Union's classy backs the difference
As two powerful packs go toe to toe
Match Report: Gareth Davis
A cold, wind swept and wintry afternoon welcomed our visitors for what promised to be another tough encounter with a physical, hard hitting side not too dissimilar to ours.
Union again started very brightly as thrusts from wing David Smiley, and our rampaging forwards were halted through some poor decisions and impatience. Eventually, a solid set piece move saw a burst from Fly Half Tom Whitehouse, and then inside centre Matt Cook saw the ball moved left and right before loose Head Prop Michael Shucksmith gave the scoring pass to Wigan Daniel Norgate to score wide out. Most conversions attempted were thwarted by a strong crosswind despite good striking from Scrum Half Lloyd Davis who converted once from five attempts.
A succession of penalties incurred by the home team led to some disjointed sets before a second try arrived after a move off the back of the scrum when Number Eight Jon Spicker fed Davis who in turn gave a pass to Wing Smiley who showed a willingness for the ball all game, to beat his man and offload for the supporting Jon Spicker to crash over wide out.
Again, ill discipline at ruck time and off sides in the backs kept the in visitors in touch with veteran Fly Half Stuart Murray kicking the first of 4 successful kicks directly in front of the Union posts.
Union bounced back when Davis sneaked over following a series of attacks to their line with John Madden and Matt Spenceley to the fore. The platform was set from a powerful kick downfield from Whitehouse which enabled Union to play in the right areas of the pitch and a good chase ensuring the visitors couldn’t counter attack.
Ill-discipline saw the visitors come back into the game to score though the middle, with poor defensive organisation punished to take score at the break to 15-10.
Undaunted a pep talk by the Coach and better decision making soon saw Union on the front foot again. The back three running the ball back, and from one such a attack the rampaging Blindside Flanker Craig Dunbar scored. He had previously prowled the touch waiting to enter the fray and giving Union fresh impetus going forwards.
The danger remained though as the Great Yarmouth-Broadland again reduced the arrears with another penalty from Murray as Union struggled to put away the resurgent visitors who relished the tight forward exchanges as much as the home team.
An excellent driven line out saw Hooker Ben Bond-Webster the beneficiary out wide as the try allowing the home side to pull away. Despite this the last 20mins were more nervy than expected as another try for the visitors resulted in Union having to batten down the hatches to prevent a further score. Strong defensive sets with Flanker Ryan Day, Shucksmith and Captain Simon Pitcher to the fore resulting in the visitors attacks failing against the solid green defensive wall.
Newcomer Shaun Lohan , Graham Hunt and Oli Ward all contributed in keeping the result in our hands. www.osteostasis.com Man of the match went to David Smiley for his energy and desire to get on the ball and influence our attacking game.
After the game Coach Gareth Davis said “We are expecting more now, not just from Smiley but anyone putting the shirt on. Competition for places is high so lets keep together and keep the desire to improve our game and to reach our potential.
An expected tough game with rugged opponents who we have previously been put to the cleaners by, however the tide has turned with better organisation and tactics that now enable us to play games with a belief and confidence that we are more than a match for any teams at this level.
Simon and myself have worked hard behind the scenes to develop a style of play that best suits us moving forwards, but we still need to evolve more and strive to improve. Punching above our weight we may well be, but there is no room far complacency as the second half of the season promises more hard games to come.
Thanks again for the support and our marvels behind the scenes quietly going about their duties as we try and do our stuff on the pitch, making my role easier for sure.”
Team: Michael Shucksmith, Ben Bond Webster, Simon Pitcher, John Madden, Matt Spenceley, Ryan Day, Jake Rodwell, Jon Spicker, Lloyd Davis, Tom Whitehouse, David Sheldon-Smillie, Matthew Cook, Shaun Lohan, Dan Norgate, Graham Hunt
Replacements: Craig Dunbar, Oli Ward, Steffan Harwood
Scorers: Dan Norgate 1T, Jon Spicker 1T, Lloyd Davis 1T 1C, Craig Dunbar 1T, Ben Bond Webster 1T