Heatherns Too Strong
Small mistakes were punished
Leaving home at 9am and -1 showing on the car temperture guage i really was unsure if this game was going to happen and upon arriving at Heatherns ground I was even more in doubt as the ground was hard with some nasty footholes. However as the sun came up and after working the ground a bit prior to kick off the ref deemed the ground fit to play on and so did both sets of coaches.
Knowing how strong Heatherns forwards were and by far them having a bigger pack then us our game plan once again was to let our backs run and for us to keep the ball as far away form their forwards as possible, however Heatherns had other plans.......
The lads seemed up for this game even with the doubt of it going ahead so it was in our hands to win or lose this game but we knew it would be tough. From the start they kicked off and the ball did not go 10m as the wind was blowing a gale so we knew we could also use our kicking game which has improved over the season.
7 minutes in the wind helped us as Heatherns tried to exit their 22 only to land in the safe hands of Brad who ran strong from outside their 22 and made it accross the line to get us off the score card and to make it 0-5 to Warriors.
However only momments later Heatherns caught us napping and came back with a strong run from their forwards to equal the score 5-5. Some good runs from Dan and Fin were working well but we were being stopped over and over and then 6 minutes later they skipped through a couple of tackles and supported well to score over the line and make it 10-5. just inside our 22 Dara took an interception and ran the entire length of the pitch only to be brought down 7 meters from the line as unfortuatly he had no support with him and Heatherns regained the ball.
This time it was our turn to come back and with a great little kick from our backs Adam ran nicely onto the ball and was able to score and Dara kicked well to make it 10-12 at half time
Now my half time talk was similar to my starting talk, once again it was still in our hands to win this game but we have to do the basics well and make the right decisions at the right time in the right part of the park.
Unfortuantly straight from the kick off Heatherns ran at us and with some great defence from Ben Mc, Alfie and Fin we held them at bay for a while but the got a break and scored by the post for which their kicker converted 17-12 now and all to play for. some more good runs by both forwards and back and some great solid work by Robbie who was being frustrated by their 9 but typical Robbie he never gave up and for the smallest player by far on the pitch he once again showed the biggest heart. Heatherns made another break and we their forwards crashing the ball up the park they scored and once again this was converted to make it now 24-12 however we were not beaten and the lads really did try and come back. There was allot of great work from all the boys and some great runs by Tom, Mark, Dan and Fin and the backs linked up wth some great moves that they have been working on all season and this was now paying off. However Dara was not letting all the rest of the backs have all the fun. All season I ahve asked him to run with ball when there is a gap and not just offload it to his 12. At least today was the day he took that advice and received a good ball from Robbie just inside their half and jinked past 5 or 6 players and scored between the post to make his conversion a dead cert! By far one of the best runs of the day from either side closely followed by Brads earlier. Now it was 24-19 and 11 minutes to go with all to play for.
We started well but Heatherns put us under allot of presure and with a botched clearance in our 5 meter line heatherns picked it up and scored easily from it.
Final score Fareham Heatherns 29 Trojan Warriors 19
On paper Heatherns were the better side with by far a bigger pack, a Hampshire prop and they proved it on the day. I wish Heatherns all the very best for the Final and we look forward to seeing you next season as Colts/Academy
I said to the lads at the begining to have fun, be creative and try things new. They did all of this and some things did not pay off but the majority did and they excuted some great little chips, grubbers and high balls. Also some great linking between the backs and the forwards and as a whole a great team performance with no solo heroes and as a coach that is all I can ask for.
We may be out of fighting for a trophy but I know th elads will look forward to the next game and whatever they holds. These lads are really a great bunch of players and I cant wait until next season coahing them.
Obviously this season is not over yet so bring on the next game.
Once again well done lads you ahve a couple of proud coaches and lets keep working hard and having fun!