Disciplined defensive display fails to halt Bromsgrove comeback victory
By russell vale
Stroud U15s lose in the final minute after a great team performance
Another Sunday, another away game, another 1+ hours travel, another team starting with “B”. This time it was Bromsgrove that would be our next opponents. Things didn’t start well. An inadvertent fire alarm trigger gave us 20 minutes of ringing noise. Fortunately it was after the 2 minutes Remembrance silence. Fortunately it was still more pleasing on the ear than most of the music the kids had chosen to play on the way up to get themselves in game mode. Unfortunately warmups were rubbish with game heads left in Gloucestershire. Could the team re-focus and put in a performance of pride with a big bruising Bromsgrove squad waiting for us on a windy leaf covered pitch?
Forwards: Lucas, Liam, Bailey, Mr T, Jedd, Harry, Stoner, Laurie
Backs: Hilly, Will, Dave, Keyan, Arthur, Fin, Alex
Subs: Orgy, Bernie, Euan, Haydn, Callum, Darion, Flash, Jamie
Stroud kicked off and Bromsgrove caught it acrobatically. Good pressure in contact though forced a knockon. Stroud won their scrum with a great forward push and Hilly quickly set the backs loose. Will timed his pass to Dave perfectly and Dave cut his way through the Bromsgrove backs and scored in the right corner. Wills kick just missed but Stroud had started fast and up by 5.
Bromsgrove kicked long and Stoner did well to run it back. The forwards went Rhino but the ball was knocked forward. Bromsgrove won their scrum restart on the Stroud 22 and quickly moved the ball left. Fin and Liam put in try saving tackles. More desperate defence gave an offside penalty that Bromsgrove kicked to the corner. They won their lineout and moved the ball quickly to the backs who crashed over the line. The conversion in front of the posts was a formality and Bromsgrove took the lead at 7-5.
Strouds kickoff bounced out of play. Bromsgrove won their lineout and the forwards pounded the Stroud line. Mr T and Harry both put in powerful tackles. Bromsgrove resorted to a kick game and Fin was ready to recover the ball. Bromsgrove were quick to the contact though and forced a turnover in the next phase. Stoner put in a flying tackle that forced a turnover. Stroud then attacked back with Dave, Harry and Bailey making good yardage. The ball came out right to the backs and good interchange between Will, Alex and back to Will gave space for Arthur to attack. Bromsgrove were quick to see the threat and force Arthur towards touch but an excellent offload pass back inside to a well supporting Keyan kept the attack alive on halfway. Keyan saw his opportunity and cut back across the pitch and swerved around a few desperate tackles and powered his way over the line for a great try under the posts. Wills kick regained Stroud the lead at 12-7.
This time Bromsgrove’s kickoff went to touch. Laurie won the lineout ball cleanly but the ball was soon knocked on in the backs. Bromsgrove took the attack on but thundering “lift and carry” tackles from Dave, Keyan and Harry pushed (and carried) Bromsgrove back 15 metres! Eventually Stroud were penalised and Bromsgrove regained the yards with a kick to touch. They wasted their lineout though in the Stroud 22 and Dave kicked long. Bromsgrove were under pressure from a great kick chase and knocked on. The next few minutes of the game was alternating scrums through powerful tackling and ball handling errors from both sides. Laurie was again dominating the lineout with great support from the lifters (boom, boom!). A great driving maul gained 15 metres. The ball went through the backs to the left, and then back to the right with a great move from Will, Arthur and Alex that was eventually knocked on but had shown Bromsgrove how tricky the Stroud backline was going to be to defend.
Bromsgrove won their scrum restart and attacked right but another powerful tackle from Keyan jarred the ball loose. Bailey took on the attack and ran over a few players. Will gruber kicked right but Bromsgrove winger did well to recover the ball under pressure from Dave. Stroud forced a turnover and Will saw a gap and kicked left into the try area and Fin dived on the ball for an excellent try – ball in hand or ball off foot – Stroud were electric so far. So much for a rubbish warmup. Will’s excellent conversion kick into the wind stretched the lead to 19-7.
Bromsgrove kicked off and Stroud went into panic mode. The ball bounced around. They managed to recover it and then throw wild passes. Eventually the madness stopped as Bromsgrove were awarded a scrum. This gave Bromsgrove an excellent attacking platform. They spent minutes going left and right and pressurising the Stroud line with desperate tackling from Jedd, Lucas and Mr T keeping them out. Various penalty restarts for Bromsgrove still couldn’t get them over the line. Eventually rip-tackle specialist Arthur won Stroud the ball and Will’s clearing kick was charged down and went out the back of the try area. Stroud had a 22 drop out that Will kicked long and Bromsgrove let bounce into touch. Bromsgrove won their lineout but didn’t make much yardage as Will and Mr T tackled them well. The ball was jarred loose and Darion recovered it well and started to attack. Will took it on and Keyan also made good distance before Bromsgrove were penalised and Will kicked for touch.
Euan won the lineout and the backs attacked left. Dave went crash ball. Quick recycling kept the attack left with Alex and Fin. Eventually the ball went loose. More subs were taken as Dave was carried off the pitch with an ankle injury – out for the rest of the game. Bromsgrove won the scrum restart and attacked upto halfway. Good tackles from Laurie and Euan caused a knockon. Stroud won their scrum on halfway and attacked right. Will dummied right and a gap opened up that he excellently exploited. As he looked for support he saw another gap and straightened for the line and scored an excellent individual try in the right hand corner. The kick from wide just missed but Stroud were in charge as the half time whistle went.
Half Time: Bromsgrove 7-24 Stroud
More subs were taken to bring fresh legs onto the pitch. It had been a great defensive effort to keep Bromsgrove at bay and great line discipline and positioning showed the Friday night training session had been learnt well by everyone.
Bromsgrove kicked off and Flash ran it back well. Liam took the next pounding run. Bromsgrove were good at the breakdown and forced another turnover but Bernie did well to tackle straight back and force another turnover. Will kicked long and Flash put in a spectacular tackle against the returning runner. Bromsgrove were under pressure but kept the ball alive and kicked it away to Fin who himself came under pressure. Good rucking from Stroud kept the ball under control and Will returned the kick. A good kick chase hemmed Bromsgrove in but somehow they managed to go blind with the ball and tiptoe down the line and score in the left corner. Their kicker was unlucky to rattle the post from out wide. Stroud now leading 24-12.
Stroud were quick to re-impose themselves on the game though. Bromsgrove knocked on the kickoff. Stroud won their scrum with Bernie, Callum and Orgy combining well up front. Will attacked right and again saw another gap that he slipped through. As the tacklers closed he passed out to Keyan who punched his way over the line for a try. Another difficult kick just missed but Stroud were up 29-12.
Bromsgrove kicked off and Keyan ran it back well. Then pounder Liam pushed into the Bromsgrove half. Stroud were trying to be clever with the ball and it went loose. Bromsgrove won the scrum restart on halfway and attacked left. Their big guy exploited some gaps and missed tackles in the Stroud line and scored under the posts. An easy kick made the score 29-19.
Fin chased Wills kickoff and forced a Bromsgrove knockon. Stroud were looking to attack but Bromsgrove infringed at the breakdown. Will kicked for the corner and another try beckoned but Stroud lost their own lineout forward. Bromsgrove won their scrum and attacked left. Stroud were penalised at the breakdown and Bromsgrove kicked long for touch. The ball stayed in with Alex catching cleanly. The backs attacked back quickly but Bromsgrove forced their own turnover. They attacked back but stout defending from Keyan, Mr T and Alex kept Bromsgrove in check. They eventually forced themselves into the Stroud 22 but lost the ball in contact with Callum. Orgy snaffled the ball and made some good yardage. Harry had an immense clearout and carried his opponent into next week. More Rhinos with Jedd and Stoner cleared some space but the ball got dislodged and Bromsgrove had a scrum restart on the Stroud 22. They won and went left and got close to the line. More stout defending held them up and Harry was harshly adjudged to have gone offside when tackling their 9. A yellow card was his reward….Following in his Dad’s footsteps in all aspects of the game! Bromsgrove took a quick tap penalty and exploited the disorganised Stroud defensive line and scored an easy try on the left. The conversion was missed but Bromsgrove were only a try behind at 29-24.
Stroud kicked off and quickly won a turnover through good work by Haydn and Bernie. Lucas and Bailey went on punishing runs. The game was stopped for an injury and Bromsgrove were awarded a scrum restart. They punched their way through the middle again then swerved right and only an Arthur/Darion combi tackle into touch stopped another try threatening move. Laurie again won the lineout and Will kicked wide right to touch. Bromsgrove won their lineout and went left. Haydn did a good tackle. The ball was fed back to Alex who kicked long, and was then 1st there with the kick chase. Will took the turnover ball and Bailey went on another run. Stroud were attacking and defending well with 14 men. The ball was kept alive with different phases trying to run the clock down. Eventually Stroud lost the ball and Bromsgrove attacked back quickly to their left. Their powerful back forced his way past a few desperate tackles and crossed the try line in the far left corner, and then kept his head to run it close to the posts. A nerveless conversion gave Bromsgrove the lead back at 31-29 with less than 1 minute remaining.
Stroud kicked off and Bromsgrove kept it alive. They ran it back hard and Jamie put in a good tackle. Bromsgrove were penalised at the ruck and Stroud had a penalty right on halfway as time expired. Will wanted to kick for touch but the ref said he would blow full time which confused the onlookers. Will had no choice but to kick for the posts from halfway in difficult conditions. His gallant effort was on target but just short. Bromsgrove kicked the ball out and celebrated their comeback victory as the ref blew for time.
Full Time: Bromsgrove 31-29 Stroud
Both teams congratulated each other for an excellent game. It truly was a game of 2 halves. Stroud dominant in the first half, and Bromsgrove coming back strongly in the last part of 2nd half to squeeze past and earn the victory. Stroud’s defensive effort had come up just short but it was still a great performance to be proud of from all the players. Great defensive discipline for 55 minutes, but just a few missed tackles had been exploited to give Bromsgrove their 5 tries. Stroud too had scored 5 tries so a sporting draw seems a good result for us, but the official score-line gave victory to Bromsgrove.
Back to the changing rooms and then snacks and beer in the clubhouse. Thanks to Bromsgrove for a great game of rugby – well worth the trip to get some more coaching points to work on. We look forward to a return fixture next season.
Next week it’s the big derby vs Minch. Time to get back on the winning run again as no one likes losing and its much more fun winning.