Cliché; the score does not reflect ‘Street’s contribution to their first home encounter of the season against ambitious high-flyers Hull Ionians RFC. Ending in a six to three try count, which included two scrum penalty awards to the visiting team and with a harsh yellow card award for a perceived deliberate knock-on by winger Jeff Gregson, Hull Ionians cashed in with a try either side of the break as ‘Street played a man down. With the score locked at five all approaching half way in this National League Two North encounter, it all turned sour for the hosts as the visitors raced away to 5 – 22 lead before ‘Street were restored to full strength; even then, further damage was to be inflicted through the two penalty tries that followed writes Bob Harcourt.
That said, Hull Ionians proved, as expected, to be a powerful well-organised outfit and were always the better equipped to continue their unbeaten start to the season; which is aimed at promotion back to National League One at the first opportunity. With outstanding number 8 Phil Eggleshaw; on loan from Championship side Doncaster Knights and a former Nottingham Rugby stalwart leading the fray; launching barnstorming runs resulting in his own 39th minute touch down and then setting up the running for centre Joe Barker to score just after the break he made a telling contribution to his side’s victory.
Ivor Preece Field Rugby Ground and after an equally bright start by ‘Street, both in attack and defence, it was I’s who drew first blood after nine minutes when speedy phase play put left wing Steve Slingsby in at the corner. Kicker Chris Reakes was unable to convert, 0 – 5. Play continued at a pace for the next 25 minutes, with ‘Street acquitting themselves well, until five minutes before the break when a good build up by ‘Street saw a perfectly weighted cross kick from fly half Ben Cooper find right wing Jeff Gregson out wide right; his inside pass then putting supporting centre Beau Carney through untouched ten metres from the touch-line. Cooper also failed to convert, 5 – 5. Then, there was that yellow card showing to Jeff Gregson, turning him from hero to villain in minutes when he attempted to intercept an attacking pass inside ‘Street’s 22 metre area. Hull took the scrum in front of the posts and that man Eggleshaw picked up at number 8 and bullocked his way to the line. Despite being pushed wide and pulled down short, he had the presence of mind and length of arm to stretch for the line for a telling individual score which Reakes was unable to convert, 5 – 10. On a sunny autumnal afternoon at the
Mrs Freemantle, [yes, she’s back!] Said, “He should have been tackled around the legs; in fact, all tackles should be round the legs”! [No wonder Todd’s gone to Dubai – but, in the circumstances, she’s right, you know]!
Half-Time: Broadstreet 5 Hull Ionians 10.
Hull sortie up-field, with Eggleshaw again involved, saw a wide-out, inside pass put centre Joe Barker in for an unconverted try for 5 – 15 after three minutes, with ‘Street still depleted. Full back Andy Murray pulled off a try saving tackle when Hull broke back from the kick-off into the home 22, only for ‘Street to be penalised following the lineout to give Ionians their own five metre penalty lineout; from which they executed a patiently well-organised catch and drive to bag a try through prop David Laverick, converted by Reakes taking their lead out to 5 – 22 with half an hour to play. The nails in the coffin were hammered home 12 and 26 minutes later, when from scrummages near the home line, referee Parrott awarded consecutive penalty tries, as front rows stood up/pushed up? – at least one, in fairness to the laws, should have been reset but, one could be forgiven for finding in favour of the attacking side – or would that be wrong to do? In any case, effectively, that was the end of the contest as I’s took a comfortable lead at 5 – 36 with just ten minutes remaining. In between these, Murray and replacement centre Tom Grimes combined to put ‘Street into the visitor’s 22 where a double knock on gave ‘Street an attacking scrummage, only to be forfeited when a ‘Street player attracted a penalty on questioning a visitor’s indiscretion, allowing the Yorkshire men to relieve the pressure with a kick down-field! With Ionians, on balance, deservedly looking home and dry, ‘Street salvaged a good deal of pride in running in two well taken tries in the last ten minutes. First, Cooper broke through from midfield and put centre Tom Grimes away into the Ionian’s 22 where he was high tackled, without redress, then the attack broke down when back row Danny Hague killed play and was correctly yellow carded. From the ensuing phase play replacement lock Aaron Crofts took an inside pass, broke tackles in front of the posts, and scored under the bar. Cooper converted to reduce the deficit to 12 – 36. Minutes later from a determined attack in the Ionians half Andy Murray, now deputising at scrum half, ducked through close to the scrum and found captain and open-side flanker Jamie Harrop on his shoulder giving him an almost untouched passage from 15 metres out, for a second, Cooper converted, try.On resumption of play, a
Final Score: Broadstreet 19 – Hull Ionians 36.
Squad: Andy Murray; Jeff Gregson, Nathan Tilsley, Beau Carney, Ashley Elvers; Ben Cooper, Nick Thatcher; Ben Dawes, Stewart Pearl, Rob Dugard; Callum Tucker, Matthew Solomon; Gareth Turner, Jamie Harrop (Captain), Chris Wood. Mike Worthington, Joe Foreman, Aaron Crofts, Chris Zutic, Tom Grimes.
‘Thought for the Game’
Given several un-punished incidents of overt foul play, pulling down in the lineout, head-high tackles and cynical killing of the ball in defence (penalty only awarded), one could be forgiven for questioning the overall effectiveness of employing a team of three with so much being missed [we didn’t have the pleasure of such in previous seasons] and also; how an instinctive, unpremeditated attempted interception of a ball ranks yellow, when all the other far more “deliberate” offences, do not? It highlights a total disparity of punishment meted out for this particular action. In fact, it assumes a presumption of ‘mens rea’ by the referee (except where there is an indisputable downward slap), which surely elevates them to the level of mind reader! If the player had caught the ball before it hit the ground would he still be penalised? (Yes, I know Sir is the sole judge of fact and law, but how else are we to gain consistency if the likes of Cockerill [and me] aren’t allowed to gripe (sorry, I mean comment)?!