Mossley Hill 24 - Anselmians 31
By Dan Jenner
Superlatives abound !
Where do we start. The ultimate definition of a game of two halves.
It’s was ‘The Perfect Storm’ of rugby. Two evenly matched teams , strong wins, steep slope and 80 mins of scintillating. Edge of the seat stuff.
The Mavs arrived en masse at Mossley Hill fielding a good mix of youth and experience with a welcome to Sean Hastewell who led by example and held the pack in shape providing a solid base from which run operations. Skipper Andy Smith taking overall control of the team from the centre of the park with the Gaffer screaming instructions from the sidelines like a demented banshee. So the systems were in place all we needed now were the players.
The first half commenced with The Mavs playing up the hill and into the strong wind against a strong committed Hill team. It didn’t take too long to realise that a potentially torrid day was on the cards with two Hill tries in the first 15 minutes. The tactics deployed showed a ‘round the corner’ running approach using their big heavyweight pack then quickly through the hands to the wingers who scampered over. The analysis was difficult as looking at the way The Mavs were playing we weren’t doing anything fundamentally wrong, we were strong in defence and the forwards and inside backs were fronting up to the onslaught, it’s just that Hill were managing to turn possession into points and more importantly we couldn’t get our hands in the pill.
A further two tries in the first half, one of which was the subject of a particularly vicious bounce that completely did Dion inside out, absolutely nothing he could have done.
So 24-0 at half time and a frustrated Gaffer was lost for words at the half time team talk. Not through anger or annoyance but through disbelief and incredulity. How were we in this position? Why had we gone 24-0 down? they weren’t that good and we weren’t that bad. Just ‘something’ wasn’t clicking. We needed to get hold of the ball recycle phases a few times then get it through the backs and there was no reason why points should not come.
So the second half began ..........
What followed over the next forty minutes could only be described as ‘awesome’. The Mavs turned on the style, ran at the right times, kicked at the right times, scrummaged like they were possessed, basically completely dominated every phase of the game . Hill must’ve wondered what was going on . The same emotions experienced by the Gaffer at half time were now being heaped upon the Hill team. Try after try came down upon the Hill team and the Mavs put 31 unanswered points on the board to secure a fabulous win over a very good and very strong Hill squad.
When writing I have run out of superlatives to describe the performance of both the team and individuals other thank to say that it was the epitome of a game of two halves.
The above generalised the overall game however players need a special mention. In a stunning team performance it is always difficult to single out individuals, however once again, the youngsters came of age and showed what an incredible future we could have as a team. Sean Walker has another great game in the back row with debutants Sam Cotty and Charlie Carter playing with the courage, skill and determination of players considerable more experienced. Charlie impressing with midfield interception showing maturity to look for support as opposed to getting isolated. Charlie made a huge impact with two well taken tries and Sam running great lines at speed and tackling opposition twice his size ensured the Hill backs thought twice about going into contact. Billy Alderson continues to shine with some incredible tackling which saved a number of tries. The front row of Joe, Eddie, and Mike which completed dominated in the second half provided the anchor from which phases could be run. Taggy, Ryan Williams, super sub Del
and Dion all bossed the back lines line pro’s.
Points this week came from:-
Liam McGowan - 1 Try
Hastey -1 Try
Christian Elwell -1 Try
Charlie Carter - 1 Try
Ben Tagg - 1 Try + 3 Conv
Apologies if I’ve got any of the above wrong, I am getting in a bit old now
However after all the great individual performances this weeks man of the match goes to Hastey one of the ‘old guard’, for an excellent game martialing the team and leading the pack, getting a try, and providing an overall solid performance ensuring that heads didn’t drop when we were losing and getting the pack to dominate therefore securing clean ball for the backs.
Thanks to everyone for an incredible afternoon of rugby a fabulous fightback and a glimpse of how The Mavericks can play when under great pressure.
Semel a Mavericus, Semper a Mavericus