Honours even as youngsters shine in the sun
By Jim Morgan at Sawston Rugby Club on Monday, 21st March 2011.
FRIENDLY: Sawston 19 Haverhill 19. Match report
In slightly warm rugby-playing, but perfect watching weather, Haverhill travelled to neighbours Sawston for another friendly game in preparation for next season.
Playing uphill against the steady breeze, Haverhill’s propensity to leak runs early when travelling was still present, being seven points down inside two minutes to a crash-drive from the Sawston inside centre.
Sawston, going in to Eastern Counties Division Two next year, were keen to take the scalp of Haverhill, but the Haverhill team were ever dangerous.
A beautiful run out by Kieran Ewens had Haverhill into the Sawston 22m on ten minutes. Drives from Jackson, Flannery, Ransome and Boyle were all stopped by a determined Sawston defence, but eventually the pressure told with Flannery crashing over the line, only to be told the ball had been held up by the Sawston number eight, for a five-metre scrum.
On 15 minutes, a quick move out across the Sawston back line saw the winger cross the line in the corner for an unconverted try for 12-0.
On 35 minutes, Sawston crossed the line to make the score 19-0. Mike Woods, playing at inside centre broke out of the Haverhill 22m with two minutes to the half-time whistle, running a full 70 metres up the park. The side were unlucky not to cross the line for the score.
With both sides playing rolling substitutes, which in the heat was welcomed, Haverhill started the second half with all their youngsters Nathan Craig, Don Farnell, Danny Nunn and Harry Marsh on the field.
Here is the place to pay tribute to the fine job the youth coaches are doing with the quality of player on show on Saturday. Craig, on the wing, almost scored and Farnell put in a huge tackle on the biggest player on the Sawston side, felling him like a true pro, much to the crowds delight.
The forwards Nunn and Marsh were fully at home in the mix, with Nunn, christened 'son of Ratty' rucking and mauling with considerable intelligence, driving forward and punching holes in the Sawston defence at will, and the fleet-of-foot Marsh stopping all that tried to pass the blind side of the scrum and catching ball in the second pod of the line-out from either throw-in.
On 45 minutes, some great team play, with literally every player involved, allowed Bergin to cross the line with three Sawston players on his back for 19-5.
Haverhill were pressurising at will and a clever kick from scrum half Lester on 51 minutes put pressure onto Sawston, with Haverhill turning the ball over.
The move out wide found the sylph-like Bergin who, at the end of a 30-metre run up the wing, crossed the line and headed to the posts for a McDonagh-converted try to make the score 19-12.
Haverhill won a line-out from the resulting restart, but a misunderstanding of the call had Sawston winning the ball and creating unnecessary pressure on the Haverhill 22m.
Super defensive work allowed Woods to break out and run a full 70 metres to the Sawston 22m line. Sawston cleared, but infringed, allowing McDonagh a kick to touch from half way.
The ball bounced in field and the chasing McDonagh almost scored under the posts with only a Sawston boot stopping the score.
With five minutes remaining, Haverhill crossed the line in the guise of Joe Brown by the posts for a converted try for 19-19.
At the time of the final whistle, both sets of supporters felt that the draw reflected a good game of rugby, played in the right spirit.
All dashed back to the club to watch England play. We should not have bothered.
Haverhill hope to play next week, kick off 3pm. Check website for details.
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