Druids v Pill Harriers (away) 31 Jan 2015

24-7 Win

Winning isn't Easy

The journey to Tredegar Park, Newport awaited the Druids against Pill Harriers in a league game. The squad was made up of experienced players and a large number of 18 year olds who were available because the Youth game was cancelled. The team makeup was therefore untried and uncertain.

A strong wind blew down the pitch but the overhead conditions were bright and dry. The Druids lost the toss and as expected were asked to play into the wind. Who would use the elements to the best advantage?
Pill were man for man bigger than the visitors and they made it pay it pay in the scrum which put the Druids on the back foot. The partisan home crowd hoped to influence the referee who already had his hands full controlling the game.

Pill had the first opportunity to score but the penalty kick was hooked wide of the left hand post. Despite the advantage of the elements, the Druids were forced to defend and the strong running of the home side forwards was causing problems. Gradually the Druids came more into the game and it was their backs who held the advantage.

A scrum in the Pill 22 metre area saw Druids Outside Half Josh Lawrence slice through to touch down behind the posts. Full Back Kris Gordon converted to edge the visitors ahead 7-0 perhaps against the run of play.

Pill drew the scores level with a try from a line out deep in the Druids half. A clean catch resulted in driving play which resulted in a try wide out near the corner flag. A fine conversion kick brought the score to 7 points each.

It was Lawrence again whose play squeezed the Druids ahead. The visitors won a scrumage again in the Pill 22 metre area. Lawrence saw the oncoming home defence charging up and he deftly put in a delicate chip over the up rushing Pill backs. Druids centre Dan Williams gathered the ball and touched down for a try to put the Druids in front 12-7 as the whistle went for half time.

Would the 5 points lead be sufficient playing into the weather conditions but the superior back play of the visitors gave optimism.
The restart saw Pill mount attack after attack on the Druids try line but determined and heroic defence kept them at bay. A real positive was the introduction of Matt Ricketts at tight head prop. He steadied the scrum and put things on an even keel in this aspect of play.

As expected the Druids ran the ball out of defence and Pill found it difficult to contain these attacks. From one such attack initiated by Number Eight Tom Hawkins the Druids extended their leave. The ball was moved along the line starting deep in their own half. Good short passing and support play saw Centre Chris Reed crash over for the Druids third try converted by Kris Gordon.

The Druids extended their lead still further with a try similar to the previous effort. The play starting from inside their half was supported by forwards and backs deep in the Pill 22 metre area. Prop Matt Ricketts found himself close to home line and he must have been tempted to ‘have a go’. Instead he fed Hooker Jo Christopher who just got the ball down before being rolled over. So a hard fought victory of 24-7 which keeps the Druids pushing for the top spot in the league.

There is an old saying that the forwards decide if you win matches and the backs decide by how much. This was certainly true on this occasion. A mixture of the young and not so young fronted up and blended into a winning combination.

It is invidious to name individuals but some deserve special mention. Flanker Dan Ansty tackled and tackled. Busy scrum half Nathan Cocker and Josh Lawrence made things tick. Second Row Cameron Brown showed up well as did Tom Hawkins whose off loading needs watching.

A sting in the tale from the Druids was the bonus point from a fourth try.

Tries: J.Lawrence, D.Williams, C.Reed, J.Christopher
Conv: K.Gordon (2)

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