Grimsby Gentlemen 20: Stratford Black Swans 33
Referee: Mark Glendenn
Weather: A heavy rain storm as we drove up but the sun shone throughout the game although there was a black cloud over us. The field was in great shape.
Attendance: A large number of home town fans as there was a special memorial service after and several of the Stratford teams played.
Presidents Report: Oh-oh. Plan A was to beat Stratford convincingly but in a friendly manner as the Black Swans had not yet won a game and had been getting beat by very high scores. We put 53 points on them at home and we were planning to put as many on again to bring our points for and against to zero. We were also celebrating the second time we travelled with a team of 16 players. However, the sun did not shine on us and within five minutes we lost Mike A. to a lower body injury, then at 30 minutes Jamie S. had to leave with a rib injury, and at 35 minutes Scott W. also had to leave with a bad sprain. We played the whole second half with 13 players and it showed.
The Stratford team kicked off and kept Grimsby in their end for most of the first 15 min but Grimsby (Kyle W) managed to score first at about the 16 min mark and Dylan K. converted. However the Black Swans kept running confidently in the backs and made a break to score under the posts to tie the game at 25 minutes. They scored shortly after with a long run with support to go ahead by a converted try. Dylan kicked a penalty late in the first half.
Half time score Grimsby 10: Stratford 14
One minute into the second half Grimsby came closer with a penalty by Dylan. However the problems with thirteen men against fifteen resulted in a converted Stratford try at 50 min and an unconverted try at 65 minutes. With about 5 minutes to go, Grimsby got close with a great attacking kick into the endzone by Craig E. and Derrick W. fought off the defender to ground the ball and Dylan converted. We now were within six points, perhaps win the game, or at least get a bonus point, and win the singing competition (Plan B). However, Stratford was not finished and scored once more in the 79th minute and converted.
Final Grimsby 20: Stratford 33
This was Stratford's first win and they well deserved it. They they gave us a great beer up at a local pub and we lead in the singing.
After the game, Stratford had a tree planting ceremony for one of their former players who passed away a year ago. Darryl Van Den Tempel, who was only 21 years old and a strong member of the club, was killed in an ATV accident.
Team: Nathan Rowbottom (a nice surprise), Mark Hall, Jon Millington, Jeremy Young, Dean Gibson, Mike Antonelli, Kyle Wilson, Joel Leonard, Dylan Kinch, Derrick Weber (C), Scott Walker, Mike Stuart, Bob Mavro, Jamie Scully, Alex Stevenson,
Craig Evans came on at 5 min for Mike Antonelli and went to #10
The team picture did not work out, I was too rushed.
Coaches Report: Well we probably thought we could beat these guys with thirteen as we did so well against Kent with only thirteen. However, Stratford challenged us by running hard through gaps and making breaks with support. We did not seem to be able to find an and had difficulty getting through their defensive line. Mark H. did well at hooker for a last minute switch and so did Dylan K. who took over the scrum half spot and can still send a good pass. Our tackling was suspect, we often lost the ball in contact often, and tended to ball watch in defence. With only thirteen players we had trouble covering their kicks. We drastically reduced the number of penalties we took to about 3, compared to the last game although we seem to chirp at the ref a lot which takes us off focus.
Man of the Match: Derrick Weber for his fine play at fullback in the second half making a couple of try saving tackles and scoring near the end to bring us close. Also I liked the work of Dean Gibson who put in a workman like day all around the field. Honourable mention to all those who had to play out of position.
Their Man of the Match: Alex Stevenson (if he wins more of these he may become a drinker)
Our Man of the Match: their thirteen
From Under the Willow:
Plan C: We need to at least beat one other team (and pick up some bonus points) as I can see Stratford beating Kent and being tied with us in wins. The first tie breaker is the number of defaults and we have one. Next game is at Highland August 8 after a week off.