Coach’s Talk – A Report from Steve Hazzelby

Last Saturday was our tenth encounter of the campaign, with a home game against old rivals Tynedale. This was a special charity day for SicKids and our captain Matt Riley’s 400th league game. An unbelievable achievement and one which may never be beaten. Spirits were high after the win over Fylde the week before and we were looking to extend the unbeaten run with a top performance.

Tynedale were lying in mid table, with five wins and four losses, but we knew that this would be a hard game against a very big, well organised team. We started the game very strongly playing good rugby in the Tynedale half and scored our first try for centre, Oli Glasse, who touched down in the bottom left hand corner, after a powerful line break by Beltus Nonleh. Steve Collins added the difficult conversion and we were 7-0 up after nine minutes.

We extended the lead four minutes later with try for Steve himself, who latched on to a powerful catch and drive from the forwards. Tynedale are a team who like to play open rugby and hit back almost immediately with a converted try after a sharp passage of play in our 22. We continued to put the pressure on the Tynedale defences at every opportunity and scored our third try for full back Andy Riley, who touched down in the bottom left hand corner after excellent hands along the line. Steve Added the conversion and we were now 19-7 up going into the last fifteen minutes of the half.

We pushed hard to get the fourth and bonus point try before the interval and this was to go to captain Matt Riley, who crashed over after a wonderful 50 metre line break by right winger Billy Kutchera. Steve added his third conversion and we went into half time 26-7 in the lead and looking to build a big score.

Rugby, like other team sports is a game of two halves, and so this turned out to be. Tynedale started the second half strongly with a strong scrum and accurate line out and kept us pinned down in our half, after we gave away a number of penalties. They scored their second try after 54 minutes with a well worked, converted try in the left hand corner to reduce the lead to 26-14. We came back with our fifth score of the afternoon for hooker Corbin Thunder, who broke through three tackles to score under the posts. Steve converted and we went further ahead 33-14.

However the rest of the half was very frustrating, as we were penalised time after time, and this allowed the visitors to gain territory and possession and pressure our line. A penalty into the corner saw their big forwards catch and drive to score their third try and reduce the lead to 33-21 with ten minutes to go. We defended really well to keep them out but could not get any momentum or continuity because of the penalty count. They scored their fourth try after 75 minutes after their left winger gathered a chip kick from us and raced forty metres to score. They added the conversion and an upset looked on the cards but we were able to see the game out and take the win 33-28 and maintain the unbeaten run.

We have to learn from this close encounter and make sure we play for 80 minutes if we want to challenge for promotion at the end of the season. Despite this, the effort and commitment of the players is unquestionable and a special mention to flanker George Bordhill, who put in a top performance after coming back from injury. Next Saturday there is no game and this gives the players a welcome break and a chance to recuperate before we have a difficult away game against Huddersfield on the 26th.



You can find photographs from the game on Dave Morton’s Flickr Page HERE, as well as the Colts Game v Heaton Moor, HERE.

All Dave’s SP Pictures for this season, can be found HERE

You can also see Glen Hutton’s Pictures on his Facebook Page HERE

Thanks to both for their regular contributions.