Southwark Rebels 27 - 29 Sidcup 3rd XV
A shower of sh*t, but we steal the W..
By Joe Holsgrove.
After a courageous match forfeit by Erith and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, Saturday 17th saw us away at Southwark. Having played them earlier in the season we knew it was going to be a tough game, but not as much of a slog as we made it for ourselves.
Kick off. Southwark start and we are quick to display poor tackling and dropped passes- eventually resulting in conceding a try within the first ten minutes. They convert it. 7-0.
Seb restarts and a few minutes’ unglamorous rugby follows before aimless kicking with no chase puts us under pressure, not to mention actually forgetting to chase down our own kicks. We finally regain some attacking shape and Southwark are on the back foot until Mike butchers a four man overlap 10m from the tryline (sorry mate, I didn’t make these notes). We retain possession but make hard work for ourselves before Anton trundles over the line and gets us 5 points (he’s a club man don’t you know). Seb misses. 7-5.
At this moment, the ever-dedicated supporters found themselves participating in a spot of second-hand law-breaking, as a cloud of Class B smoke engulfed the touchline.
Back on the pitch, we make our way into their half with 1-out rugby - much to the disappointment of the back line, who had good numbers and the potential to go for it. The hard work prevails and we are soon 5m from the try line, however the possession is short-lived when the ball is lost forward as it’s taken into contact. Southwark carry the ball for a while but a big hit from Sam Foster (wearing his badge as his armour) stops them and we manage to regain possession. Yet again, up we go to their 5m line but this time are turned over in the ruck. Southwark carry the ball into our half.
A few minutes later the whole of South London went into complete panic as they heard the piercing screams of someone who’d been shot. Luckily it wasn’t a gunman, but in fact James Fairbrass’ reaction to hurting his ankle in contact. At this point we should remind ourselves just how much of a remarkable recovery was made in time to go out Saturday night. Extraordinary.
The game resumes but poor tackling and lack of discipline at breakdowns result in a penalty. Southwark opt to kick. 10-5.
Soon after the restart we are awarded a penalty. Seb kicks for touch and after a majestic throw in by Anton, Chris Orford secures the ball at 5. The forwards get around it and initiate a clean maul, then quick thinking from JT gains us a few yards. A cheeky offload to Fin and boom. Try. Seb converts, 10-12.
Half time. Tom assures everybody that it is shit, lazy and not good enough for a team that is top of the league.
Young blood on. Fraser Woodey and Melon join us in the forwards and soon make a difference. Seb kicks a penalty for the corner and after Melon won the line out going straight up at the front, Fraser crashed through to score with his first touch of the ball. Seb converts with a nice curling kick from far left. 10-19.
We begin to show some intensity, flying up and hitting some tackles but still missing more often than not. From the sideline it looks completely different to how we have played all year and to some extent would’ve made people question how we were top of the league. A high tackle gives Southwark a chance to kick for the corner and they maul it over the line but miss the conversion. 15-19.
Bickering ensues under the posts, but fortunately Odhran was there to voice his piece of mind from the sideline. ‘BE THE ONE WHO MAKES THE DIFFERENCE’.
50 minutes of marijuana inhalation and some Irish inspirational statements saw Tom Dunster bring himself on at 8 for Harry Wilford. A further 10 minutes of dire rugby left us 8 points down with 5 mins to go. Wilford came back on but decided to tackle someone with his face, resulting in a nose break and blood all over my nice white shirt. We battled our way up the pitch, when all of a sudden Seb’s line break gave us some hope. He offloaded to JT, who swiftly crossed the line and stole us another 5 points. Seb converted it. 27-26.
Soon after, Tom Dunster secretly put on a red and black jersey and mysteriously gave away a shocking penalty in front of the posts. As they kicked to us, Seb stopped the ball with his foot and Tom repeatedly ignored him (and everyone else) screaming not to pick it up. This was an outrageous decision for a coach and an experienced rugby player with 2nd team caps. Gasps were heard all the way back to Crescent Farm, where people reportedly bowed their heads in shame. He was trying his hardest to lose the game for us, but then remembered his true colours and redeemed himself in the play that followed, by holding up the ball carrier in the tackle and winning the ball back.
Last phase of the game. We are awarded a penalty on their 22 and Seb steps up to kick for points. He fucking gets it! 27-29. Final whistle goes. Southwark are fuming and our fun-bus remains that way.
So what can we take away from all this? Apart from stealing a W in the dying seconds, it was generally not a great game of rugby. Failure to listen to each other cost us width across the pitch in both attack and defence and simple errors cost us needless penalties. Fortunately, youth in the team dug us out of a shit situation in the form of Sebastian Ellison, Sam Foster, Tom O’Neil and Fraser Woodey all putting in great shifts. A tense 80 minutes for all involved, both on and off the pitch.
MOM - Seb Ellison