Sheppey stay classy
By Matt Clarke
There was certainly no disgrace In an ultimately narrow defeat for the Gannets to a team some five divisions above them.
Onto the small matter of this match....where to start? The Gees honestly weren't expecting this match to be played,But with Sheppey's first XV not having a game this weekend,they knew what was coming..and it did.So this match report is from the point of view of a social team playing against a Kent 1 team.Because that's what happened.
With an 1 and 4 record this season,no doubt Sheppey thought they'd turn up and roll over a Gravesend 4th team by some 40 points or so.Who knows? That was certainly the way it looked early on when things weren't going their way.They were being outmuscled and pushed back in the scrums and finding it difficult to make headway through a determined Gees defence,well marshalled by Connor Watkins having another excellent game in all aspects at 10.Sheppeys petulance cost them midway through the half as they had a player binned for kicking the ball away in an offside position.The resulting penalty lead to a sort of crash ball from Mayhem but he somehow fed the oncoming Jamie Feighery who drove over the line for the opening,unconverted score.
With Connor Watkins adding a penalty kick,the Gees were largely in control of proceedings throughout the first half and the Sheppey sideline went into meltdown.Bitching and moaning at every single decision to the point where the author of piece remarked that he had come to the rugby club to escape whining and moaning only to find much worse.And then there was the quite frankly inexcusable casual racism directed at Gannets fullback Vidmantus Petrauskas who ,once again is the greatest Lithuanian rugby player currently living in the Gravesend area. 'yoo wot mayte?' 'Don't understancha mayte' and other such barbs were directed at him and very nearly replied in the perfect way by scoring a try but was held up a
So it was 8-0 at the half and the Gannets knew that the second period would be a bit tasty as they had thoroughly embarrassed their visitors for the previous 40.And so it was as Sheppey came out of blocks and down the hill at a furious pace.The Gees tackled valiantly but were ultimately outgunned as Sheppey scored next to the posts..and then missed an easy conversion to give them hope.
The Gannets were soon up at their visitors line following some fine approach play from Steve Wootton and escpecially James Kurszewski who was a thorn in the side of the Sheppey backs all day,and but for some serious white line fever,would surely have scored.Turn the ball over they did,however and Sheppey made the most of it to march downfield to score a converted try past a tired Gees defence,The Celebrations were as if they'd won the Premiership trophy itself and not those of a team that had just sneaked ahead of a side they should,on paper,have been handling quite comfortably.
With the visitors 12-8 up you would have though that they would have calmed down and settled into the game but no,the high tackles,tip tackles,whingeing and moaning continued,as did another yellow card.You could have been forgiven for thinking that you were at a kids soccer match such was the volume of complaints levelled at the official from the touchline.By the way,the ref did a a sterling job under difficult circumstances having to put up with the high pitched whining and also being assessed to boot.He could be forgiven for missing a forward pass in the build up to Sheppeys final try,which they celebrated with scenes not seen since to end of World War 2,as he was the wrong side of a pile of players.
So 8-19 was the final and Sheppeys first XV finally got their first win of the season but man,must they they be a little humble in victory as they were second best in the scrums to a bunch of old blokes,a 17 year old Ben Mayhew who once again was subbed multiple times and Martin Riley who had to spew last nights excesses up before entering the fray.
Kent one?? You're 'aving a laugh!
Until next time......