Wanderers 53 Percy Park 17
Let’s make no bones about it, this was a great win against a side that we haven’t beaten for some time. With the 1sts also beating Park and the Panthers winning handsomely at Blaydon, this was a good day all round. As pleasing as anything was that all sides were fully manned-up, with substitutes coming out of our ears. It’s been feast or famine thus far into the season but let’s hope that we have no more plague or pestilence. As Woody Allen said “80% of success is showing up”.
Putting 53 points on Park can’t be argued with. However, there were issues. Whether it was the early onset of dementia or residual alcohol, our management of the referee was dire. It was clear that he had an issue with any hand that came within 2 feet of the ball in the ruck and we should have adapted accordingly. Instead, we were continually penalised, but didn’t learn. Possession is rugby’s life blood and we have to be patient at the breakdown. We also lost our discipline at times (no names mentioned!) which cost us 2 yellow cards, 1 of which could easily have been red. As wise old head Neil Hart said after the match, we have a great deal of talent, but must learn to concentrate for 80 minutes.
Enough of the whinging, the positives far outweighed the negatives. After jumping into an early and comfortable lead, a lack of concentration and multiple penalties allowed Park to strike back either side of half time and narrow our lead to 31 – 17, before we awoke from our slumbers and ran in some tremendous tries at the end of the game, the highlight being Alex Turnbull’s ‘George Best flick’ into his hands to regain a wayward pass before running under the posts. More pleasing than anything was that it was an all-round team effort that won the day, not individuals. Park were no pushovers, as the many bumps, bruises and cuts showed, but there is a strong backbone to the side that is more than capable of playing higher level rugby. The set piece was much improved, we won the majority of our lineouts and scrums and nicked a few of theirs. There were some rampaging runs from the wildebeest and slick handling from the gazelles. Pleasingly, we played a wide game, as is demonstrated by all 8 tries being scored by the centres, wings or full back.
Our ranks were bolstered with some talented new faces in Sam Sims and James Mitchell who both had excellent debuts and it is always pleasing to welcome back old lags like Joss Pinsett and Connor Chamberlain.
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