Roving reporter update by Nic
“A Game of Two Halves”- the classic cliche rings true again as Colts provide some pride -Nicholas Eatch SportsByte
Blaydon Bricks welcomed Wallsend to an autumnal Crow trees Riverside pitch.
The opposition strengthened by the absence of a first team fixture certainly looked the part. Adorned in green and gold they came out of the stalls akin to rampant J P McNammara stallions, and quickly dominated Blaydon.
Blaydon suffered at the hands of some weak ‘D’and were caught out a couple of times by simple kicks over the top. In contrast, Blaydon’s normally super consistent fly half James Murray had left his kicking boots somewhere unknown and wasted good possession and territory on a number of occasions.
To be fair to Murray he certainly held his hands up after the game in a speech full of passion and humility. Two of the essential ingredients of any successful team.
The combination of missed tackles and lack of drive gong forwards saw the Wallsend scores coming thick and fast.
Cameron Richardson, Bricks hooker, unfortunately had to come off after a collapsed scrum left him with neck injuries and was replaced by Luke Tonks who was itching to get in at two.
Joel Atkin had already been withdrawn after 20 minutes and was replaced on the wing by Billy. Barlow. This added a little more zip into defence and helped the young colt Max Robinson – playing his first game for the Reds – who had done his best to plug gaps in Blaydon’s back line but despite his best efforts and others Blaydon trailed at half-time a thumping 0 to 31!
This was the time to show that cliches only become cliches as they contain large elements of truth. Rugby is a game of two-halves.
Inspired by their coaches wise words at half time, as Winters and Miller ripped into them – eyes gradually lifted from staring at the floor to looking with a sense of determination at each other – as a sense of pride needed restoring if this score was not going to end in embarrassment.
Thankfully due to a great turnout by the Bricks squad, Blaydon’s management were able to make whole scale changes as the second half beckoned.
With five colts now on the pitch – Jacob, Joey, Kieran, Mathew and Max – right from the off a new determination was heralded in.
Other changes saw Peter Davison and Lee Guest come into the centres where they showed great grit taking the crash ball and stopping the crash ball time after time. Unfortunately on occasion they were isolated and inevitable turnovers – an area for the Bricks to work on at the breakdown.
Ewan Lowry brought further aggression to the flanks and Mark Hall and Paul Elwood bought fresh legs into the second row.
Blaydon captain Murray even found his kicking boots with a number of superb penetrating kicks; taking full advantage of the slight downhill gradient that the riverside pitch afforded the home team in the second half. Stuart Bailey back from two years on the sidelines looked angry and inspired at nine, and kept the phases ticking over, even if it meant at times walking over the competition.
In fact the injury count now swung around with Wallsend losing one of their players with a suspected broken arm as pride in D and aggression in attack was vigorously reinstalled.
After a long period of sustained phases of pick-and-go forward attack, Blaydon went over with a delighted 17 year old Jacob driving over from close out and Murray making the conversion on 51 minutes..
And from the 41st minute that is where 75 percent of the second half was played out, in Wallsend territory. The relentless pressure started to cause the visitors some disciplinary problems when their 6 feet 6 inch second rower -who had been dominating the line-outs in the first 40 – was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle.
This seemed to infuriate the opposition’s scrum half – who was very vocal throughout the game as many number 9’s are! Cliche confirmed. In fact at one point he looked certain to see red as tempers flared but the referee was extremely lenient with him.
However, rather than Blaydon manipulating ‘the niggle’ to their advantage, a couple of scruffy mistakes led to Wallsend on 58 minutes going through in almost mirror like fashion to Blaydon’s try.
Their number ten converted, 7 all second half.
…and that is how it stayed, despite touchline heroics from Max at fullback , a broken nose for Jacob and a whole lot of pride for five young players and their parents. Without doubt the five colts gelled brilliantly with their wrinkled, but wise, Bricks cohort.
Blaydon just needed to stay slightly calmer on the floor and clear out faster at the breakdown. If they had of done this the second half was definitely there for the taking.
After the game some tempers flared on the red side of the fence but that is what rugby is – passion – and both the combatants have that passion in abundance and friendship was and will be quickly… and wisely restored.
So although the match was a defeat on the scorecard – for the Blaydon players and their watching faithful, it certainly didn’t feel that way in the end.
A game of two-halves indeed.
1) Chris Davidson
2) Cameron Richardson (Luke Tonks – 40)
3) Kieran Duffy
4) Matthew Johnson (Ewan Lowry – 15) (Paul Elwood – 40)
5) Steve Sewell (Mark Hall – 40)
6) Robert Pyle (Jacob – 40)
7) Joey Davidson
8) Paul Dagglish (Ewan Lowey – 60)
9) Stu Bailey
10) James Murray (C)
11) Joel “the fuzz” Atkin (Goggle (Craig Barlow- 20)
12) Andrew McAdam (Lee Guest – 40)
13) Kieran “Charlie” Sheen (Peter “the” Bath – 40)
14) Peter Davidson (Hopey – 40)
15) Max Robinson