We got beaten but what a good game!
Match Report from Phil Partington, commiserations to him, he lost his unbeaten managerial record and forgot to put himself on the pitch
A visit to Ashbrooke on a crisp December afternoon is always a pleasure and it is a place with happy memories for the Bricks. Even more fun is the tour of Sunderland that is thrown in trying to find the place!
We arrived a bit late following some confusion waiting for players who were not available (!) and the afore mentioned sightseeing tour. Initial worries over whether we would have a full team disappeared on arrival as Keith (Oliver) and Lewis turned up as well as those expected. We had a full complement apart from our manager who had been told he had to stay home to put up decorations! Hooker KW added to the worries as he had left his boots on the window sill at home – probably with tinsel around them and a couple of ****** big candles standing inside them. A pair were found – a magic pair as we shall later see.
Unfortunately we found we had to travel to the school pitch as Sunderland 1’s were playing at home. Another mini tour of Sunderland followed (I never knew there was a synagogue in Sunderland!) and we were even later to the pitch. This meant that there was no time to warm up and we were caught cold by the opposition who won several turnovers and scored with far too much ease very early on. Their kicker fortunately had also failed to warm up and missed the conversion.
Blaydon worked their way back into the game and, after good handling and a move down the right flank Damien S scored a well worked try wide out. We were helped with the fact that, in a clever diversionary tactic, a couple of our forwards were engaging a number of their forwards in a conversation on the other side of the field at the time. Lewis made the conversion with an excellent effort form near the touchline. 5-7 to Blaydon.
Poor first up tackling led to another Sunderland break out and try soon after. This one was converted. 12-7 to Sunderland.
There followed a sustained period of pressure on the Sunderland line with the forwards scrummaging well and pressing hard for a score. Eventually, the ref gave a penalty try for a side entry collapsing the maul on the line and again Lewis converted. 12-14 to Blaydon.
Blaydon forwards were in the ascendancy now using driving and rolling mauls well. The pressure told and Horse touched down following quick thinking and smart play from a penalty by scrum half Liam. Lewis could not convert this one as he chose to fall on his **** instead of kicking the ball properly!
Half time – 12 – 19 to Blaydon
The second half started in the same way as the first with a refreshed Sunderland team scoring 3 tries in quick succession. 2 out of the 3 were converted and Blaydon had been caught cold again and the tackling left something to be desired. 31-19 to Sunderland.
Blaydon forwards again wrestled their way back into the game. Ex Sunderland player Tom Hirst was at the fore having lots of fun with his old mates and they made an impression on him as well! Excellent driving play and young Jack soaring in the lineout meant we had plenty of possession. Horse scored his second with a trademark fall at the last following interplay between the forwards and Liam (who was having an excellent game). Unfortunately the conversion was missed again. 31 – 24 to Sunderland.
More Blaydon pressure through the forwards led to another driving maul score which was immediately claimed by PC. Unfortunately, he was on the touchline watching and this was ignored. Windy emerged from the bottom with the ball in his hand and so was awarded the try. No conversion. 31 -29 to Sunderland.
It was getting close but Sunderland threw more into the game and another break away led to another converted try. Tackling errors were costing us dear! 38-29
Another Sunderland break threatened the Blaydon try line but was snuffed out by Keith W who was covering back at speed with no one else near to support (remember the magic boots? Keith can’t run that fast – so they must have been magic!). Snuffing out being KW’s speciality, he was sent to the bin for an allegedly high decapitation effort. He blamed the boots as he should never have been near! Try saved but player lost. Fair exchange?
Blaydon came back. A sloppy lineout throw led to a break from the back of the lineout by the excellent Paul Daglish (guesting from the Vulcans). The ball was passed on to Horse who was supporting at a gallop with unbridled enthusiasm to claim his 3rd try of the game. A good conversion saw the score narrow to 38 – 36 to Sunderland.
Sunderland continued to compete hard to defend their narrow lead and reaped a reward with a final long range try to win the game 43 – 36. A final mention for the ref. A young lad who was getting assessed who did a really did a good job. Didn’t see everything but managed the game well and let it flow with a nice touch. Nice to see. Even GB thought he was OK!
An excellent game and the lads showed real grit and character. Stuff to work on but it was a good start to a great evening Bricks Christmas celebration. Tom H playing the bagpipes was a revelation!
- Paul Winter
- Keith Winter (Ian Bennie late bin replacement)
- Tom Hirst
- Jack Inglis
- Ian Bennie (Keith O half time then Derek Turnbull 60 mins)
- Paul Daglish
- Windy (Capt)
- Damien S
- Damien A
- Craig B
- Phil R
Grumpy unused sub