Normans v Emerald Warriors
Saturday March 11th
Our squad numbered 23 as we began our warm-up in the Kilkenny sunshine, with conditions much more favourable than the last time we set foot on that pitch. Unfortunately, Wilco suffered a knee injury which put him out of the game, here’s hoping he recovers well, his impact was missed on the pitch!
We kicked off to Normans, and the game was under way, with our first tackles making a big impact, these were a big side. The Warriors played hard from the first minute, but so did the Normans, landing some high tackles which saw them penalised close to their try line, allowing us to put the first three points on the board with a spot-on penalty kick from Noel.
In attacking lineouts, Normans favoured a maul, which worked well for them against our lighter pack, and eventually set them up to get the first try of the game. Soon after, one of their players was handed a yellow card, however we were soon matched, and then we were down to 13 men as we got two yellow cards within 4 minutes of each other. We were playing hard and fast, but our lack of discipline (and knowledge of the rules) was letting us down. This deficit allowed Normans to get a second try through, which they converted.
Half time saw us 3 points to Normans 12. But there was no way this game was over for us. Second half we took the ball in hard and played good rugby, and we were gunning to score, which we did after a huge team effort, with Brian putting the ball over the line, and converted by Noel to bring us to 10 points.
Several times Normans sought to break through our lines, but our defence was both fluid when it needed to be, and solid as a rock, stopping even their biggest players from charging through. We kicked over the top into the space they left open, and capitalised on our speed to close off the ground they tried to make back.
Overall, it was a better game from us, and another step up from our previous game, we are continually improving. There were times when we could have scored, but something held us back. We could have won that game, we were the fitter team, but lack of experience was against us. But, taking everything into account (including the ref), you did yourselves proud, playing your best until the final whistle. We kept it up for the entire game, never slacking off. Fair dues to Jay & Sean for their first games!
Mention goes out to Gary who did a commendable job out-of-position at scrum half, and the back line who ran some impressive lines and made some great tackles, taking down larger players with gusto. Our lineouts were on point, well communicated and thought out, Martin stepping into the pack leader role with confidence. We won all of our own ball, and stole a couple too, but I know we will benefit from some defensive mauling practice. Man of the match for the game was Noel who made some outstanding kicks, put two balls between the posts, and led a strong back line both in attack and defence.
EWRFC Team: Richie Fagan, Mark Mulligan, Stephen Carroll, Marcus Connolly, Colin Graham, Simon Ò Murchù, Wilco Froneman, Martin Flannery, Gary Lynch, Noel Noblett, Ryan Burke, Oran Sweeney, Alfonso Bonilla, Ioan Hughes, Sam Whelan-Curtin, Conor Noble, Jack Heyssel, Danni Ogilvy, Brian Healy, Brendan Culleton, David O Guzman V, Sean Clinton, Jay Newton
Final Score Normans 26 – 10 EWRFC