Screaming Sean suffers and so do Gannets
Second half performance by NAG proves to be difference in defeat for Gravesend
Following the derby victory over Old Gravesendians the previous week the Gannets had a second home game in succession with New Ash Green providing the opposition. With a defeat to NAG in the opening game of the season the Gannets were looking to avenge the result of the prior meeting. Despite a dozen players being unavailable the Gannets were still able to field a decent side and were hopeful of securing a win, boosted by the return for the first time this season of Vidmantas Petrauskas
and the return of Will Garland
, Mike Percival and Mick Woodbine.
Gravesend kicked off the match playing towards the school on the banana pitch and were quickly aware of the ability of their opposition, who were providing a good platform for their well drilled backs. The opposition did not have things all their way however with Gravesend showing a lot of fight and spirit in defence and covering the rear of the field well to counter the NAG kicking game.
With much of the game being played between the 22s the first half was well matched with the Gannets on top in the scrums and NAG making a nuisance of themselves at the breakdown across the pitch.
The only score of the first half was made by the NAG centre in the corner. With the resultant conversion missed NAG took a 5-0 lead. Gravesend countered well and earned a couple of scoreable penalties which were passed over to try and benefit from the strength of their scrum but unfortunately without getting any reward.
At half time Gravesend were still feeling that their fortunes may turn in the second half and would have been looking for a strong response from each other in the opening exchanges. Unfortunately within the first few phases of the second half Sean Drabwell was struck on the back of the head by a stray boot and briefly lost consciousness. After attending to the injured player the two sides switched pitch after a delay of probably half an hour in an attempt to complete the game before the light was lost and to allow Sean to be attended by an ambulance to check for any damage.
Unfortunately from a Gravesend point of view the break in the cold and misty weather appeared to drain their focus. Shortly after the resumption a knock to Ben Baker
's rebuilt knee saw him leave the field and the Gannets reduced to 14 men.
From this point New Ash Green showed the ability of their backs when given space to run in 5 further tries on the overlap.
The remaining Gravesend players continued to show commitment and passion to make the opposition work as hard as possible for their scores and credit should also go to ian shuttlewood
for embracing a change of scenery to experience life in the second row for the first time.
There is now 4 weeks until the next Gannets fixture so hopefully there will plenty of time for the wounded and broken to heal up and for the side to look to get back to winning ways. On that note all that remains is to wish a Merry Christmas and happy new year to all the players, fans and other readers of this report!