A Day of Tough Outcomes
(Photo credit - John Richardson)
For the second week in a row, the weather failed to cooperate. Regardless, a good crowd was mustered by start of play at MacDonald last Saturday. Action began very favourably for CW with a couple of very focussed and strong drives, five or six retentions, Braddock being noticeable after the ball had been worked some seventy meters downfield to JBAA territory and play was a mere three minutes underway when Stiles crossed for a 7 – 0 lead. The Hosts then settled very quickly and came with a number of questions of their own – the patented lineout drive, being interrupted by a super effort from Jo Mo, forwards, led by the return of Skipper Harriman, handling well and driving hard and Mack and White doing the orchestrating, as usual no room for the faint of heart. At around the mid-point, the wall was fractured when Mack cleverly crafted a slight overlap from a perfectly executed man around on the blind side from a scrum and a number of retentions later, the ball ended in Johnson’s hands out wide for the reply, 7 – 5. CW with aid of the field, (which despite an expensive re-fit, still seems to have a definite slope!), charged back from the k.o. – Braddock, Scholtz, Polson and this ended in a penalty, converted by Dobravsky at thirty minutes, 10 – 5. JBAA, came back and the defense was ferocious, bone crunching hits from every defender to throw the attack backwards or at least halt it. After many rebuttals and fights to obtain possession, CW received a yellow card, seemingly for handling in the breakdown. Again, Mack read it well, with a “short” back row to face, he went blind and slipped to White who swivelled in the tackle and reached at full length for the line and a 12 – 10 lead at the interval. It was tough to pick out individuals, as all were committed to the fray, however, Braddock, Stewart and Polson seemed to show for this partisan observer, with Harriman leading from in front for the hosts.
The skies opened and the light was switched off as the second stanza commenced. The James Bay faithful were about to witness one of the more masterful managements of “suicide corner” by the men in blue (black), “at least in recent memory,” quoth one ardent fan as they throttled any attack from Ceedub, only allowing them out of their defensive quarter on three or four occasions, one being an enterprising bit of play by Polson and it did appear that White, scampering back to cover may have gotten away with playing the ball under the pressure but it never eventuated to anything and a couple of good efforts from Fraser and Scholtz were also snuffed. As the conditions worsened, so too did the play, becoming testy as players from both sides failed to give a quarter and sought to get the edge, far too much "beaking", niggle off the ball, balls dropped under pressure and greasy conditions. It was a day when the AR’s might have been of more assistance to the M-i-M but they were not seen and Smith did his best under very trying circumstances. CW received two yellow cards and what seemed like an inordinate number of eight second half penalties (all seemingly legit enough), two resulting in well stroked penalty kicks off the boot of Mitrou to put the result beyond doubt at 18 – 10. Unfortunately, the contest finished in a fracas and called “short” of time, possibly precipitated by a “no arms” tackle but so it was, respect but no love lost. It surprised to see the odd incident of enjoyment by the protagonists.
So, game #4 was not to be either! Congratulations to James Bay with Harriman, Mack, White and Mitrou’s boot probably showing an edge over their peers but all worked extremely hard and were deserving winners. For CW, this outcome did not mean that anyone did not commit. From all twenty it was a good effort, it just did not go their way. I thought Stewart, Braddock, Polson and Wooldridge toiled hard, maybe the rest, Ilnicki, Burger, Dusty and Co. had their numbers covered from their grovel work. Dalsin played very well but Mack just had better ball going forward and his enterprise cannot be denied. Stiles earned his oats, not shirking from the defensive work and Fraser and Scholtz were kept a very close eye on. These names being mentioned because they caught the eye, not to in any way to omit others because they may not have. It was a game with so much going on that it was difficult to catch it all. It will be well-earned rest and into the fray with the mainlanders and James Bay again, after Christmas. It has been a good “first half” with the side showing improvement towards gelling but not as yet reaching the pinnacle.
It was a hopeful afternoon before the action began and with one tweet from Port showing The Ones down 29 – 20 in the late going hopes were further buoyed. The Ones severely depleted, obviously gave it a great shot. One might say that scoring 34 points should be enough to win a match but conceding 46 to the Black Sheep was the difference! Congratulations to Port and to The Tricolours – a monumental effort, the club is very proud of you. Thanks to the officials and the best of luck to our friends at Port next week against the Hornets, thanks for hosting.