Clash of the Titans
By Matt Marriott
5 - 10
When the fixture list was first published, this was the game that stood out! With much restructuring, Crowborough were going to be real contenders for this years title. Both teams went into this game unbeaten, but after shading a pre-season friendly, the Cherry and Whites were surely firm favourites playing at home. The weather tried, but failed, to dampen the anticipation of what was going to be an epic.
The first quarter was all Crowborough. They threw everything at us as they camped in our half, huge runner after huge runner battered our line, but firm it stood under this stern onslaught. We were even more hampered when talismanic scouser, Darch, limped off, thrusting Ash into the fray. His first action was a scrum where the G’s pack pushed the huge Crowborough scrum backwards. With roars of approval the boys started to play some rugger. Where the Crowborough forwards were bigger, G’s edged things in the backs, and started posing good questions out wide. Great structure and handling in the tricky conditions saw the ball move from right to left until the defence bit on Tom, playing at 12, who had been terrorising would be tacklers with his pace and power, a deft offload saw Aaron carve through the gap like a knife through butter to open the scoring to the delight of the travelling support, who were so dazzled by the rugby on display, they hardly noticed the ongoing monsoon deluge!
Knowing that one mistake could cost the game, things got a little cagey again, but after half time, G’s decided on flat out attack. Matt B was running things like an orchestra, Crazy, Ross and Ruari were making dents and our midfield was smothering any Crowborough attack. A kick ahead saw the lightning pace of Gibbo as he streaked towards the loose ball. The crowd (and coach) were going wild as the ball popped up invitingly two meters out. A despairing defender caught Gibb’s shirt and yanked him back before he could gather, and despite the baying of the crowd (and coach), for a penalty try, the ref called play on and the tension mounted.
Oli and Ben were tackling everything that moved, and Oli in particular was making a real nuisance of himself at the breakdown. Aaron G was fielding the hopeful kicks over the top with composure and aplomb. I could see the boys confidence growing, and then came the moment of the game. More huge carries by Tom and Ross saw us work into the oppo half. good phase play saw defenders sucked in, before the backs took control and run a delightful training park move which again saw Tom offloading out the back to Matt running the loop. The fast boys swooped round the corner and moved the ball left where the last pass from Aaron saw Robbie in a tiny bit of space. It was all the speedy winger needed as he scorched down the line, outpacing the full back to score a beaut and take us 10 clear.
A lovely Crowborough move of their own saw them score in the dying moments and gave us all a nervous last two minutes, but the whistle blew to the delight of all those in blue, propelling us clear at the top of the league! What a game, played with passion and heart by two great teams - a joy to watch!
MoM goes jointly to one forward and one back. Oli Brown, you were brilliant mate, so much work, on and off the ball, from the smallest forward on the pitch. Also, Tom Sandys, after a few week off, what a game - Beast!! Ironically, these two met at A&E later, the former with a dodgy hand the latter needing stitches in his eye lid - get well soon boys! DotD also goes to two boys this week! Robo, for coming on and kicking our own scum half in the head which was a near disaster (Hope you are OK Lee?), and Will, who’s boot disintegrated. He tried to play on in his sock, but it was super sub Tom B who came to the rescue and stood bare footed on the touchline for the rest of the game, watching Will prance around in his boot!