Broadstreet enjoyed a bumper weekend as the Easter break kicked off with 2 brilliant Broadstreet victories which could possibly make the 16/17 season one of the club’s most successful ever. The 1st XV, sat uncomfortably at the top of the table, had to travel to one of their closest league rivals, Peterborough Lions. Peterborough’s blistering form, having lost only once since November, had put them in contention for promotion and with Sheffield and Nuneaton hot on Broadstreet’s heels, nothing less than a bonus point victory would maintain the 2 point cushion at the top. Broadstreet Colts were in the final stages of their Warwickshire Cup defence and faced a strong Stratford side who had put 160 points on opposition in their last two games. The games were season defining for both the teams involved and it was an example of the character the players have shown when taking into consideration the shaky start both squads had at the start of the season.
The 1st XV kicked off the weekend in sensational fashion, with a blistering high tempo first half performance which put the game to bed before the referee had blown his whistle for half time. Despite conceding 3 points in the first minute due to a calamitous collection of the Kick off, Broadstreet never looked back and they responded emphatically with a confident display of touchline to touchline rugby which spread the Peterborough defence all over the pitch. Some excellent distribution from the half backs combined with the elusive running lines of the speedy outside backs produced some excellent rugby and more importantly vital tries.
Not to be out done, the link up play with the forwards was also very destructive and allowed the likes of Cameron Gray and Tony Worthington to stretch their giraffe legs in the sunshine and bag a number of tries for the pack too. At 38-3 at half time, the boys could be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas in the 2nd half, the damage was done and the spring sun was making the prospect of a cold victory pint more and more attractive. Nevertheless, Peterborough rallied and it was the solid defensive display at the end which earned Nick Thatcher another MotM award after he made a number of consecutive last ditch tackles which thwarted the Peterborough attack and kept them from scoring a single point after their 1st minute slip up.
Broadstreet Colts met Stratford in the final of the Warwickshire Cup at the BPA on Monday night. Playing last year predominantly as U17s, the majority of the side remained from last season where they all had vivid memories of Nuneaton scoring a last gasp try to level last season’s cup final which meant that the trophy had to be shared between the two clubs as champions. Though hardly a disappointment to be crowned joint champions of Warwickshire, it was clear that this season they had a point to prove and were determined to take the Cup back to Broadstreet as outright winners.
They got off to a quick start and the 1st half was dominated by Broadstreet territory and possession, unfortunately this dominance would not translate into points and the defending champions spoiled a number of opportunities, including knocking the ball on over the line twice! However, with only 5 to go in the half and after an age of sustained pressure in the Stratford 22 metre, an overlap was created and the unlikely recipient of a well weighted pass to the wing was prop/hooker Miles Fletcher who showed a great turn of pace to finish in the corner.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take Stratford anytime to respond and they were soon up in Broadstreet’s half where they managed to earn a penalty and take the 3 points just before half time.
To be so dominant and only holding a 2 point lead must have took the wind out of the Broadstreet sails as the 2nd half was a completely different match. Stratford came to the fore led brilliantly by their Inside Centre and captain, whose powerful running and mature vision produced some very difficult moments for Broadstreet which they seemed constantly scrambling to defend. Some loose kicking exasperated the issue and when Stratford finally scored their try it seemed that the tide had well and truly turned for the ‘Street boys and the match was slipping through their fingers.
Indeed with Stratford leading 10-5 they continued to pile on the pressure which led to a break down the wing from their own half with mere minutes of the match remaining. After beating a number of Broadstreet defenders it seemed like the game was over as the try-line beckoned for the Stratford player, however Broadstreet’s Captain James Richardson had corner-flagged and hit the attacker in a bone crunching tackle mere metres from the Broadstreet try line. The last gasp hit drove the Stratford player 5 yards sideways and into touch (an almost exact replica of Broadstreet’s 1st XV talisman Nick Thatcher’s try saving speciality we have seen many a time before in the National Leagues), and served as a rallying point for the rest of the team to regroup and launch their final assault.
It was the forwards who took hold of the responsibility, strong running from Liam O’Brien and Ben Ritchie made some hard yards for the team and as Stratford began to tire, Broadstreet took advantage of the penalties they were earning to kick to touch and utilise their stronger pack whose strength had been hindered all game by the awkward scrum rules for colts’ rugby. A catch and drive with in the Stratford half was excellently controlled and driven 25 metres towards the Stratford try line before mysteriously coming to an end. A 2nd catch and drive from the resultant penalty was also dubiously halted at the back of the maul and many of the Broadstreet faithful were calling for a penalty try! Surprisingly no penalty was given and Stratford took advantage to clear their lines, but did not attempt to reach touch which could possibly have ended the game.
The ball was kept alive and retuned back into the Stratford 22 where the tiring defence conceded another penalty about 15 metres from their own try line. After being informed that it was the last play of the game, ‘Street tapped the ball instead of utilising their dominant maul again. 1st half try scorer Miles Fletcher volunteered as first receiver and powered into the Stratford defensive line, first beating the initial tackle and then the second attempt too, now carrying a couple of defenders on his back the hooker continued to close in on the try line but was slowing as more Stratford players attempted to halt him.
No chance. Try scored! 10-10!
Finishing about 5 metres to the right of the posts, the responsibility fell to captain and try-stopper James Richardson to bag the conversion and prevent the awkward trophy-share antics which befell the team last season. Not the most difficult of kicks but despite the pressure he coolly slotted home the conversion to ensure the victory and a jubilant Broadstreet pitch invasion.
With a young 1st XV winning National 3 and a strong colts side winning the Warwickshire 2 years running, the future is bright. It’s Green, Red and White!!