Coach’s Talk – A report from Steve Hazzelby

Last Saturday we were playing our 13th game of the season at home to Tynedale. Recent results had gone the way of the opposition who saw themselves as our bogey team winning the last four games. They had a mixed start to the campaign and were lying mid table. Conditions on the day were atrocious with a gale force wind, driving rain and standing surface water putting the actual playing of the game in doubt.

We played up the slope into driving rain in the first half which should have made handling a bit of a lottery. Despite this, our first score was excellent, as winger Jamie Harrison came into the back line, outstripped the cover defence and touched down on the right. Converting the try was impossible in the conditions but we were now up 5-0 after five minutes. Our attack was phenomenal considering the weather and we were rewarded with a second score after skipper Matt Riley burst through the Tynedale defence. This was followed six minutes later for a third try for right  winger Rhys Henderson after lovely hands from prop Ben Black and Steve Collins putting us up 15-0 going into last twenty minutes of the half.

It has to said that the performance in this first half was nothing more than unbelievable considering the conditions. Our set piece scrum was solid and the line out accurate. Our kicking for territory out of hand from Steve Collins and Matt Riley was inspirational, keeping Tynedale pinned back in their half. Our fourth, bonus point, try came from top scorer Matt Gallagher, after a powerful catch and drive from the forwards. A fifth score of the half followed, for Steve Collins, after a beautiful show and go. 29-0  up after an almost perfect first half performance.

Conditions continued to get worse as we went into the second half, but from the kick off full back Andy Riley collected a high ball forty metres out broke through to beat four defenders and  touched down near the posts. Tynedale did get on the scoreboard late into the half but the damage had been done in the first half and we finished with a second try for winger Rhys Henderson to bring the final score to 41-7.

A well deserved five point win and back to the top of the table. It is hard to describe how good this was performance was considering the awful weather. Every player had given their all and, once again, a man of the match display from Steve (piggy) Collins.

Next Saturday we are on the road again at Loughborough Students who are currently 7th in the league. A difficult game against a well organised side. Again a top performance is required if we want to keep up this momentum going into the last two games before Christmas, but this a very special group of players who have the ability to beat any team in this league on their day.