Wanderers make it 15 wins in a row
“It was clear that the Christmas lay off did neither side any good as the first half was very scrappy” commented Manager John Lyons. “Fortunately we settled better in the second half and gained that vital BP to keep us in touch with the leaders”
On a grey windy day at Blackweir the Wanderers began brightly. Haval Ibrahim went close, but the early exchanges were littered with poor handling and a lack of continuity. The Joe’s began to settle into the game, two penalties gave them the chance to go ahead, but both were narrowly missed, leaving the score at 0-0. The game ebbed and flowed but both sides were clearly suffering from the Christmas break and neither side could establish any pattern to their game. Eventually the deadlock was broken when the Joes landed a penalty to take the lead 3-0. The Wanderers responded well, trying to get the ball wide. Will Adams Jones went close as the Wanderers established field position deep in the homeside 22. From a couple of close quarter forward drives the visitors went close and when Myles Churcher released his backs Adams Jones was held up just short. The ball was ripped from his grasp and the home side tried to clear from their own in goal area. Unfortunately the ball was spilled again and Lee Highgate responded quickest as he pounced on the ball to score the first try. Luke Fish added the conversion to send the sides in at half time at 3-7.
The Wanderers made a change at half-time bringing on prop James Greenfield and the first chance fell to the visitors. Churcher made a break, he found Dylan Lawley in support, Lawley galloped away and with the line at his mercy his pass to Cameron Gibbon was spilled and the chance went begging. The Wanderers had their tails up and they started to control the game, another Churcher break took play deep into Joe’s territory and the visitors pack set about some close quarter driving. Rob Weston went close and Greenfield was driven over by the rest of the forwards for the Wanderers second try. Fish converted 3-14. The game was now firmly in the Wanderers hands and from a scrum in Wanderers territory Philip Pariyo came into the line. He cut the defence and his pace took him clear. Despite the attention of the covering defence he crossed in the corner for the Wanderers 3rd try. Fish added the conversion to put the visitors comfortably ahead at 3-21. The game was now being played firmly in the home sides half as the rustiness of the first half had been forgotten. The bonus point try came soon afterwards when a half break by Fish found Greenfield in support and once again the forwards drove him over for his second try. Fish converted 3-28. Despite no chance of winning the game the Joe’s stuck to their task and in the last few minutes they played their best rugby of the game, several drives by forwards and backs created an opportunity and soon afterwards they scored a converted try 10-28. In the dying minutes of the game the Wanderers line came under real pressure and ex-Wanderer Jonny Lewis went close, despite the pressure the Wanderers line held firm and eventually the final whistle came giving the Wanderers their 15th win a row. Final score 10-28.
Tries: Lee Highgate, James Greenfield (2), Phillip Pariyo
Con: Luke Fish (4)
Massiv man of the match: Rob Weston