Ducks 32 - Spartans 31
By Dan Jenner
Same score, different team.
This week saw Anselmians host Manchester Village Spartans at Rivacre Road in the return fixture of a game that saw a top quality performance from the Ducks earlier in the season. This game however would see a much different Ducks side take the field with The Mavericks supplying several players to the second team.
The game began with Anselmians on the front foot, and it was obvious those players that had stepped up had brought some of the Maverick gusto and magic to the game with them. Some strong running lines from Joe Thomas
and Matt Thornton
, supported by Kellum FRIDAY
and Sean Hastewell
saw the Ducks marching up field. A top quality last man tackle from Sam Cotgrave showed his fight in one-on-one siutations, strong ball carrying and tackling from Harrison Child
and Duncan Hendry
, and a vibrant, lively display from our two big men up top Chris McGowan
and Joe Van Eker
( the later lucky to stay on the field after possibly the latest hit that has ever been left on a 10 by 19st prop running full bore with no arms, smiling as he did it. Why you ask, “The midget 10 was pissing me off thinking he was Sexton, so I f**cking nailed him”). Quick ball from the base, with Harry Southern
saw the backs allowed space outwide, and after some great work by the forwards and backs, with some great hands, Christian McIvor
finished fantastically from 30 yards turning Village Spartan defenders inside out. Minutes later another push into the Spartans half from the Ducks saw Sean Hastewell
go close and supply a final pass to Matt Thornton
, who for all sense and purposes had a fantastic game carrying and tackling superbly, who went over near the post. Then Spartans sprang into life with some fantastic running rugby and counter-attacking with maybe Anselmians pushing a bit too hard forcing one too many passes at times. Spartans scored 3 unanswered tries in the next 20 mins to put themselves 14-17 up at half time.
Considering the way in which their opposition had played Ducks were buoyant at the turn of the half after keeping in touch with their opposition.
The second half began though with Spartans on the instant attack nd going over under the poststo allow them to go 10 points ahead. Maybe Anselmians had been caught cold, maybe Anselmians were tired from their performance in the first half, whatever the answer this was not the ideal start. After gathering thoughts, some calming words and some pats on the back Anselmians slowly but surely built their way back into the game, once against the forwards carried strongly pushing the team further and further up field, marshalled by Harry and Gordon Rogers
at 10. Then unsurprisingly to the watching faithful they went over for 3 unanswered scores. Firstly Sean Hastewell
, with a well-deserved try after an effervescent performance which saw him put in time all over the park. The second a good finish from Andy Smith
, who put in some hard yards and showed some good handling. The last, a top quality finish again from Christian McIvor
, who’s strong running and tough defence saw him bag two tries, this one an out-stretched finish with players surrounding him. 29-24 to the Ducks, the Spartans showing nothing and the game is over. Or so we thought! Spartans from nowhere begin to spring back into life and with some good set plays, quick set pieces and some good handling, their full back crossed under the posts with 3mins left on the clock for a converted try and put the Ducks 29-31 behind, deja vu. Only the previous week had a similar scoreline, a similar situation however this time a different goal kicker. Ducks marched back towards the Spartans line and some herculean offense ensured that Spartans infringed 20 metres out, up to the plate steps Gordon. He will probably in 5 years’ time say it was from 50, maybe even 55 metres, the wind blowing a steady 40mph from right to left (it was rather still at this point) and he didn’t have his normal kicking tee (a pure kickers excuse) but up he stepped and slotted home the winning score to ensure that the Ducks stayed in the title race.
The Ducks would like to thank the Mavericks for supplying players this week and hurting their own chances in their own game. They have always supported us fully in situations like this and the clubman attitude of all of the 3’s players is known by the club throughout.