Broadstreet Rugby Football Club fought through this home rematch against Preston Grasshoppers RFC to come out on top by 23 points to 14 after losing convincingly away to the Lancastrians earlier in the season. This result was important to both clubs; lying tenth and eleventh respectively, in climbing closer to mid-table safety. Preston certainly played with an awareness of the situation and it showed in their urgency and intensity of play. ‘Street, who always looked too laid back for comfort, seemed guilty of assumption in not showing quite the same urgency. As it was, the Rugby Road Boys held enough weaponry to pull through, but not before the individual brilliance of a 66th minute try from Andy Murray, following his move to scrum half from his starting position of full back. Murray broke from a ruck just inside the Preston half and danced past a host of defenders in weaving forty metres to score untouched under the posts. Ben Palmer converted to give ‘Street a little daylight at 20 – 14 after a nip and tuck hour of play had seen the lead change hands six times. Palmer slotted his third penalty kick of the day twelve minutes later to create the desired two score cushion at 23 - 14.
In the first forty minutes both sides enjoyed their moments, but Preston fed regularly off ‘Street’s wayward and, at times, indiscriminate kicking; involving an assortment of personnel, thereby giving the grateful visitors far too many dangerous counter-attacking opportunities. ‘Hopper’s Lewis Allen opened the scoring after three minutes with a 21 metre penalty kick 0 – 3 and Ben Palmer replied similarly seven minutes later 3 – 3. Three more minutes and Allen made it 3 – 6 before the close of the first quarter. Thereafter, Ben Palmer picked up a blood injury to be replaced by Nathan Tilsley, going to centre in a reshuffle. The second quarter became littered with mistakes and poor kicks and it wasn’t until ten minutes before half-time that ‘Street pulled themselves together to; firstly, grab a try through prop Jake Dodd, after a great kick and chase from left winger Josh Palmer had forced an attacking lineout twenty metres out from Preston’s line; following a drive and a series of pick and go, the bulky tight-head dived over. Ben Palmer added the extras, 10 – 6. Then, secondly, ‘Street scored what appeared to be a well-taken try, finished by scrum half Nick Thatcher with a minute remaining to half time, after a great break by lock Callum Tucker, but having awarded the try, the referee changed his mind and ordered a Preston scrummage on halfway.
Half Time: Broadstreet 10 Preston Grasshoppers 6.
The second half did not start well for ‘Street when one of many poorly executed kicks saw Preston gain good territory and eventually win a kick chase for an unconverted try wide right by that man Lewis Allen on sixty minutes which, when added to his successful kicks, chalked all of Preston’s fourteen points up to their useful right wing threequarter. ‘Street lost Thatcher to a yellow shortly moments later, as he infringed on his own line after another poor kick had allowed Preston to progress from their half. Allen bagged the resulting penalty to retake the lead at 13 – 14. Four minutes later Preston’s lock, Reece Tomlinson, was yellow carded for foul play allowing ‘Street to relieve pressure with a kick to half way. From resultant play, Magic Murray made his break and cut the defence to pieces with his ace of a try from forty metres out! 20 – 14. Palmer added the conversion and a much needed and well-earned penalty, when Preston offended as ‘Street piled on late pressure with eight minutes remaining. 23 – 14 and, a final flourish saw Ben Palmer break the ‘Hopper’s defence and from his grubber behind the last line of cover, the ball was taken over the line by a defender. Over-eager, ‘Street lost the ball following at the five metre scrum, allowing Preston to clear up-field and when the ‘Hoppers won a lineout ten metres from the home line, replacement lock, Aaron Crofts stole a second lineout throw to allow ‘Street to similarly clear the danger.
Final Score: Broadstreet 23 Preston Grasshoppers 14.
Mrs Freemantle groaned a sigh of relief at the end saying, “I thought I was watching Coventry City seeing all those wayward kicks! We just gave them chance after chance to attack as a result of unnecessary kicking. Too much bloody turkey or what”?
Squad: Andy Murray; Jefferey Gregson, James Otutaha, Luke Myring, Josh Palmer; Ben Palmer, Nick Thatcher; 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, Nathan Tilsley.
Thought for the Game:
Kicking has its place but not as a first or indiscriminate option. If one needs to kick, it has to be tactical and safe or good enough to allow a fifty chance of recovery; not because a kicker can’t think of what else to do with the ball! Any kick lacking clinical execution is suicidal, particularly if the chase is poor or non-existent! Possession is precious – don’t kick it away!