Coach’s Talk – A Report from Steve Hazzelby

On Saturday we played our fifth game of the season against a very strong Hull Ionians team. They had started their season well with good wins against top teams Rotherham and Wharefdale and only lost narrowly the week before to Fylde in the last kick of the game. This was the hardest challenge for us so far and we knew that nothing but a top performance was needed if we were to keep our unbeaten run.

We had prepared well in training, spirits were high and everyone was up for the challenge. We started really well with a solid scrum set piece and accurate line out which gave us the platform to launch our attacking options and test the Hull defences. Our first score came after 14 minutes for centre Oli Glasse who gathered a great chip ahead from winger Rhys Henderson and touched down in the top right hand corner. Steve Collins added the difficult conversion and we were 7-0 up and playing some lovely rugby.

Our second score came for Rhys himself who latched onto a great off load from No 8 Tom Ailes to race forty five metres and touch down in the right hand corner. 12-0 up going into the last fifteen minutes of the half. Hull to their credit came back with a good try of their own after some powerful runs by their forwards in midfield to reduce the lead to 12-7. We were awarded a penalty right on the half time whistle which Steve converted to give us a 15-7 lead at the interval.

We probably should have scored more points in the first half when you look how much possession we had and the number of line breaks that we created. Also we gave away a number of unnecessary penalties which enabled Hull to relieve pressure and gain territory.

The second half started well for the away team with a penalty which reduced the lead to 15-10 and their tails up. They took the play to the Tigers at every opportunity and it was only our resolute defence which kept them out. Time after time they launched powerful attacks but were unable to break us down. We did have a few chances to increase the lead but were not accurate enough in our execution.

Finally, we were awarded a penalty in the last play of the game which Steve converted to give us an 18-10 victory and a four point win. Hull would have been very disappointed with not coming away with at least a losing bonus point, which they probably deserved, but all credit to the Tigers who have now gone unbeaten in their first five games, two points behind leaders Fylde.

There is no game this coming Saturday as the league has an October break and gives all teams and players a well deserved rest and the time needed to recover and rehabilitate. Our next game is on Saturday 15th with a long away trip to Blaydon in the North East. This has been a really positive start to the campaign and we are looking forward to the next run of games leading up to Xmas.

Cheers, Hazz

Dave Morton has taken some great photos of the game against Hull Ionians and these can be found HERE.
Also, Glen Hutton has taken his usual photos and these can be found on his facebook page HERE, despite him missing the first half due to battery failure!!