Swans come back from the brink to secure victory
Last years top two face off in season opener
On a glorious day for Rugby the Swans turned up to meet at Rectory field for their season opener against last season’s title rivals to find Old Alleynians warming up…..90 minutes before kick off. Comments of ‘its ok if they tire themselves out’ and ‘I hope they don’t think we will join them’ sounded positive but there was a definite air of concern amongst the old, wily and heavier contingent at GRFC. Last season’s league went to the wire with Old A’s putting up the fight to push the Swans to the penultimate game of the season. With a few of the Swans absent at Weddings, family do’s and some just missing in action Connor Mould
cough cough, the Swans benefited from the Gannets unfortunate cancellation in the week and gained Peter Stone
, Jamie Feighery
and club stalwart Sam Holden
The standard 20 minute Swans warm up was stretched to 30 mins whilst we tried to suss out the oppo’s strengths.
As the game kicked off with the benefit of a number of supporters on the sideline, it was clear it was going to be a battle. Good progress was being made on the pitch with the standard up the jumper rugby that almost beat Old A’s last season assisted by the considerable force of the centre’s Jamie Feighery
and Nick Ormes
. The Swans were dominant in the first few scrums and this continued to be the case throughout the game winning all our own ball and some of the oppo scrums with every one being pushed back by the Swans.
Despite some great defensive play by the Swans the A’s managed a good try resulting from some solid ball retention from what felt like a dozen rucks with the golden haired hooker crashing over from 1 metre. Conversion was good.
The second score came against the run of play when the Swans switched off in their 22 to find a runner breaking a couple of tackles and running the try under the posts which was duly converted.
Not a great start but the Swans were positive of a comeback. Simple mistakes…
After some loss of ball and a maul set up by Captain BRIAN WILLIAMS
off the back of a lineout, some mixed play resulted in a 5 metre scrum to Gravesend. With the dominant scrum there was some expectation of a walkover try but after a couple of metres and a cry from number 10 Carl Sells
of ‘it’s on blind’ No 8 BRIAN WILLIAMS
picked up handing off the flanker from Old A’s and dived over the line for the try. The resulting conversion drifted wide from the new shiny boots of Lee Evans
. We were sure his kicking would improve…
At half time 5 – 19, a score line that did not reflect the dominance the Swans were making across the pitch.
After the short break and some good strings of play Elvis Michael Murray
cut a beautiful line taking the ball and knocked it on into the open arms of the Hibbardesque No. 2 who subsequently sidestepped his way to the posts scoring the try which was cheekily converted by a drop kick…..nice.
Re-energised and optimistic the Swans were freshened up by the presence of Oaf Mark Armitage
who was carrying a rib injury, manned up and started to take some ball at pace slicing through the defence of Old A’S. After a few phases a small gap on the blindside was identified by scrum half Lee Evans
and Oaf obliged by handing of 2 defenders and outpacing the remaining centre to score the try. Lee Evans
new boot were nice….but not for kicking with the oppo having to run for cover as he sprayed it wide. Swans 10 – OA’s 19
Next up was human choo choo train Jamie Feighery
who used his brute strength and uncanny ability to break tackles to find his way through to the try line. I won’t mention the conversion….new boots.
With 15 to go and the OA’s suffering due to the physicality of the Swans it was time for Gareth Moore
playing in an unfamiliar position at second row who finished of some tight phase play carrying several oppo players to the line and managing to place the ball on said line to bring the score to 20-19. Conversion = new boots.
With 7 minutes remaining the Swans managed the clock down with safe hands and ball retention and the final whistle was a blessing.
Standout performances from new Swan and Captains Man of the Match Graham Harvey
on the wing playing his 2nd game since school some years ago, Jamie Feighery
and Mark Armitage
, whose ball carrying had the oppo wincing on multiple occasions. Martin Welsh
keeping up rugby relations with his opposite flanker in his usual friendly manner and Lee Evans
who stood out with shiny new boots and shocking kicking from the tee.
Post game drinks flowed with the OA’s remaining for frivolities.
The Swans triumphant in what was a tough game against tough oppo made harder by simple mistakes.
However starting the season with a W against last years toughest team was a sweet as the port that followed.
Many Thanks to the Gannets who came along and contributed heavily to the result.
(The order of scoring may be slightly out but who cares!)