It was a frustrating morning for our Gary.The butt of everyones jokes on both the Gannets and Moles groups after a woeful performance by the Irish against Japan,he seemingly 'done a Vid' and quit the Gannets group in a fit of pique,prompting Gannets captain Steve Wootton to send pleading messages to the not as jovial as usual Irishman.
Of course,it was all a rib and Paddy had no intention of quitting the Gannets to take up bodybuilding like his Lithuanian former team mate and he took his place at the rear of a ridiculously strong Gannets pack,even with Mayhem back at 4,which would set the tone from the off in front of an unusually large (for the Gannets) crowd on the banana pitch.The backs were also boosted by the return of DannyO and John Booth at fullback,in for Freddie Taylor.
But Canterbury,being Canterbury were no mugs and they put in a shift in open play,shutting down the big Gravesend runners with some strong tackling and it was they who in fact opened the scoring with a quick burst up the field and a snipe around the blind side of the ruck to catch the Gees defence napping to score in the corner.
The Gannets pack were starting to wear out their visitors in the scrums and pretty much spent the rest of the period camped inside the Canterbury 22 bar the odd clearance kick and it came as no surprise when first Brian Williams and then the aforementioned Irishman both crossed the line in quick succession.I'd love to give the readers a blow by blow account of these tries but,hey it's Monday night and I really can't remember.What I can remember though is that Connor Watkins added a conversion and then a penalty to take the score to 15-5 before a Canterbury penalty made it 15-8 at the half.
The upshot of the Gannets powerful scrummaging was that Canterbury lost a prop through injury and we had the dreaded uncontested scrums which whilst robbing the Gees of a massive advantage,also reduced the game to a scrappy,midfield slugfest for large parts of the second half brightened up only by a bizarre chesting the ball into touch incident by the Canterbury winger which everyone is gutted they didn't catch on camera and also Gravesend's third try which was and i'm not exaggerating here,was a quite sublime display of running,passing and offloading which took them almost the length of the field.The key pass to set Aron Peckett free to outstrip the Canterbury defence came from Martin Riley who may well look like he's just rocked up from 24 hours in 'Spoons via a kebab shop but he is also a damn fine player when he wants to be.Riley threw a bullet pass which took out most of the visitors back line to set the Gannets hooker free to score.
So with the job seemingly done,the home side took it easy for the last 10 minutes or so and Canterbury deservedly got the second try and conversion that their efforts deserved with the last play of the game and 20-15 it finished.
Another strong showing by the Gannets here and were it not for Canterburys herculean defensive showing then the score could have been a great deal more.
A couple of weeks off from league action now for the boys before they entertain their next door neighbours on the 13th.
Will Ireland still be in the World Cup by then?
Who knows or cares but it's sure as hell going to fun reading Paddy's WhatsApp contributions between now and then.
Until next time..