Flying start held in check, but still a good win
By Jim Morgan at Castle Playing Fields on Monday, 14th January 2013.
EASTERN COUNTIES LEAGUE, DIVISION TWO: Haverhill 28 Mistley 12. Match report.
There is never a better way to start a game than to be on the scoreboard in the opening seconds of the game and Haverhill were 5-0 up through a winger Martin Hughes effort inside the first minute.
With Mistley unable to contain the Haverhill scrum and the three-quarter line looking lightning fast, this was always going to be a game of how many. To Mistley’s credit, they played well enough to spoil the Haverhill 'pointfest' this could have been.
On 22 minutes, a great move with Brad Gibson moving into the line saw the full back cross the line in the corner, but he was adjudged to have gone out of the field of play and a five-metre line ensued.
Haverhill camped on the Mistley line and finally on 32 minutes, a quick pass from Gavin Hope from the maul saw George Foley gather, jink inside two defenders and place the ball over the line for the second try. The Jake Jeffs conversion was short.
With a penalty in front of the posts on the stroke of half-time, Hughes made the score 13-0 on the turn.
On the restart Gian-Paulo Nash and Simon Lester replaced the wingers Patrick and Hughes, and Haverhill seemed to fall asleep.
On 43 minutes, a Mistley penalty was quickly taken and Haverhill watched as the player ran 20 metres and scored in the corner for 13-5.
The introduction of Ricky Harris added some verve into the mix and, combining with the ever-impressive Michael Lansdowne and Chris Flannery, caused the Mistley side no end of trouble.
Being in front of a probing Chancy Mulama kick saw Haverhill penalised and backchat caused the infringement to be brought ten metres up the park so Mistley went for the posts. The kick was wide, luckily for Haverhill.
Mistley attacked Haverhill and camped on their line for a number of phases, but Haverhill finally cleared to 40 metres and the pressure was released.
A Lansdowne drive on 60 minutes saw the player make 40 metres from the half-way line. The resultant ruck was quickly recycled and a succession of passes between Jeffs, Lester and Adam Hunt finally saw Jeffs over the line for 18-5, the Mulama kick just wide.
Another nice move between Flannery and Harris led to a penalty for Haverhill and Jeffs slotted the ball over for 21-5 on 74 minutes.
With time running out, a Haverhill penalty was kicked by Mulama, but failed to find touch. A storming Nash on the wing intercepted the ball, robbing the Mistley defender, and released Hunt for a try under the posts and 28–5 with the Jeffs conversion.
On the final play, Haverhill weare penalised for a high tackle five metres out. The resulting tap-penalty was passed to the huge second row Mistley player who just managed to clear the line for a converted try and 28-12 at the whistle.
Haverhill showed great promise. To get the three-quarter line in place at training on a regular basis would cause any team in the Eastern Counties League division one or two no end of trouble.
Let’s hope the visit this Thursday at 7pm by the Tongan legend Fe'ao Vunipola (father of England centre Mako Vunipola) will inspire all to attend training and build the club even more.
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