Shallish try gains thrilling win for Wanderers
Tata Steel 27
“Rather not have too many of those finishes. Not good for the nerves at my age” commented Manager Mark Gould
“We seem to invite the pressure onto ourselves by giving up possession either by poor execution or penalties but the character we showed to score the final try from a lineout without a recognised hooker was great to see” added Coach Darren Gibbon.
A bright sunny afternoon welcomed the teams as the crowd and players observed a minutes silence for those that have made the ultimate sacrifice before the game.
Tata kicked off with the sun in their faces. Tom Hughes was called into action early on and he counter attacked from a kick only to be penalised for not releasing the ball before proceeding. The visitors had the better of the early exchanges and had a chance to exercise the scoreboard operator but a kick went wide. The pressure on the home side continued and after an offside decision Tata landed a penalty to open the scoring 0-3. After good jackaling from Ryan Shallish on halfway a penalty was kicked deep by Cavan Slade and the Wanderers visited the visitors 22 for the first time. The ball was moved into midfield from the lineout and an offence in midfield allowed Slade to level the scores with a penalty. The Wanderers scrum appeared to have the edge but the visitors back row often made ground despite being under pressure. Hughes was in the action again soon afterwards with a kick and chase that he nearly gathered only for the ball to be spilled. The visitors then struck the first real blow. At a lineout the Wanderers dozed off at the tail allowing a break by the Tata Scrum half who fed his back row in support and they crossed for the first try of the game. The conversion was added from out wide 3-10. The game continued firmly in the Wanderers half with the home side having very little sustained possession and Tata unable to extend their lead. A series of lineouts deep in Wanderers territory were kept at bay by the hard working home side defence and eventually they did break out. Good caries by Shallish and CJ Davies took play into the visitors’ half and after several phases a penalty allowed Slade to reduce the arrears to 6-10. The game returned to the Wanderers half until the dying minutes of the first period. A Wanderers lineout was neatly moved off the top and a training ground move saw Captain Cameron Gibbon slice through the defence. He showed good pace and avoided the cover defence to score under the posts. Slade converted and the sides went into the break with the home side some-how ahead 13-10.
The exchanges at the start of the second half were fairly even, with the ball in the air on several occasions. Both sides struggled to bring their A game to proceedings but the crowd were well entertained. The Wanderers Faithful were treated to a rare sight of two Drakes waddling on the field in the same team as Eddie joined brother Olly in the front row. It took another piece of Gibbon magic to break the deadlock. Cutting back blind after a scrum he broke away from the would-be tacklers and once in space he raced away. The defence breached he set up Zak Fifield who raced away to score. Slade added another two and the Wanderers looked comfortable at 20-10. Tata responded well. Determined not to go down without a fight they piled on the pressure again. Using their pack to carry well they soon reduced the deficit with a penalty to make it 20-13. Another rare foray into the Tata 22 allowed Slade to restore the 10-point advantage as both sides started to ring the changes. Momentum swung back to the visitors as they sensed the comeback. From a lineout deep in home side territory they drove at the line time and time again and eventually forced their way over for a second converted try 23-20. Tata now had their tails up sensing a league win was withing their grasp. The Wanderers struggled to regain possession and as the penalty count went up Jack James saw yellow leaving the Wanderers with 14 men for the end of the game. More pressure followed and another drive from a lineout saw Tata secure their third try and the lead 20-27. The game entered its final minutes and the home side were given a last chance. A penalty on halfway was kicked to the 5-metre line by Gruff Tough, on for Slade and with Shallish doing the hookers role a neatly worked front drive saw Shallish crash over for the score that put the Wanderers ahead again 28-27. The Wanderers faithful were then reduced to biting off their fingernails as the home side hung on for the last few minutes and eventually time ran out for Tata and the Wanderers breathed a sigh of relief recording the win 28-27.
Tries: Cameron Gibbon, Zak Fifield, Ryan Shallish
Cons: Cavan Slade (2)
Pens: Cavan Slade (3)
Management MOM: Ryan Matthew
Massiv MOM : Anthony Cox