Coach’s Talk – A Report from Steve Hazzelby

Last Saturday we were at home to Loughborough Students, a team who we had beaten quite convincingly back in December. A very fit, young team who like to play wide open rugby at every opportunity. They had a great win against Wharfedale the previous week and came to Park Lane with a strong team hoping to cause an upset.

We started the game well, playing the game in their half, keeping possession and varying play left and right, stretching their defences. A scrum on their 40 metre line saw us move the ball left, with centre Oli Glasse breaking the line to feed Full Back, Andy Riley, who touched down. Steve Collins added the conversion and we were up 7-0 after six minutes. The second score came shortly after and started deep within our 22. The ball was moved swiftly to the left, went through three pair of hands to left winger Jamie Harrison who outstripped the covering defence to score an 80 metre try. Steve again added the conversion and we were now 14-0 up after ten minutes and looking in control of the game.

Another break out from within our 22 saw right winger Rhys Henderson run 75 metres and off load out of the tackle to hooker Matt Gallagher who touched down and stretch the lead to 19-0. It looked as if this was going to be a big score, the way the Tigers were playing, but Loughborough is a team who never give up and always come back at you. From a scrum in our half they went through three phases and fed the ball to their left winger who touched down in the corner. They followed this seven minutes later with a powerful catch and drive by their forwards to score a converted try in the right hand corner. This put them right back in the game 19-12 going into half time.

The second half started much the same as the first with us taking the play to Loughborough at every opportunity. Our fourth, bonus point, try came from skipper Matt Riley, who crashed over after multiple phases in their 22. A penalty five minutes later by Steve Collins gave us a 27-12 lead going into the last twenty minutes. We should have then gone on and scored more points but the game became very disjointed, after we seemed to give a number of penalties away, which enabled the students to gain territory and possession. They scored their third try after 74 minutes after a handling error by the Tigers saw them capatilize and score to reduce the lead to 27-19 with five minutes to go.

The game ended with that score which was a bit frustrating, as we felt that we could have scored more points. However Loughborough put in a good performance and deserve the credit. The five point win keeps us in joint second place with Rotherham who were awarded a five point win after Harrogate could not field a team. Hull remain at the top after they narrowly beat Fylde 28-26 in the dying moments of their game. This Saturday we are away to Huddersfield, a team we beat convincingly a few weeks ago but we know that this will be a big challenge at their ground and will have to put in a big performance to get the points.

Cheers, Hazz