Champagne stays on ice for rugby club
By Jim Morgan at The Street, Rushmere on Monday, 22nd March 2010.
EASTERN COUNTIES LEAGUE DIVISION TWO: Ipswich YM 31 Haverhill 15, match report.
Haverhill travelled along the A14 to Ipswich YM on their journey to promotion, and ended up down a siding.
When it becomes obvious in the game that the referee is pinging you for anything and everything, and seems to be blind to opposition transgressions, the name of the game has to be to try to be as clever as possible.
Haverhill picked up two yellow cards and a red for a second offence, which ultimately lost them the game.
Haverhill started well, but at the first scrum, it became obvious how good the front row of Dore and Deeks have been throughout the season, with Ipswich able to boss the scrum and their number eight putting in a great performance throughout the game.
Eight minutes in, a line-out for Ipswich was won and a big knock-on missed. The ball was moved along the back line and Ipswich crossed the line in the far corner for an unconverted try.
Within two minutes, Ipswich were through again, but a dropped ball let Haverhill off.
Haverhill pressurised and a series of clever drives followed by a clever grub kick by Plumridge afforded Haverhill a penalty where they kicked to the 22m line.
A good take by Kevin Carr saw the ball rapidly moved out along the line for Hunt to crash over for 5-5 on 23 minutes.
The Haverhill scrum was now working better with the props switching positions. On 27 minutes, Chris Clayden, returning from injury after four months out, replaced Bradley Gibson at full back.
Haverhill win good ball in the scrum and the ever-dangerous Tom Chambers broke through the Ipswich line. A superb miss pass out to Simon Lester on the wing was not gathered in the windy conditions, when the try would have been a formality.
Ipswich came back immediately at Haverhill, crossing the line on 30 minutes, but the Haverhill defence held up the ball.
By now the penalty count on Haverhill was in double figures, and but for the windy conditions, Haverhill would have been well out of the game.
On 38 minutes, the referee went to his pocket and binned Chambers, and within a minute Raffell joined him for another technical transgression and Haverhill were playing with 13 men. Haverhill held off for the half-time whistle.
The wind now was blowing very hard, almost directly across the field of play. Haverhill were very well organised, keeping the ball in the forwards in an attempt to run the clock down on the cards.
The ball was lost and Ipswich ran the ball wide. On 44 minutes, Brodie Patrick intercepted and rushed through the line, but was penalised for a deliberate knock-on.
Ipswich kicked to the Haverhill five-metre line and the pressure was on. The ball was won by Haverhill and, in the confusion, was lost and the Ipswich number five picked up and slammed the ball down under the posts for a converted try.
Haverhill won a penalty for a trip on Clayden as he tried to catch the ball. This was extremely dangerous play. The attempt on goal ran down the clock a bit more, and the ball hit the upright. Haverhill gathered the ball, but were stopped by the superior numbers.
On 46 minutes, Chambers and then Raffell returned and Haverhill looked to press forward again.
The Haverhill scrum was now dominant, and again wheeled the Ipswich scrum fully 180 degrees, but again not winning the decision.
With 30 minutes to go, the pivotal decision of the game took place when, with three Ipswich players on top of him, Raffell was penalised for holding the ball after the tackle, and earned a second yellow card, which resulted in a red card and his permanent removal from the game.
Ipswich crossed the line from the penalty which made the score 17-5.
On 57 minutes, despite some great tackling from the likes of Clayden and Chambers, Ipswich crossed the line again for a converted try.
Toby Lassels replaced Gavin Hope. Lester, having moved to scrum half, cleared up the ball expertly, and passed to Chambers, who ran a full 40 metres to cross the line to make the score 24-10 on 60 minutes.
With 15 minutes to go, Kieron McDonagh replaced Carr to add fresh legs to the forwards.
With ten minutes remaining, Lester broke through and laid the perfect ball off to Plumridge, who timed his pass precisely for Hunt to cross the line, making the score 24-15.
The conversion missed to the left, and Ipswich supporters were lifted, knowing Haverhill were two scores away from winning the game.
With five minutes to go, Ipswich wheeled the now tired Haverhill pack, and the referee blew up for the Ipswich scrum, much to the mirth of both Ipswich and Haverhill support, as it had not happened all game.
Haverhill were still pressuring and trying very hard to score again, but the Ipswich winger gathered the ball inside the 22m line and runs the full length of the pitch to score under the posts.
The conversion sealed the victory and the final whistle. The sizable support knew this would be a tough game, and so it had proved.
Haverhill host fourth-placed Hadleigh for their last home game this Saturday, and are capable of gaining the points they require to take the champagne out of the ice bucket.
Kick-off is 3pm and let's get up to Castle Fields to support our local team.
* Our picture shows Ryan Raffell's progress being stopped by Ipswich YM from scrum. It looks like a high tackle, in front of the referee (yellow card minimum) but nothing happened to the player and no penalty was given.
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