Trys: Keith, Matt, Lowsey, Joe
Durham got the scheduling wrong again this year and scheduled the cup semi-finals on a the same weekend as an England/Scotland game (a number of players were at the game) and on a non-league Saturday for teams below National League and Blaydon being successful again this year we had all 3 teams in the Durham Cup and a first team game. Given all that, we pulled on all the resources available at Blaydon RFC and had 4 strong teams out on the day. Outcome; 2s beat Billingham IIs, Development lost to West H and Bricks beat Hartlepool.
Cup matches are hard as everyone schedules time off work, risks coming back from injury and basically just put wounded bodies on the line and play. So unlike games you just cannot get everyone on and given how tight this game was even though we had good players on the bench I just did not feel we could unsettle the team and make more than necessary changes on the day. This is a great Bricks squad, you could tell those who didn’t get on were disappointed but all of them said they understood, a mark of how everyone supports the outcome of the cup, not just the taking part, thanks, and sorry guys.
Summary of this game, it was a cup semi-final, we had a good squad, our match plan was batter them with our big forwards, make yards with big lads running off, use mauling to walk up the pitch, kick to the corners for territory and unleash a good set of backs in the last 40 yards. So in effect business as usual for the Bricks. The point of writing that down, was to make sure everyone watching knew that, cos you would not have known that. Don’t get me wrong our scrum demolished them, no matter how many people they changed in the front row, our lineout worked really well and stole ball, so Hartlepool good back line with a really powerful first centre and rapid fullback was starved of the ball from the set piece. We even made big yards with players running off, but then played some form of NZ off-loading game we never play; both forwards and backs forced passes where they was none and gave away possession to that very quick set of backs and they punished us. We got excited and ran from our 22, our forwards got white line fever and when we had battered Pool and drew in backs and forwards we ignored overlaps and went again, alone into that crowd of players and lost the ball with lack of support. I know by now you’d be saying, you’d think we’d lost, but a sign of the capability of the squad, was in giving this amount of ball away we tackled well and apart from gifting a try from one of those poor offensive moves and missing some tackles on the centre going high, we learnt quick and whipped him out low every other time and crowed in the fullback so they ended up kicking away possession.
Highs & Lows
- Sorry game was so intense I stopped taking notes, so you’ll have to wait till the guys send some more in, but for now:
- You’d have thought after the first long ball Hartlepool put down Sav’s throat they would have found an alternate strategy as he punished them, time and time again with big yardage returns, ah well!
- Horse, Ryan, Adam and Harry made big yards and big hits
- Stu Bailey was everywhere, annoying Hartlepool and stealing ball.
- Our backs running when we did the basics; run, pass and support tore them apart, Lowsey, Matt, Savs ran then ragged
- First try was Keith with pure forward power
- 2nd try was exceptional, Sav made yards from outside our 22, offloaded to Harry, Horse took it on, Lowsey took it on and timed a pass perfectly for Matt to run it in from the 22, running over/through the fullback.
- Horse went on the hoof, but got ‘centred’ the big centre smashed him back
- The fullback was a good player, but got lucky in a move that was a lesson to all backs on how to turn a player inside out from Savs. Ball started with Harry, offload to Matt and then to Savs who broke through one on one with the full back, full back was coming across to take Savs, Savs feinted inside, fullback went in, Savs had gone outside, fullback went outside, Savs was back inside while all the time the line getting closer, then Savs should have just gassed it but turned him once more and ran into him. Our backs were mesmerised as everyone else was and no one was with him in support, opportunity was lost.
- Cliff was flattened by an immense tackle form behind.
- 10 mins into 2nd half, Put Stu Reay on, Lowsey went to Flyhalf and Coatsey who was playing with a hamstring strain and not played since the quarter final, had given all, said he only wanted a half and typical of this team when he came off shattered, wanted to keep playing.
- Stu Reay was briefed to settle things down (I know, in reflection, how does putting an angry man, on settle things down) and power play through forwards, first thing he started was a tussle with Hartlepool forwards for coming offside (which they had done all game) and typical wound our forwards to the hilt, as happens when a pack pick on a scrum half buddy.
- And there’s more to come …..
Summary, a good win, we are back in the final again, this time against Houghton who beat Winlaton and game to be played on 18th April, venue to be decided, but it will be neutral ground.
So, boat loads of players for a cup game, next week we have a league double header away at Border park as we try to get our league title chase back on track, with Novos having played extra game and being 4 points ahead, our issue will be whether we can fit all our games in given other commitments.
- Ryan (Ryan)
- Adam (Cliff)
- Stu Bailey
- Windy (Harry)
- Lowsey (Stu Reay)
- Coatsey (Lowsey)