The Spartans welcomed Old Streetonians 3 XV to MHP, looking to put right the previous week’s loss to Hammersmith and Fulham ‘fifths’. Billy made it clear what he wanted, smash everything for the first 20 minutes and dominate physically, play the game at our speed moving the ball quickly from penalties.
The game started slowly and in a very scrappy fashion, with both sides making errors and giving penalties away with most of the game being played in the middle of the park. It took 20 minutes before a breakthrough came, after increasing pressure from the T’s attack a couple of quick penalties helped gain ground and some quick thinking from Kieran allowed Arlind to find a gap out wide. A tricky touchline conversion for Kieran, straight through the middle – no dramas. 7-0 T’s.
The rest of the half was just as scrappy, with lots of penalties and dropped balls. A highlight was Ed throwing the ball straight out into touch, twice. With dick of the day sealed, T’s tried to keep Old Streetonians shut out for the rest of the half. More silly mistakes allowed them through on the stroke of half time, with the try being converted it meant the game was tied 7-7 at half time.
At half time Billy let us know how poor the first half was, making a few changes to try and get a reaction. T’s started the half much better putting together some good phases, but failing to come away with any points. After being held up a couple of times, being pulled back for ‘forward’ passes and dropping balls in their 22, we finally scored through Lucas stepping through a few tackles to score. Converted by Kieran, 14-7.
On came the reinforcements, with Billy bringing himself on to shore up the centres. T’s started to kick it long and put Old Streetonians under pressure in their own 22. This worked after a poor clearance kick allowed T’s to move the ball wide and big John (Johnah Lomu) ran through 3 defenders to score out wide. Kieran converted again to take the score to 21-7. With 15 to go T’s should have been 20 points up, but after the failure to put away opportunities it meant Old Streetonians still had a sniff. Some decent phases, helped by some penalties gave Old Streetonians a line out 5 metres out. They scored under the posts, trying to speed the game up, their 10 went for the quick drop goal and missed. Criminal. 21-12 to T’s with 5 mins to go.
Not learning from the same mistakes, T’s gave away more penalties and allowed Old Streetonians another line out 5m out, this time a driving maul and another missed conversion. 21-17. T’s saw out the rest of the game down the right end of the pitch before winning the ball back and booting it off the pitch.
We made bloody hard work of it but back to winning ways.
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