Lordswood vs Southwark Lancers 24-22
Recent meetings between these two sides had been tense close affairs and in bitterly cold conditions a sizeable crowd was hoping this game would provide similar and they were certainly not disappointed.
Southwark had come to play and with the wind in their favour an energetic set of backs had much the better of the early exchanges. With 6 minutes gone a well worked move created the overlap for the winger to finish in the far right corner. The conversion was missed but the signs for Lordswood were ominous.
Southwark continued to press and were rewarded with a penalty right in front. A let off for Lordswood as it slipped to the right of the posts.
By this stage Lords were starting to win ball but not field position. In fact it took nearly 20 minutes for Lords to have any sort of possession in the Southwark half. From a lineout on their own 10 metre line stand in stand-off, Alex Wellings, jinked and broke through. As he roared into the Southwark 22 he offloaded to Paul Hyland who bulldozed his way over the line. For the second week in a row the referee was unsighted and didn’t award the try. From the resulting 5 metre scrum the Lordswood pack drove towards the line and Way picked up and went over only to find out that the Southwark forwards had already been penalised – no advantage. Lordswood opted for another scrum. This time crowhurst could not be denied and a neat conversion from Mike Scaife put Lordswood ahead. 7 – 5.
The pattern of the game was now set and after 27 minutes Southwark notched their second score with a move that was uncannily similar to the first. 5 – 10. Not to be outdone Lordswood came straight back. Another 5 metre scrum. Another try for Crowhurst. 12 – 10.
With half time approaching the Lordswood forwards were now dominant in the scrum where tight head, Sean Frankland, was destroying his opposite number. Drives from Tom Dallas, Stephen Stoppani and Michael Vincentgot the home side into range and again Paul Hyland crossed for the try which was converted by Dave Evans.
Half time 19 – 10.
The second half started very much the same as the first. Great cover tackling kept Southwark out but eventually they found a hole in the Lordswood defence. Was the ball grounded? The Lordswood players and spectators did not think so but the referee did. With the conversion going over the game was now on a knife edge, 19 – 17. The players knew it and the commitment in the tackle reflected it. Spicy!
With 12 minutes remaining the Southwark fly half spotted a gap and danced round covering Lordswood forwards. It looked like he might go all the way but that renowned big hitter Mike Scaife made the tackle in the left hand corner. Southwark recycled and in the best handling move of the game swung the ball through the hands to the right corner for a superb try. They obviously thought this would be the decisive moment and celebrated accordingly. The conversion was missed.
With time running out Scaife pinged the ball into the corner to get Lordswood into the opposition 22. Southwark were pinned down and conceded a penalty 10 yards out. Lordswood went wide. Dave Evans backed himself but Southwark’s drift defence somehow managed to stop him just short.
Southwark now had the opportunity to run down the clock and with a series of neat little drives trundled the ball away from their own line. All looked lost for the home team but the referee spotted a knock on and there would be one last chance.
From the edge of the 22 Lordswood’s scrum gave a final massive effort. Southwark creaked. Lordswood drove closer and closer to the line. Surely not! Would Southwark collapse or wheel? They did neither perhaps fearful of a penalty try and Gareth Lister dropped on the ball as the juggernaut crossed the line.
Conversion missed but it did not matter. Barely enough time for the restart which went into touch heralding the welcome sound of the final whistle.
Any of Lordswood’s front 5 would have been worthy contenders for man of the match but in the end it was awarded to Wayne Crowhurstfor dealing with his two tries far more impressively than his man of the match drink.
Lordswood 1s now have a week off but Lordswood 2nds will be in action at home on the 28th November against Old Gravesendians. Kick off 2.30pm.