Saturday saw Spartans make the short trip to Osterley for an away game against Grasshoppers IIIs and unlike last week we were carrying a healthy number with us for the game. Unfortunately we were rather overloaded with backs and some of our fleet footed friends were finding themselves in the pack… How would they fare?!
Having got through the usual warm up, the game started and we quickly hit our stride dominating in the scrums and being more competitive and aggressive at the breakdown. Grasshopppers rather youthful side were finding the going tough in the forward battle and it was only a matter of time before Spartans got on the score sheet. A break in midfield allowed Joe Morgan to scoot over the line for the score. Unfortunately James was unable to nail the conversion due to the swirling blustery conditions.
Rather like some other Spartans games this season we then started to pick up some injuries and our already limited number of forwards were depleted further! Existing forwards were moved around and some more of the backs came into the pack, which had a knock on effect on the flow of Spartans game.
Suddenly the scrums were becoming more competitive and rucks were becoming a free for all, not helped by a feeling from Spartans that the ref wasn’t managing both sides’ infringements equally. Despite this Lance and Jonesy (the original!) were taking the fight to Grasshoppers, who were also forced into some changes in the pack too. A couple of grizzled old veterans joined the fray and their experience was to prove decisive in swinging the game in Grasshoppers’s favour.
Hoping to hold out until half time unfortunately Spartans conceded a try to level things up at 5-5. Their kicker missed his conversion.
The wind continued to play havoc as Spartans kicked off the 2nd half. Poor PK, so accurate in the warm up was struggling to hit his jumpers in the lineout and the scrums continued to go against Spartans despite our earlier dominance. Despite some further juggling of the squad, including all rounder JJ coming into the flanker position, Spartans were being dragged into Grasshoppers game and their old hands were mixing it up at ruck time.
One took his job a little too seriously and decided to use PK as dance floor to show off his moves and Lance as a football to hone his kicking ability. His assertion that they were on the wrong side is rather ridiculous considering he didn’t know which side of the ruck to illegally join…
In spite of these challenges and the little help from the ref, Spartans continued to create chances with new wing Ben Lee showing an eye for a gap and improvised flanker Steve Smith nearly getting over the line.
But the next score went to Grasshoppers and Spartans resistance was finally broken with a third score arriving shortly after. The game petered out and the final whistle blew to show a final score of Grasshoppers 17 – Spartans 5.
Lance was man of the match for his industry at the breakdown and in carrying the ball. While notable playing mentions should also go to Jonesy, Spartans debutants Ali MacLaine and Ben Lee and most importantly to Colm and Paddy for being clubmen.
Next week is Haringey who currently sit bottom of the league. A morale boosting win is much needed to get Spartans season back on track! Come on the boys!!!
1. Special K, 2. PK, 3. Jay, 4. Jonesy, 5. Newey, 6. Banner, 7. Ben S, 8. Lance, 9. JJ, 10. James Goldwin, 11. Steve Smith, 12. Dan Hamblin, 13. Joe Morgan, 14. Jakey, 15. Jeffsy, 16. Paddy, 17. Colm, 18. Tom R, 19. Ali, 20. Ben Lee, 21. Rich Walker
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