Determined Beavers grab deserved win against strong Old Laurentians RFC second string!
On a bright and sunny November afternoon Broadstreet 3rd XV welcomed old Laurent's 2nd XV to Ivor Preece field for the highly anticipated top-of-the table Warwickshire 1 clash. In what could be the defining point in the season, the Beavers grew in stature and turned in a magnificent performance that earned them 4 well-deserved points and put some distance at the top of the league between them and Old Laurent’s as we approach the half-way point in the season.
Skipper Chris “Lopez” Harrison had deliberately played down the game's importance in the pre-match build-up, but it was impossible not to sense the tension and nervous optimism amongst the boys. There were a number of individual confrontations that needed to be handled calmly and collectively as a team, and that's exactly what Street did....eventually! However the start didn’t go exactly to plan - Street set a great tempo with Aidy Jones and Jamie Richardson both scoring in quick succession but both were harshly disallowed. Old Laurentians RFC are a strong side and you wondered these decisions would be our undoing. Indeed, things got worse as Street failed to turn all their early possession into points, and nervous indecision out wide led us to concede first against the run of play. Broadstreet 0 – Old Laurentians RFC 5. A converted penalty followed, and then Jon “Rodney” Beale’s half-arsed clearance kick allowed Old Laurentians RFC in for their 2nd try. The conversion was successful and suddenly the score-line looked decidedly gloomy. Broadstreet 0 – Old Laurentians RFC 15.
The Beaver's experienced back-line have been in great form all season, and Steve Allen, playing at fly-half instead of centre, dropped 2 restart kicks right down the OL hookers' throat which gave Loper 2 perfect opportunities to well and truly clatter him, which he took with gusto! Moments like these lift a side, and as Street had never really been out of the game, we were confident that the scores would come in time. And come they did....Street forwards rucked superbly all day, which gave Lyddy (seeing stars for the 1st 40 minutes!) the perfect platform to dart through to score his first of 2 typically, predatory tries in quick succession, punctuated only by an OL penalty. Broadstreet 10 – Old Laurentians RFC 18.
The Beavers welcomed back Ashley “Ratty” Lighthowler, playing his first game back after a bout of pneumonia. Ratty had told me he was 80% match-fit on Friday, and if that’s the case I shudder to think how well he’ll be playing when he’s fully fit. As the first-half came to a close Street managed to bring themselves well and truly back into contention. Danny Rowstron broke from a ruck, and off-loaded to Lyddy who drew 2 men before passing to Ratty who out-paced several defenders after coming into the line at pace from full-back.
We had talked before the game about how costly a yellow card can be in games this close, as Old Laurentians RFC had found out towards the end of the 1st half when one of their forwards was yellow-carded for persistent handling on the floor. It seemed inevitable that the second-half was going to be painfully close, and it was perhaps inevitable that a few niggles began to creep in, and I’m sure Old Laurentians RFC will be cursing the fact that they failed to convert one of the 3 kickable penalties they were awarded in the 2nd half.
Led by the formidable centre partnership of Rowstron and Crawford, Street’s defence was excellent throughout, and Street old-boy Ben Shepherd was given very few opportunities to go on one of his infamous bull-dozing runs. Jamie Richardson, who had another great game at tighthead prop, had to go off with a cut to the head, and was replaced by Downesy, and Mike Bednell was forced to leave the field with a pulled hamstring, however we were fortunate enough to bring on back-row Rich Chaplin in his place.
Street’s match-winning breakthrough came with 15 minutes to go - centre Stu Crawford sneaking an impressive interception try. It was then down to us to hold on for a great victory against a strong Old Laurentians RFC second team, which we did valiantly.
Difficult to pick one person this week. Ratty had an awesome game at full-back. Staystrong was on form and Lyddy was very busy as usual. Chappy was a powerhouse in the 2nd half however joint Man of the Match this week goes to Danny Rowstron & Stu Crawford.....when we needed them most they were superb.
Easy. He wasn’t the only person to clear their lines with a panicked kick, however as he’s a forward there can be no excuse for Jon “Rodders” Beale, especially as his spooned kick led to Old Laurentians RFC 2nd try (I wonder whether he has been taking kicking lessons from Danny “Banana Boots” Rowstron?). Loper was however also in the running for his staged dive, when he was complaining about being poked in the eye....however once again everyone ignored him!
1.Aidy Jones, 2. John Brown, 3. Jamie Richardson, 4. Mike Bednell, 5. Trevor Court, 6. Jon Beale, 7. Colm Berry, 8. Chris Harrison (c), 9. Paul Lydster, 10. Steve Allen, 11. Youssef Hussain, 12. Stu Crawford, 13. Danny Rowstron, 14. Steve Devoy, 15. Ashley Lighthowler
16. Rich Chaplin, 17. James Downes, 18. Mark Atkinson, 19. Nigel Deakin, 20. Chris price
Paul Lydster (2), Ratty (1), Stu Crawford (1)