need to work on, both in kicking skill and distance, and practicing other options from winning penalties. We conceded a couple of penalties ourselves, and we lost possession on a few occasions when we brought the ball too high and in front of us as we went into contact, allowing ourselves to be held up in the tackles, or losing the ball in the ruck.
As planned, our lineouts in their 22 were brought into a maul, however the opposition were able to form defence quickly and drive us into touch a couple of times. The jumping and formation was excellent, however our throwing needs more practice and consistency.
Barnhall scored their tries mostly by sucking us into one area, and capitalising on the space that was left out on the sides, keeping the ball close off the ruck a couple of phases, then moving out wide where we had failed to spread our defence. Our eyes were on the ball, and not on their next attack. Our eyes need to be up and seeing where their players are moving to. Several times we had to use the Damo call. However our ‘Hold’ and ‘Break’ calls worked very well. We had to defend our own try-line and did so admirably, they knocked a few times, they didn’t get in, and had to move the ball out wide.
In the second half, Barnhall capitalised on the space they created by sucking us in, and scored most of their tries as our exhaustion took its toll. We also had Brian Healy taken off after a yellow card was issued when he landed in some punches to an already dispelled confrontation. There is a time and a place for aggression on the pitch, and Barnhall capitalised on the extra man advantage they obtained.
Man of the match is Stephen Carroll. His first game playing rugby and he was consistent in the lineout and aggressive in the attack. I would also like to commend Martin Flannery who played a really good first game of rugby while simultaneously turning 28 years old. And a big shout out goes to Andrew Spelman, Gary Murphy and Césaire Bwaah for their first games, and putting in solid try-stopping tackles, even on the wing, and that is no easy task.
We were missing some key players due to injury and fancy holidays, but well done to Joe Ward and Gary Lynch who played out of position and performed very well under pressure.
Overall, as I said after the game, I was both very impressed and very proud of the way we performed. Yes, you may look at the scoreline, and look back at me with raised eyebrows, searching for signs of concussion. But 11 of our starting 15 had not played rugby before. Our opposition was skilled and experienced, some very much so. In the game we lacked experience, skill and fitness. These will come to us with time, effort, training and practice.
We had a lot of aggression, fire and determination. It was fantastic to see that right away, making this game, for me, our best game yet, and a big step for the team, and every player.
Final score EWRFC 0-89 MU Barnhall
Next game the 7th November!
Warriors Team: Simon Murphy, Brian Healy, Marcus Connolly, Gary Lynch, Noel Noblett, Robert Clancy, Martin Flannery, Philip Brereton, Conor Noble, Farzan Safavi, Daniel McFadden, Colin Graham, Joseph Ward, Michael Standen, Gary Murphy, Andrew Spelman, Césaire Bwaah, Stephen Carroll, David McGinley, Robert Medina, Lee Martin, Stephen Walsh.