Match report from Phil below, well done to the lads who played this game, unfortunately we had a late cry off (unavoidable) and disappointingly 3 no shows of key positions, which left the squad vulnerable to any injuries, which we got, so a game we should have won was lost, sorry Bricks.
I will be at the cup game away at Sedgefield next week, with a new knee, looking at the responses on Facebook to-date, we do seem to be struggling to field a team, given all the injuries, so may have to dig my boots out. :-)
A highly charged atmosphere at South Shields led to an intense game and, eventually a narrow 15 – 10 defeat for an under strength Bricks side. Lacking their talisman manager (having an op on a cold sore or something) and with a number of cry offs and no shows this Bricks side put up a brave performance against a South Shields Mariners side desperate for a win and containing a number of first team players – available as their first team had no game.
We started the match with some players playing out of their selected position (thank you to them) and probably one of the oldest 2 man benches in history (115 years in total I think!).
Encouraged by a baying crowd the Mariners started fast, creating good ball and releasing some very quick backs (for a 4th team!). This eventually led to a really good long distance try down the Mariners left wing that was converted to give the home team a 7 – 0 lead. There followed a period of highly competitive rugby with neither side really gaining the upper hand. During this period Stu B injured his knee and Bricks stalwart Cliffy came on into the second row with Windy dropping in to the back row. Cliffy obviously made a difference (or that was his story) as a series of drives by the forwards at the South Shields line eventually resulted in a short range try for Keith Winter. The conversion was missed and the score was 7 – 5 to the Mariners. This was how it stayed until half time.
Soon after the restart another spell of Blaydon forward pressure saw Windy go over for another close quarter score. Matt missed the drop kicked conversion – probably because he didn’t wait for the tee to reach him – a mistake by the distracted caretaker manager really. 7 – 10 to the Bricks.
From the resulting kick off Windy gathered the ball only to be clobbered by an excellent tackle that resulted in a damaged ankle for the Bricks captain. On came the caretaker manager resulting in another reshuffle as Keith W went into the second row.
The game continued at the same intensity with little given away by either side. Prop Steve Palmer had to go off following a collapsed scrum and the Bricks were down to 14 with uncontested scrums coming in to play. The home crowd bayed some more and the Mariners redoubled their efforts, bringing on fresh legs. Despite this Blaydon exerted a period of some pressure without ever really getting near the South Shields line. A penalty kick for goal was missed by Blaydon and this gave the chance for the Mariners to come back. The Mariners skipper made a wonderful weaving, speedy break from midfield and, with hardly a hand laid on him, he scored wide out on the Mariners left. The crowd erupted and most of the Mariners team ran up and piled on top of the scorer – we thought someone had found 50p! 12 – 10 to the Mariners with time running out. From the kick off the home side gathered the ball and made progress towards the Blaydon line. Good ball retention by the home team (not always the case for either side in this match!) led to a penalty kick which was duly missed. However, they got the ball back again from the drop out and again drove towards the Bricks line. Another penalty was given away by the Blaydon pack and this one was converted as the final whistle blew. 15 – 12 to the Mariners. Cue wild celebrations!
Well done to the Mariners – they played a good game and are a very hospitable and friendly but competitive club – always a pleasure to play them. The ref had a really good game and kept things flowing but well under control – I’m sure his assessor – former Blaydon player and poacher turned game keeper Andy Wilson gave him a good report.
Finally, well done to the lads who represented themselves and Blaydon Bricks so well – even though all they wanted to know after the game was “when is Bruce coming back?”
Cup match next week.
1 Steve Palmer
2 Keith Winter (Grumpy)
3 Tom Hirst
4 James Knox
6 Stu Bailey (Cliffy)
7 Ian Bennie
10 Matt Goodall
11 Steve Sewell
13 Damien A
14 Paul Dingley
15 Craig Barlow