Druids v NHSOB (Home) 11 Feb 2012

23-22 Win

Last gasp victory for Druids

Top of the table Druids hosted Newport High School Old Boys in a league encounter on Chippenham Mead. The Druids were seeking a double over the Old Boys having beaten them 29-19 in the game played earlier in the season. There was increased expectancy in the Druids ranks because they have won their last six matches so they were looking to extend the winning run.

The home side had the first opportunity to open the scoring but Captain and kicker Dave Brace missed a 25 metre penalty goal. The Old Boys pack were bigger man for man compared to the Druids Eight and they made it count at the scrum. Their driving mauls were proving difficult to stop and the Old Boys were looking dangerous in this phase of play.

A break by Druids left wing Gareth Jones was snuffed out but the Druids were more effective by moving the ball through the hand. It was from a rarely won scrum that the home side took the lead. Although going backwards Second Row Andy Howells picked up the ball made ground and dived over for the games first try which was not improved.

The Old Boys hit back with a converted try after another spate of driving play from a rock solid scrum which was to gain greater impact as the match progressed.

The running and passing of the Druids backs stretched the Old Boys defence which creaked and groaned. Druids Scrum Half Tom Cratchley weaved his way through the visitor’s ranks and touched down over the try line. This time Dave Brace kicked the conversion to give the Druids a tenuous 12-7 lead.

Just before the interval the Old Boys drew level again from a commanding scrum and a back row move. The failed conversion made the score 12-12 at half time.

Just after the restart, a bout of ‘handbags’ reduced both sides to fourteen players as a player from each side was sent off. The resulting penalty gave the Druids a lead of three points.
The Old Boys with drive after drive forced the Druids into desperate defence. This time the visitors used the blind side to good effect and scored a try near the corner flag. The successful kick from the touch line put the Old Boys into a one point lead. They added to this lead when the Druids were penalised for off side leaving the score at 22-18 in favour of the visitors.

With time running out the resolve and patience of the Druids was tested as they turned down a penalty opportunity seeking the winning try. From inside their own half they went through phase after phase, slowly but surely getting closer to the Old Boys line. Dave Brace made a half break to feed centre Adam Roberts who crossed near the corner flag with barely two minutes remaining. The difficult conversion was not successful but the referee’s whistle blew to give the Druids a 23-22 victory.
This win was testament to Druids determination and their unwillingness to accept defeat. No bonus point but another double and seven wins in succession is to be commended. The pack stuck to their task and the backs took their chances.

Tries: T.Cratchley, A.Howells, A.Roberts
Conv: D.Brace
Pen: D.Brace (2)

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