Coach’s Talk – A Report from Steve Hazzelby

After a nine game unbeaten run it has been a disappointing two weeks for the Tigers. A narrow one point loss to Stourbridge the previous Saturday followed by a five point home loss to Hull on Saturday. This was always going to be a hard, physical encounter against a team who has the best defensive record in the league and who had only suffered one loss to a very powerful Rotherham team.

We started the game really strongly, playing the game in their half and trying to keep them pinned down. A penalty deep within their 22 gave us our first score, from hooker Matt Gallagher, after a lovely catch and drive from the forwards. This was followed nine minutes later with a score for No. 8 Tom Ailes, after patient phase play build up from the forwards and backs combined. Steve Collins added the conversion and we were now 12-0 up within the first fifteen minutes.

However, Hull came back very strongly and were awarded their first score of the afternoon on twenty minutes with a touchdown out wide on the right. This was followed shortly afterwards with their second after a sweeping move across their backline after pressure from their powerful forwards. The conversion was good and the teams went into the half time break 12-12.

The interval gave us the chance to re-focus and hopefully start with a big push in the second half. However, it was Hull who went into the lead with a well taken drop goal from their fly half, after a great drive from their forwards. 12-15 up. It is fair to say that the away team were dominant at this point in the game, winning most of the scrums and territorially on top. They further extended their lead with their third try, after another catch and drive from the forwards, to put them in the ascendancy 12-22 going into the last fifteen minutes. The boys responded well, however, and a lovely try from full back Andy Riley wide out on the right put us back in the game 17-22.

We gave our best in the later stages of the game and had a chance to probably win the game but it was Hull who deservedly won and took the points. We did get one losing bonus point but it was a frustrating time for the players. We know that we did not play to our potential and that our performance was not good enough on the day. Despite this, spirits remain high and two narrow losses against two top sides do not make us a bad team. We are now fourth in the league, 2 points behind Hull and 6 points behind Stourbridge.

On Saturday we are on the road away at local rivals Chester. They have had a mixed start to the season with five wins and five losses but we are taking nothing for granted. We will train well this week, ready for the challenge and hopefully get back to winning ways. Please make the short trip over to Chester and support your Tigers team.