ST JOSEPHS 14
“Playing at places such as Heath Park can easily generate a negative attitude amongst an ambitious squad and although the game didn’t have much in the way of sparkling rugby we came through with the bonus point.” Commented Director of Rugby Martyn Fowler.
On a blustery afternoon the wind had a significant influence on the game with both sides struggling early on in the conditions. The Wanderers were struggling to get tempo into their game and St Josephs were showing determination in everything they did. There was an exchange of penalty attempts from the two young outside halves on show but Luke Fish and the Joes number ten found the wind a little too strong for long range penalty attempts. Eventually the visitors found some continuity and it set up the first score of the day. Moving the ball wide from a set piece Emerson Bessell made good ground despite the attention of several defenders and when the ball was recycled Dan Crimmins found some space. He fed Peter Lloyd who charged into the 22. Once again recycled ball was moved wide and a try was denied by an offside defence. Crimmins declined the easy 3 points available and he took a quick tap. Bessell was on hand to read the play and he crashed over 0-5. Fish converted 0-7. The home side responded well. They started to exert a period of pressure and the Wanderers were compromised by the loss of Bessell and Lloyd with injury with under 30 minutes played. The home side were finding the visiting defence a tough nut to crack despite the efforts of their impressive half backs and the Wanderers scrum was starting to give the home side plenty to think about. Just before the half time whistle the Wanderers were further inconvenienced after a series of penalties were awarded whilst they were on the defensive in their own 22. Eventually the referee ran out of patience and the visitors were down to 14 for the rest of the half. Despite the lack of one man the defence was strong and just as the Joes looked likely to score they were stunned By Nick Jones. On the attack in the red zone Josh Sheehan intercepted and he galloped off down field. As the gas ran out in the opposition half he was joined by Jones who had the legs and raced away to score and send the sides into the break at 0-12.
The second half began following the pattern of the first with the home side dominating the majority of the possession without really threatening the Wanderers line. The visitors increased their lead in a very similar fashion to the second try. The Joes were on the attack and when they spilled a ball out wide Jones gathered the ball in his 22. As many sides have found Jones has real pace and in seconds he was away. The defence were left floundering and although there was a poor “Lynchie” showboating impression on his way to the line he comfortably scored the Wanderers third try. Fish converted 0-19. The home side could easily have become demoralised by this but they responded well. They dominated possession and territory for a long period of time and when the Wanderers did break out they were guilty of a lack of composure when it mattered. Both sides rang the changes as more and more Wanderers left the field injured and the game stuttered along. Joes were rewarded for their hard work with a converted try after some poor defending of a loose ball 7-19 but the game was finally put to bed when a period of pressure from the visitors saw Ryan Hall crash over from short range to give the Wanderers their bonus point. Codey Rees, on as a sub, converted 7-26. The last few minutes were played out with passive scrums after Haval Ibrahim was yellow carded for an offside offence and this provided a platform for the home side to run in their second try and reduce the final arrears to 14-26.
‘Massiv’ man of the match Nick Jones
Tries: Emerson Bessell, Nick Jones (2), Ryan Hall
Cons: Luke Fish (2), Codey Rees (1)