Colts Crash out at Mowden Park
Mowden 24 Colts 15
Billingham Colts 2017 - 18 19/11/2017 National Cup away at DMP.
Take a chance on me – Abba 1977
Report by Mr Munns
The report this week has taken some time to write as the week leading up to it has included Remembrance Day where Jeff pulled out all the stops to get a game but to no avail. This time of year also marks the anniversary of the passing of Matthew Olley who will remain in the hearts and minds of those players who are now heading towards senior rugby as well as the club as a whole. I also met up with some old school friends who I hadn’t seen for years at The Swan. Despite feeling over dressed as most of the cliental were wearing heals and not much more we talked for hours mainly about lack of hair, various illnesses and having to put glasses on to read mobile phones. It was a week of looking back; noting the things that make us who we are and possibly inform our current and future decisions.
More Cup rugby this week with a straight shoot out in the national cup, one team goes onward and one team goes home, no plate consolation in this one. And we have the “fun” trip to Darlington Mowden Park who currently occupy the Darlington arena so hopefully a run out in the big league surroundings. No chance of that, we are on the pitches out the back, only Steps and A-ha get the arena but that doesn’t sound like a very good game unless the roadies are playing too. I bet “H” doesn’t have moves like Radders.
So got to the ground at least there is ample parking and watched as players drifted in some holding shirts. Even the home players were confused about which changing room, anyway the coffee was on and stories were exchanged in the usual convivial atmosphere. I decided to walk over early to avoid the crush, both teams looked sprightly and a good crowd was in attendance, although was reduced as the Billingham Party boys didn’t attend as it wasn’t in the stadium ( they were only going to check where they had got seats for Steps!!!). The far pitch which was nearest the Darlington bypass was allotted for use. The referee was flown in especially from Sri Lanka and changed into a white strip to ease confusion, all references to a snow man have been deleted although it was probably how warm he felt. No touch judges although plenty of assistant referees walking the touchline.
Here’s a surprise for usual readers Billingham started well and had the balance of the early play, with DMP having to clear lines with various kicks. Billingham worked quick ball and the passing and movement was flowing. DMP infringed several times for penalties, but kicking wasn’t finding touch allowing DMP to counter, a theme that we will come across later in the report. Several attempts were worked to set up on the DMP line with Harvey finally breaking the whitewash, unconverted but Billingham strike first for 0 – 5.
From the DMP kick off Harry B catches and drives in, Ben clears out well given Luke a gap which he goes through and is off like the clappers. It’s a bit far out for the poacher but the supporting play sees James Murphy finish off for a lighting try. Unconverted for 0 – 10, does the quick try make Billingham think it will be easy?
The rest of the first half sees DMP gradually build momentum bit by bit, they start to slow the Billingham ball at the break down. Which side of the rules you wish to pick is a talking point but the refereeing is very consistent and they do look to move after the initial holding/lying/killing of the ball. As the handling was a bit hit and miss early on, they rely on short passes to strong runs down the middle, quick, secure then onto the next runner. They get into a rhythm that sees the gain line crossed with most carries and the Billingham defence scrambling around to plug the gaps. The backs gain confidence and look to stretch the Billingham line, it is not a walk in the park that the second try suggested. DMP score next when several phases give a gap to a strong runner out on the line who evades more tackles than he should to canter in, the conversion is good for 7 – 10.
The penalty count is racking up with both teams and DMP look to kick and chase just to mix things up. The strong DMP runs continue as Billingham look to adapt but are pinned back as penalties are kicked to the corner to provide line out pressure. DMP phases finally tell as the bag a converted try for 14 - 10.
Billingham runners start to look a bit isolated and are pinged for holding on, waiting for the support to arrive, thankful that half time is sounded before DMP can use the penalty line out to gain more ground.
Half time sees the teams huddle with everything to play for, the changes are made and the referee gets some cold water to drink, bet it’s what he always wanted. Looks like the second half is going to be cagey.
Billingham start brightly again with Rees Bell in the thick of it with some impressive carries plus a cracking run from Joe Ross nearly links with Luke Cooper who has been trying to get on the end of a clear chance all match. DMP clearly have the forward strength and are starting to find that rhythm again helped by penalties that give good field position. The pressure again mounts as Billingham hold up several attacks but the line breaks and the conversion is despatched for 21 – 10.
Billingham kick off and the ruck work finally catches up with DMP as they hang on too long and are penalised, it really is a fine line. Billingham have to work hard with runs up the middle and several forwards pushes. Opportunities come and go due to little lapses such as crossing but Billingham turn the screw and are rewarded with a handful of penalties one after the other within the 22. Billingham work hard to get across the line, this makes it interesting 21 -15.
DMP kick off and good play see’s Billingham work it up the pitch, there is quite a lot of handbags as several players on both sides look to gain the mental superiority by doing daft stuff. DMP look to work the ball out but uncharacteristic loose handlng gives Billingham a scrum deep to set up from.
This could be the chance. Billingham look for a late score which might just knick it but Billingham fail to convert despite a couple of scrums. DMP move the ball up the field and gain a penalty, clear thinking sees the penalty kicked for 24 – 15, which moves it the score beyond the converted try range.
The final whistle sounds with DMP moving forward to the next round and the Billingham inquest starting. I enjoyed a nice post-match catch up with the Blades entourage but then had to endure the long drive home, mussitation filled the car.
So no time this week for any excuses, DMP put us on the back foot but there were still opportunities, we didn’t convert the chances into the points and like everything, it is a very fine line.
Also no time for start the day with 100% Columbian (coffee), for those about to Rock, which changing room are we in then? (Home team?), leaves on pitch, the Blades limp, mussitation (look it up), missing me Sunday lunch, Christmas lists and back to the Swan next week?
It’s not about how much you want it; it’s about how much hard work you are willing to do to get it.