The Good, The Bad & The Ugly at Gosforth ! (match report from Neil Young)
By Dave Pearson
Selection this week was reminiscent of a hokey, cokey championship, In, Out, Shake the team about....! This led to some last minute changes and some favours called in by club stalwarts to ensure the game went ahead.
This brings us nicely onto the good !
Ste Bryce was called into the squad on Friday to make up a front row accompanied by club legend Charlie Challenor who at the ripe age of 64 made his third start of the season. Paul Barker was called into the back three as late as Friday too and forever young Paul Evans was enjoying a beer on Friday evening when he got the text to fill the shirt of the 18th man to cover the backs.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you for your sterling efforts and attitude towards rugby at Redcar, we can only hope the junior players coming through the club adopt this attitude to ensure we are player rich in years to come and you can all enjoy rugby from the stands with a well earned pint in hand.
The remaining of the good came in the first half. Redcar kicked off with a howling gale behind them and quickly put Gosforth under pressure, unfortunately on two separate occasions the ball was given up far to easy in contact and a sure try gone with the wind.
Scrums were solid and gave Redcar some good platforms to play from and it was from a scrum Redcar gained their first score, a well worked backs move found Gabe Holmes in space and he evaded both winger and full back to score the first points of the afternoon just after the five minute mark, conversion missed.
Redcar remained the dominant side throughout the first half with Gosforth struggling to clear their lines and some unforced errors had them under constant pressure however Redcar failed to capitalise and squandered further opportunities with poor decision making and extremely poor ball retention.
Now onto the ugly.......
As the half progressed Gosforth discipline slipped somewhat and Redcar were given a series of penalties, each time opting to run, with the lineout not working and Daniel Addison reluctant to kick for points, options were limited and with that so was the score line.
Jake Duddles Who was pulling the strings at 10 had to leave the field, once again with a thumb injury which meant a reshuffle in the backline and Paul Evans entering the field at scrum half.
From a scrum 10m out Redcar moved the ball wide to a certain try with a 3 man overlap only for Gosforth players to alert the referee to a head injury, the referee stopped play and returned to the collision site, Cian Briggs was returning to his feet and being attended to by the physio, the referee then asked the physio to complete her checks and advise him on the players return, on restarting the game the referee then called over the coach prior to the checks being completed and stated that Cian would not be returning to play due to a player on the pitch stating he was knocked out, this led to more reshuffling and the loss of our hooker and lineout throw.
Redcar remained confident and worked their way back into Gosforth 22 and it was here another attack made it out to the wing, this time Addison scores out wide but in the process pulled up with his reoccurring hamstring injury, conversion was missed and that pretty much was half time Gosforth 0 - 10 Redcar.
Now facing the gale Redcar knew it would take a monumental effort, more so with the amount of walking wounded and lack of set piece.
Gosforth as predicted camped in the Redcar half for the majority of the second half but just couldn’t make the ball stick, knocks ons poor decisions but not to outdo the work of Redcar were met with some furious defence too.
On 50min veteran Challenor was replaced resulting in uncontested scrums, Addison had to come off and was replaced with the already injured Duddles and unfortunately for Paul Barker who had sustained a shoulder and leg injury remained on to keep 15 players on for Redcar.
On the 60min mark James Cochrane came in offside at a ruck and was immediately yellow carded, this was one of a few penalties Redcar had given away and most certainly the first of its kind which made me think that the assessor has advised the referee about his lack of punishment in the first half for Gosforths flurry of misdemeanours, Redcar managed to hold on from the resulting catch and drive lineout then in open play Bradley Stovell ended up on the floor a disagreement broke out and the referee reached straight for his yellow card again and sin binned Stovell for an alleged punch, anyone reading this will understand that this may have been a case of mistaken identity or better still another clinical error from the referee.
Gosforths pressure finally paid off as Redcar struggled to hold out with 13men and scored from some excellent forward surges.
Both players returned to see out the last ten minutes, with little to no rugby breaking out littered with errors from both sides.
With little time remaining screams to retain the ball from the Redcar sideline could be heard only for another penalty to be given away, a fantastic touch finder kick was placed within 5m of the Redcar line and Gosforth found their score right at the death 10-10 with the kick to come in front of the sticks it was as predicted and the conversion compelled Redcar’s misery who had one last surge up field only to lose possession and the ball to be kicked out to the joy of Gosforth players who stole the win 12-10.