Friday Night Lights!! It’s always nice to break from the norm and the Kent Cup QF clash between OEs and OCs didn’t disappoint. With the anticipation building throughout the week, both teams turned up ready to go – there was an electric atmosphere at the Rectory Field.
It’s no secret that OEs are building a formidable set up at the moment, but we’re not doing too bad ourselves. Earlier in the season we lost narrowly to them, albeit both teams were a bit different in personnel, so we were chomping at the bit to put that right.
Early signs were positive as we took the lead via a penalty after a good number of phases. Our tails were up but it was early days and OEs had other ideas. Their excellent backs were hurting us in broken play, and it wasn’t a surprise that after a couple of missed tackles OEs got on the board, 5-3.
Both teams were showing plenty of endeavour and the skill level was high. It was also a brutal game with the contact intensity around the breakdown as tough as I’d seen it this season.
OEs were next to score again, once again breaking us down through their dangerous backs, converted this time 12-3.
A miraculous last ditch tackle by Louis saved the game running away from us, and the boys really stuck to the task getting over the gainline on numerous occasions to create quick ball. Close quarters pressure eventually led us bullocking over for our first (and only) try, it was game on!! 12-10.
Half time came and went without the scoreboard changing, but the excitement not diminishing. The chat was good at half time and the boys fully believed they could go on and win the match if we stuck to our plan. Unfortunately this wasn’t quite to be.
For all our endeavours in the second half, a missed penalty was our only real chance at pushing our score forward. With credit to OEs they applied pressure very well and their bench made a big impact. We on the other hand seemed to start to run out of gas and although our intent was still there, we were getting isolated far too often and turnovers were becoming a problem for us.
The OEs flyhalf had an impeccable night with the boot, and three penalties on a relatively short period of time almost killed the match with still 10 to play, 21-10. We never gave up though, and I think a mention must go to Charlie who never quite seems to run out of puff, a monumental effort.
But ALL the boys did their part, and in the last few minutes there were bodies from both teams strewn across the pitch. As the final whistle sounded, most players seemed to collapse more than anything else, a sure sign of a great game.
Congratulations to OEs who deserved the win and we wish them all the best for the rest of the competition.
For us, we have to lick our wounds, dust ourselves down, and get ready for the Plate competition which we’re focussed on winning now.
As always, the coaches and club are very proud of all the lads, and hopefully experiences like this will only make them stronger going forward.
Onwards and upwards.