Broadstreet Rugby Football Club travelled for the second time this season to Kingston-Upon-Hull; this time to Brantingham Park, the home of league leaders, Hull Ionians RFC, and the much-improved visitors further evidenced their ability to compete with the best in going down 26 – 10 in a fine contest, that only tipped the home team’s way in the last quarter; and only then through two questionable five metre push-over tries writes Bob Harcourt.
Playing with a gale-force wind in the first half ‘Street created opportunities to build a healthy lead before the turn round but less than clinical execution and a stout Ionian’s defence restricted the score to 5 – 5, at the break. A 50 metre Ben Palmer penalty kick in the opening minutes was not that far off target, but it was Ionians who broke the end to end stalemate with a fine individual break by fly half Ben Smith which kicker Chris Reakes was unable to improve upon, 5 – 0. It did not take long for the visitors to cancel that out when prop Henry Sandys crashed over after sustained pressure; Palmer also missed his conversion 5 – 5. Twice, during sorties out of defence, Street broke clear through Andy Murray and Jacques Le Roux respectively and, although a long way out, the subsequent delivery of ill-timed passes saw interceptions prevent scoring opportunities. A tad more accuracy could have given the Warwickshire Boys the score cushion needed to face the gale awaiting them for the second half. Half Time: Hull Ionians 5 Broadstreet 5
Ionians re-started and on gathering, ‘Street showed that they were more than able to match home play by frequently going deep into the table-topper’s territory. Unforced errors allowed Ionians to work their way back onto the offensive from where they pushed over through a 5 metre forward drive, resulting in a try for number eight Danny Hague, well converted this time by centre Chris Reakes 12 – 5. ‘Street players were undaunted and laid siege in the home half for a prolonged period thereafter, but errors and that stout home defence ruled out further scoring.
Although scrum exchanges were certainly in Ionians favour overall, they were not totally dominant throughout; ‘Street having moments of ascendancy, however, after a series of ground gaining penalties given in favour of the home outfit, the I’s pack was twice able to demolish the visitor’s scrum resistance with two 5 metre push-over tries during the last 15 minutes, both grounded by replacement number eight, Alex Torkington and converted by Reakes; 26 - 5. Incensed, but certainly not deflated, ‘Street showed that they were not really pushovers by again bombarding Ionians in their own territory and were rewarded with a try by replacement hooker Gareth Turner on 78 minutes; Palmer was unable to convert leaving the score at 26 – 10 at ‘no side’.
Full Time: Hull Ionians 26 Broadstreet 10
Squad: Nick Thatcher; Jeff Gregson, Andy Murray, James Otutaha, Josh Palmer; Ben Palmer, Pierre Ferre; Henry Sandys, Stewart Pearl, Jake Dodd; Callum Tucker, Matthew Solomon; Jack Gibbons, Dan Martin, Jacques Le Roux. Joe Foreman, Gareth Turner, Chris Wood, Aaron Crofts, Ben Cooper.
Thought for the Game:
Mrs Freemantle asked: “How come it was easy to push us back from 5 metres out like that. It didn’t happen at most of the other scrums”? All I could say is that scrums at the top level are attracting controversy because unless the laws are always strictly adhered to and players are made to bind correctly and push straight, a huge advantage can be gained and; as with lifters blocking the lineout ball catcher preceding a drive, it is almost impossible to stop either without, similarly, employing illegal practices. “So, is that the answer for the players”, Retorted Mrs F? Well, it is not! But me thinks, that the Rugby League scrum is fast approaching, because, as a means of restarting play, Rugby Union is not getting it right. Safety was the rationale for change, but unless every scrum is completed legally, then video evidence will show where that has not been the case and; heaven forbid serious injury bringing it to a head, that will provide evidence of a lack of knowledge of improper engagement requirements or the ignoring of rectification. Referees are the sole judge of fact and law; but just look at how many (court) judges get it wrong!
[Views and opinions expressed are solely those of the writer – and sometimes, Mrs Freemantle]