On a fairly chilly afternoon in Osterley at Grasshoppers RFC, the players selected to play this knuckle-biting encounter were gearing up to give their absolute all to progress into the next round of the cup against Grasshoppers, who themselves were eager for sweet revenge after a poor showing against a dominant Spartans side in the league earlier in the season.
With new faces and new combinations the warm up seemed rather stop-start but come time for kick off the expressions on all the players faces showed real determination not to let any excuses get in the way of a strong performance.
Kick off had arrived and after a nervy few phases from both sides this game didn’t feel like it would be a repeat of the cruising in the league game a few weeks ago. A new and improved Grasshoppers side really felt like they could prove their worth but little did they know that the Spartans never show up to games underprepared. After a few half breaks from Ed, the Spartans were etching closer to the whitewash. With Zac standing on the blind side for a clear overlap, Slash passed the ball to Adi standing on the open side. Just when you thought the scoring opportunity had been spurned, Adi spots the overlap and shoots of to attack that side, and throws a dummy to dispose of the oncoming defender and putting our trusted fly-half Zac into a gap (great play by a front row if I might add). With the try line in touching distance Zac puts on the burners and hands off a few players to grab the opening try of the game. Solid play by the boys to open the scoring! 0-7
With that opening score came a very keen response by GH as they wanted to stay within touching distance with pace-setters of the division. And that response arrived after some penalties giving them the yards and some individual brilliance from their new young winger. With the try line a good 35/40m away he fired himself round the outside before cutting back to beat 2 defenders to finish under the posts (conversion missed….. LoL) 5-7
Now Spartans knew they had to keep an eye on this fella and so they did for short period of defending before we they showed their dominance again by blitzing the GH defence before half time. First from Slash with a lovely dart into the corner (a short dart at that), and then by the unstoppable figure of Zac who cut through their defence like a hot knife through butter. With our tails up before the half there was still time to put Matt K through to add salt to the wounds for GH. 5-26 HT
Not much to say at half time by Yatesy and Mike apart from keep up the hard work. With GH looking fatigued at the half, Spartans knew they had a chance to be out of sight and control the game from here on out.
Spartans started where they left off with a dominant display in defence and a very handy attack by camping in the GH 22 for several mins and then our star of the day came up with the goods again by going through again and securing another 7 points after some lacklustre defending from a tired GH. 5-33
Spartans could smell the scent of a wounded animal and knew that the tries would come as long they didn’t force passes and followed their systems. Through this they very nearly scored try of the season thanks to some quick thinking from Adi and near perfect execution from Zac’s boot. Gaps were hard to see in the GH defensive line, but there was a nice pocket of space in behind them which was identified by our Prop (soon to be utility back) Adi and ask Zac to put in a cheeky chip in behind the oncoming defence and had it not been for an over cooked kick …. *cough cough* it wasn’t for a lack of pace it would have been a real spectacle. Never the less, the bounce went over Adi’s head and into the hands of Sam B who managed to give quick ball for Spartans to put them through to the 5m line and after some strong drives by the forwards, George M was able to push through for another try making it 5-38.
With the game all but wrapped up and GH seemingly admitting defeat, they were caught out by Banksy who managed to force his way through the defence again before outing in Zac for his 4th try of the day! Solid play all over the park with nobody playing selfish rugby and a well-deserved lead as we edged towards the final whistle. 5-45
GH tried to rescue themselves from total humiliation by battering their way through our solid defence, after Spartans conceded a double figured penalty count late in the second half. But all efforts were in vein as Spartans managed to push another attack through and nicely finished off by Banksy! 5-50
Again Spartans were held in their own 22 again as the penalty count ticked was over what it should be and more strong defending arose from this late charge from GH. After some great work at the breakdown from Mike J, Spartans repelled another attack from GH. In the dying embers of the game Spartans seemed tired from their strong showing and were unable to hold out one of the last attacks of the game. 12-50 FT
With that final whistle came huge cheers form the players as they knew they had progressed into the next round and continued their unbeaten league & cup form. One of the best performances from a Spartans side, considering the new combos on the pitch. Top work lads!
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