Coach’s Talk – A Report from Steve Hazzelby

What a start to the new season with 3 wins and a draw in the first four games to end September with 17 league points and just 2 points behind leaders Fylde.
Last Saturday we were on the road to play old rivals Sheffield Tigers. They have had a mixed start to the season with one win and two losses, but this is always a difficult place to go and get the win. We started the game well playing down the slope and after a good lineout and forward drive, No 8 Tom Ailes drove over for the first score converted by Steve Collins. 7-0 up in the first five minutes. Sheffield to their credit kept taking the game to us and from a scrum on our 40 metre line moved the ball wide to the left to score a converted try to level the scores 7-7. Unforced errors and unnecessary penalties on our part gave ground and possession to Sheffield and they took the lead with a penalty on 12 minutes followed by another eight minutes later to go into the last 20 minutes of the half with a 7-13 lead. Sheffield continued to put pressure on the Sedgley team with good driving play from their forwards but our defence was sound. Unfortunately we lost hooker Matt Gallagher at this point but replacement Manny Effion gave us a good boost and from a lineout in the Sheffield 22 followed by a good forward drive we were able to move the ball wide to give winger Sam Lowthion a good try on the right. Sheffield got another penalty and the half finished 12-16 to the home team.
We started the second half well with a penalty from the kick off converted by Steve to bring us back to within one point 15-16. We continued to play wide, expansive rugby and full back Andy Riley at every opportunity pierced their defensive line. After another line out within their 22 and after patient phase play from our forwards, hooker Manny drove over for a debut try converted by Steve to put us back in the lead 22-16 after 50 minutes.
We extended the lead eight minutes later with a great penalty 40 metres out from Steve. 25-16 in the lead going into the last 20 minutes. Unfortunately injuries to second row Connor James and prop Andy Curtis did not help but all the lads who came off the bench gave us the energy to continue to play fast, dynamic rugby. Taking play into the Sheffield half with direct, patient possession saw the ball moved wide to right winger Rhys Henderson who beat three defenders to score in the corner. Steve added the conversion and the game finished 32-16 to the boys and another 5 league points. It is fair to say that this was not a flowing game of rugby unfortunately punctuated by errors and penalties from both sides but the fitness and the sheer hard work by the Sedgley players was wonderful and the win was well deserved.
This Saturday we entertain new team Bournville to Park Lane in what should be a great game. They have started well with three wins and one loss so this is going to be another big test for the boys. Please come down and support the boys, enjoy the afternoon and the after match entertainment.
Cheers, Hazz