Speed kills sluggish Gannets
A robust Gannets side are outthought and outpaced by their hosts.
With just the one pre season game behind them,a 5-12 loss to Dunstonians last weekend,the Gannets took to the field at New Ash Green hoping to get their season off to a winning start.This was not to be however as their younger,more nimble opponents took full advantage of their visitors unforced errors to score three tries and outpace the Gees for a fourth.
A solid looking pack was countered by the now familiar 'much changed' Gannets backline with new/old boy Andy Lane stepping in at 10,Sean Drabwell who was last seen propping stepping in at outside centre and usual centre Steve Wootton sliding in at full back.
The Gannets lack of team training of any description over the summer was soon evident as the slippery NAG backs sliced their way through a static Gees defence seemingly at will with only the the visitors pack offering any form of relief.The advantage they had in size and strength was nullified by the home sides ability to steal the ball in the breakdown almost at will as the Gannets were simply too slow to support their teammates.
It was the breakdown which provided the home sides first score with the ball being quickly moved out to the wing where I swear,Steve Wootten was going to nail the ball carrier but he inexplicably slipped on a pitch clearly doctored by the groundsman to facilitate such an act and in they scampered for a 7-0 lead.
The Gees started to get their sh..stuff together and their patented rolling maul came into play,gaining ground but all too often they turned the ball over with a combination of sloppy play and needless penalties,one of which was expertly despatched by the NAG 10 for a 10-0 lead.
The Gees ground and pound game was starting to take its toll on their hosts and it eventually paid off when a line out on the NAG 5 was driven over and Gary Curran emerged from the bottom of the pile to reduce the arrears to 10-5 at the half
So things were looking up for the Gees at halftime but the good feeling evaporated when the Gannets luxuriant haired scrum half luzzed the ball over Andy Lanes head and the NAG backs gleefully pounced on the ball for one of the easier scores they'll ever make.
From there on in,things started to go to ratsh*t as indiscipline and ridiculously sloppy play crept into every aspect of the Gannets game and two further scores followed with a kick and chase and a simple outside burst from the NAG centre who easily outpaced his more senior opposite number to score in the corner despite Steve Woottons valiant effort.
It wasn't until the portly ginger Owen Farrell,Benjamin Baker entered the fray for his first game since blowing his knee out this time last year,that things started to happen for the Gannets.Although they didn't trouble the non existent scoreboard any further,there was was more purpose about the Gannets play,especially in the backs where they had been largely suppressed by some excellent NAG defence.
So 29-5 it finished and despite the lop-sided scoreline there were actually some positives to be taken from the game.As stated before,three tries were born from unforced errors.Cut these out and improve the penalty count and the Gannets will be a match for any team in this division.One thing which can't be questioned however is the Gees physicality with ball in hand and their opponents will always know that they've been in a game,whatever the scoreline.
Until next time...