Siege of Kenilworth had nothing on this!
Well what a game! Phew! First an apology .. no photos, it was a bit too intense to start taking them and those that were there were in the moment too much to take breath. The game started with a thunderous explosion of commitment and effort from the Southam lads. The challenge was to tackle and ruck hard based upon last weeks efforts, which although a great win, lacked in this area. Harry Lloyd and the starting forwards Mullen, Coulter, Sterry, McClay and Pelter with an assistance of the backs, such as Will Machin, smashed hard and without hesitation. They put into training what we had discussed, punching down the middle, winning phase after phase. Credit to Kenilworth who matched as much as they could the Southam onslaught with great tackling.
We created amazing chances but failed then to capitalise; once we have created the overlap we need to use it by running at spaces not faces in wide channels! Lloyd made a couple of great breaks and Stephenson too showed power in support. James Etough stretched his legs and was nearly through on a couple of occasions. I was equally pleased by the efforts of the ‘3 Towers’ Mullen, Willis and Worsh. On a hot day these big lads did what was asked and put a hard shift in. Mullen is starting to smash rucks, Willis had a barnstorming run in the second 3rd and Worsh made a couple of great tackles. Big men can get low! keep it going lads.
Southam disrupted the Kenilworth forwards and prevented their strike runners from getting ball. That said it needed great tackles from many players to prevent the opposition from getting down the other end and scoring. The physicality was amazing! Sam Robinson played in numerous positions and showed a thought of mind to put in 2 great clearance kicks when we were under pressure. He also showed great body position in the ruck. The first 3rd was mainly Southam but the score remained 0-0.
The next 3rd of the game was again a tough battle of maybes. But a couple of great set rucks by Lewis Sterry, Jo Coulter and the forwards, was sealed with a little touch of class when Joshy Bill Elkerton at scrum half ‘snuck around the ruck’ and danced down the side-line for the first try. This was nearly matched by a great charge down 3 minutes later, the ball landing agonisingly away from a Southam hand. Southam continued to strike hot with a ball collected by Spencer Brougham was shipped out to Lloyd who set a ruck. The Kenilworth forwards after numerous infringement at the breakdown were rightly pinged for ‘going over the top’. The ensuing penalty saw a ‘Nathan Hughes esq’ reach for the line from Charlie ‘Lomu’ Stephenson. Southam deserved this 10 – 0 lead. This score was kept by scrabbling tackles from Will Machin, Oli Godefry and a fantastic side line tackle by Joe Coulter out wide. Oli should also be mentioned for the little touches that he has around the breakdown area – they do not go unnoticed.
The Kenilworth lads came fighting back in the last 3rd with equally great tackles from Lloyd to prevent a try from a penalty. Such a physical battle did start to take its toll on the Southam lads with injury and strength in depth of the Kenilworth squad seeing them go over, Tom Worsh unlucky to prevent a try with a great tackle on the line. Rucks that we were previously disrupting now set ball for fast men out wide. Another break saw the Kenilworth wing go over. 10 -10 was about right as we did not take our chances when we were in the ascendancy and Kenilworth stretched the play better than us. Unfortunately the games last play saw the man of the match, (arguably for both teams), Harry Lloyd take a high knock to the shoulder /neck area, play was allowed to continue and Kenilworth scored out wide. With a few minutes to go the game was called. Harry has been checked out after a baffling wait for medical assistance and all seems good.
We deserved the draw and perhaps the win but we must take our chances and link better. With a few players to add and returns from illness – we will get the strength in depth. The quality and ferociousness of the tackles and rucks were of another world. The lads should be commended for top quality Rugby. Training only on Wednesday this week. Tournament on Oct 8th provisionally in with a chance to look at lots of lads and a game on the 10th v Coundon to come.