“Why did you stop bullying us up front?”. That question from the Gravesend coach at the conclusion of Saturday’s proceedings summed things up.
15 minutes into the game the Colfeians were flying. A perfectly executed mall from a lineout saw Gunner get the scoring underway. From the restart the Colfeians continued to play possession rugby and implement the week’s training objective of ball retention. This approach paid dividends and led to Captain and walking advertisement for a northern diet, John Fletcher, crashing over from short range.
At this stage of the game it looked like the Colfes would kick on and secure a morale boosting, high scoring win. The game could and should have been over by half time given how dominant the Colfes start had been. That was not to be however. After their second try the Colfes played most of the remainder of the half without the ball. The penalty count was their worst enemy and 10 minutes before the half this eventually told as Gravesend snuck over from half a metre out.
It was apparent at half time that the Colfes were the better team and man for man they had the beating of their opponents. In sport, however, that counts for little unless you go out and implement your skills and what you’ve practiced. The second half continued much as the first had ended. Whilst Gravesend rarely threatened the Colfes with ball in hand, the Colfes continued to concede territory through penalties and failed to play the possession game that had yielded such positive results at the start of the match.
The only try of the second half came from the Gravesend winger following a well worked set play from a scrum. The Colfes responded and a couple of penalty kicks saw them lead 18-17 with only two minutes left on the clock. At this point the Colfeians conceded yet another penalty 40m out from their own line. The Gravesend kicker had not had a good day with the boot and so it was only natural that he slotted the ensuing attempt at goal straight over the middle of the posts. With a minute left on the clock the Colfeians fought hard to get their hands back on the ball but it was not to be and the game ended with yet another penalty against them.
The result was a hard one take as the team knew that ultimately they had lost because they had not played as they were capable of. However, there was a grim resolve in the changing room after the match and a recognition by the players that it was in their own hands to redress the situation and play their way back up the league. A strong reaction is expected at training this week and next Saturday the start of the cup offers the perfect opportunity for the revival to begin.