Haverhill final agony
Thursday, 3rd May 2001.
TRIES in stoppage time at the end of the first half and at full time ultimately cost Haverhill victory.
The spoils were snatched from their grasp right at the end when Thurston, who were behind, scored a try to win 12-9.
Coach Shaun McLeod-Jones felt his side were unlucky and should have been awarded a penalty try in the second half which would have put the match beyond the opposition.
He was also amazed at the amount of injury time played, with 13 minutes in the first half -- when Thurston scored their first try -- and then another eight minutes at the end of the second period.
Captain Peter Young gave the hosts the lead with two penalties before Thurston, who play in the Eastern Counties Division Two North -- one division higher than Haverhill -- struck back with a converted try to take a 7-6 half-time lead.
Then midway through the second half, Young added another penalty which looked to have snatched the silverware until the late show.
McLeod-Jones said although Thurston were superior in the line-outs and most of the scrums, Haverhill were dominant in the loose.
"It was a very close game and it could have gone either way," he said.
"I have never known anything like the amount of injury time played. The ref said the same thing. There were lots of niggling injuries, We are getting to the end of the season and people are carrying injuries."
Just minutes into the match Andy Hassey touched down for Haverhill, but the score was disallowed for a forward pass.
Then, in the second half, Haverhill suffered a devastating blow when Neil Atkins' try was ruled out because the referee had already blown up for offside by Thurston.
As Haverhill's pressure told they were awarded five successive penalties, but McLeod-Jones was angry his side were not awarded a penalty try in front of the posts because of negative play from Thurston, who continually killed the ball.
"A lot of referees would have given a penalty try which would have been under the posts," he said. "But it was swings and roundabouts, and we have no complaints.
"Despite our endeavours we could not get the points we wanted. It was a close game played in the right manner. I am quite proud of the boys. They all gave 100 per cent and that's all you can ask for."
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