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Match Report - U16s V Houghton 12/11/17

Heads held High as U16’s Denied Cup Progression

The U-16’s BARUFC came away from their Cup game with Houghton on Sunday 12th November with their heads high above the parapet after loosing by a single 3-point penalty.

Travelling to Houghton, a team that traditionally they have struggled against, the U-16’s wanted to put on a performance that showed rugby at its best with progression to the next stage. They certainly did the former, but unfortunately did not achieve the latter, loosing the game by a single penalty after both teams scored two converted tries.

Playing under clear skies with a strong breeze blowing down the field, Bishop kicked off with the wind at their backs. With a real sense of passion after Redfern lofted the initial drop goal, Haughton formed a maul that developed in to a ruck. Driving through his opposing guardsmen, Wiffen J., was able to create a turnover ball that resulted in a steady drive to the line, and produced a line out in Bishop’s favor. This first line out, Barker W., was hoisted wonderfully, who caught and threw off the top to Redfern. Using the line Grey J., and Kitching E., were able to make some ground but were held up 2m from the line. Then followed some indiscipline and a little panic in trying to clear up and push in to third and fourth phase play. To give credit Haughton were exceptionally quick to close the gap between the back lines and put tremendous pressure on the players forcing slower, under pressure passes to be made that went to ground too often.

The first twenty minutes were all Bishop attacking in Houghton’s half and mostly in the 22m area. The set piece scrum was not as tight as seen before, mainly due to strong drives from the opposition, creating sloppy ball, which was difficult to then convert into structured attacks. However, this was well compensated for in open play when the pack was very dominant at the breakdown. When Bishop had possession and were driving forward their third and fourth phase play was excellent. Barnes R., Rider E., and Watson L., made their presence knwn to the opposing pack. Minns M., and Skinner O., worked very hard in guarding rucks and binding and driving when mauls were formed.

The first try came from Haughton putting pressure on the Bishop scrum. Using a strong drive against a Bishop put in, Bishop’s pack were eased back, the ball got tangled and popped out of the side of the scrum. The Haughton number 9 saw his opportunity and was able to flick an inside pass to his 10, who sprinted and scored a try that was converted.

The players heads did not drop. Responding immediately the two wingers Smith M., and Tobin F., were able to join the attack. Woodward J., nipped forward with the ball and passed to Redfern. With some nifty, creative play the stand-off attempted to cut inside through the pack, but was caught. Strong rucking forced an error from Haughton giving Bishop a penalty just right of the posts some 24m out. Redfern elected to kick for goal. At that moment a large flock of Rooks produced a lovely ariel display, but unfortunately Redfern’s kick drifted wide of the left hand upright.  With the half ending Bishop had demonstrated that they were equal to this opposition and were unfortunate not to be ahead or on an even footing.

At the start of the second half Houghton put together a very strong attack requiring Skinner and Barnes to hold up 2m short of their line. The ball spilled in the tackle and Thrower at 15, adding muscle to the defensive line, responded faster than Haughton, picked up the ball, saw a gap and sprinted through. Using his pace and strength Haughton were unable to catch the full back, and after sprinting the full length of the field was able to score a try under the posts that Grey converted.

With the elation in the Bishop side running high, compounded by some unforced errors, Haughton were able to push home an attack that Bishop were unable to contain, that resulted in a converted try.

With the game now very easily balanced both teams realized that possession was vital in either closing the score line or winning outright. Bishop showed the greater zeal. Redfern, leading from the front charged down a clearance kick. With the ball bouncing nicely Redfern seized his made opportunity and nipped in for a try, that was again converted by Grey.  With the scores even and a place in the next round at stake, both teams raised their attacking and defensive games. Bishop began to get more possession and on several occasions had the ball within 5m of the score line. During a Haughton attack, Bishop conceded a penalty in the ruck. They elected to kick. With the ground silent, and the wind whistling the Haughton kicker, from 22m slotted the ball through the uprights to give them a precious 3 point lead.

With replacements Gallone J., McGregor –Taylor G., Score M., Cant M., and Sowerby P., on the field Bishop forced the ball forward towards the goal line. With minutes remaining they were held up on the line and lost the ball in the ruck when they were 5m out. Sadly for Bishop the referee curtailed any further attacks by blowing for the end of the game.

Overall a very good performance against a team that Bishop had failed to beat in the past. Bishop, although disappointed should not feel as they let themselves down. Better in open play, strong in defence all good team characteristics. Line outs were well disciplined, quite a few taken against the head. Major difference between the teams, Haughton were faster to the game line, not allowing Bishop players time to settle on the ball. Bishop must learn from this.

Coaches and relatives congratulated the Bishop team in putting on an excellent game of rugby. All agreed that they were very unlucky in not winning the game. Thrower and Skinner were named man of the match.

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