This was a truly gutsy performance by the whole squad who despite finding themselves trailing by ten points with around 15 minutes left stuck to their task to seal the win with a conversion on the stroke of time.
Once again assembling a team was a bit of a lottery. On Thursday night it looked to be done and dusted and first Adam Dye, due to make his reappearance after about four seasons at University called off as he had to go to London for an interview and then Dom Roberts found he had work commitments, so two key players out. Then on Friday morning Chris Haynes reported that one of his sons, both due to play, had taken his brother out at a ruck and he had suffered shoulder ligament damage. Sensing a shortage TM asked Chris to bring his boots to “bolster” the bench. Hopes that Bill Vurewa and Tawanda Kandemwa could make it were dashed when both were unable to do so. So on a bitterly cold afternoon we assembled with sixteen, and then Chris arrived with his boots. We were also greeted with the news that there were unlikely to be any showers as someone had nicked all the heating oil.
To replace Dom we asked young Archie Haynes to hook, another Colt, Michael Batty went to the second row while Tom Knight, seeking fitness after a few weeks off, shared the back row with George Rossi and Phil Robinson.
In the back line we had Calvin Ball and Ollie D in the centre with Will Minchin on one wing and “vet” Mike Kingston on the other, Harry Dye completing the backs at 15.
Despite dominating for long periods we found it hard to threaten the Broadland line as indiscipline cost the home side dear, losing a player to the bin and from the next play a tapped penalty was sent right and Ollie D went over for an unconverted try. Broadland came back strongly and their outstanding No10 slotted a penalty and right on the stroke of half time they took the lead with and unconverted try.
Playing into the strong cross wind we started the second half well. Sam Rossi was kicking for position well and any weight advantage Broadland had in the set scrums was fading as their big boys tired. After twelve minutes a penalty on the try line was turned into a penalty try although from the touchline the reason was not clear, and Sam kicked the extras to establish a four point lead.
Although we were dominant in most areas when Broadland moved the ball through hands they looked dangerous and retook the lead with a converted try. Almost immediately from the restart a Broadland player broke through and almost unchallenged went in under the bar to take a ten point lead. This really sparked the side and superior fitness really began to show. With ten minutes left Craig O felt a click in his neck so Chris Haynes came on to prop alongside Archie and at the next ruck took out an opposition player as though he did it every week, not as though in reality it was his first game for about 8 years. On the edge of the 22 Sam chipped over the defence and Calvin nipped in to score in the corner. Broadland lost their biggest forward but our pack was now dominant and controlling the game close to the line. A series of driven mauls looked bound to bear fruit and in the final seconds George Rossi drove off the edge to score and Sam Slotted the conversion. In between the try and the conversion the hone skipper was red carded for making what one assumes was an unacceptable comment to the referee. A shame as it had been a hard fought game played in good spirit.
Highlights: The kicking out of hand by Sam R. Some dazzling runs by Calvin and Harry Dye who was excellent under the high ball. The performance of young Archie H especially his tackle on the biggest guy on the field who must have tipped the scales at around 20 stone is deserving of mention. However this was above all a result based on enthusiasm, a will to win and a pride in the shirt.