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Billingham Ex Colts - Match centre

Billingham Rugby Club
Sat 6 Jan 14:00 - League Full time Attendance 99

Colts 17 Carlisle 27

Colts stumble at home

Billingham Colts 2017-18 06/01/2018 Home V’s Carlisle

No one knows – Queens of the Stone Age 2002.

Report by Mr Munns

So a new year and so much has changed (not), I am try to get used to a new old phone and the start of getting more active also starts again. I hope this year that it extends to a chance to run on the AGP, even with a kicking tee. The theme of the first match report of the New Year is very similar to the last match report of 2017. Like returning to work you hope that it might have changed but walk in to find that everything is as it was, just a week older. The realisation is that you have to apply and work to change it; it doesn’t happen on its own.
There is also a ripple of a conversation topic around communication having seen pre-match and during the match examples that talking to someone can, of course pay dividends. It was a tonic to find a run of home matches in the New Year for the Colts after the coast to coast trip before Christmas. January is a very hectic time including mock exams, adjusting back to turn up for work, weaning off the turkey sandwiches/curry and the expected random assortment of weather so the safe surroundings of the Greenwood road complex felt comfortable. The 1st team were away at Morley (looks like a tight one) so the Colts bagged the AGP with the 3rd Team, including many friends entertaining Acklam on good old grass just next door. So a coffee was offered and taken as Jeff was working the crowd as Sean and Chris H (gulp) warmed up the troops.
The pre-match club house was entertained by Budgie trying to get the electronic scoreboard set up as all of the usual culprits were away with the first team. Those of you who like to spot my spilling mistakes would have had a field day as various letters and numbers flashed up, but he stuck to it and we had scoring as the match went along.
Lots of happy new years as both squads warmed up with some Colts players watching due to injuries and some working. A good squad available with Sean working overtime to work out the starting 15 and loaded the dug-out following a run out on Tuesday. Unfortunately Christmas is a time for enjoying both the festive delights and liquid refreshment so a few of the shirts looked a little tighter, and on the players too. Good news is that the club shop stocks all sizes, which reminds me I must get some new socks as I have only been able to find one!!!!!!
So cloudy skies with light breeze on the ground, clouds are moving quickly above and it slowly gets colder if you stand still with a low winter sun. Carlisle play down towards the club house from Harry’s Hill, Billingham receive the kick off with their backs to the club house, referee in ocean blue, I move up to the scoreboard so I can spell the teams, we have 15 players on each side, game on.
A lively start sees Billingham move the ball needing several phases to break out of the 22 but remain in their own half, progress being halted by a knock on. Billingham forwards look eager at the scrum and put the Carlisle scrum under pressure all afternoon, using this Billingham work the ball up the pitch. Unlucky not to make a clean brake as the backs are moving the ball well, they knock on again in the Carlisle half; they turn over the scrum to set up the chance with Will Dexter taking the ball off the back to go over. Storm goes short with the conversion. From the kick off Carlisle go long and despite several attempts to move up the pitch Carlisle remain camped in the Billingham half. A penalty sees them kick for touch and they take the line out with the number 8 braking through a massive hole in the middle. Penalties are given as desperate try line defence is set up, Carlisle move the ball across to the other wing to score, unconverted. At 5 – 5 it’s a ding-dong already.
The next period of play sees Billingham have several scoring chances only for the ball to be knocked on or for Carlisle to steal the ball. It is surprising to see after so much hard work that players still do not use the supporting runners to press home the advantage, is this because they do not know they are there or because the line is so close we expect to get over. This squad has so much talent that can create some great chances but is let down by team play so often. Chances came and went but Billingham stayed on the front foot. The momentum was building again with the ball being moved and the back line set up, but a through kick hit a Carlisle player rebounding up the filed, they were on it like a shot, hacking it on to go the length of the pitch for a try despite an attempted intervention. It was like a needle bursting the last Christmas balloon. 5 -12 at half time but would missed chances come back to haunt us.
As you can tell I am rusty as well having over indulged as the notes that I am now reading are scant as watching from the far end you get to see a lot, like the space that this AGP gives you but remains unused. People ask me, oh yes they do, do you find writing about a win or a lost harder? It is always the games where the performance isn’t good that are hard, despite the score but you have to be honest.
So second half and Carlisle started to click into gear as they were given time to run as the Billingham defence looked unstructured and at times missing, at this point Chris H wandered up to this end of the pitch, always nice to converse with a legend. So Carlisle got stronger linking well and the runners started to get free, for Billingham the work was being done but not consistently so Carlisle would regroup or as with every clearing kick run it back harder. Knocking on the door a kick through behind the defence saw a quick Carlisle winger fly though and attempt to get a hand on the ball. Referee judged that he had downward motion and gave the try, not going to talk about that one after last time.
Billingham kick off and a good chase put pressure on, Carlisle knock on to give a scrum about 10 out from the line. Carlisle take against the head and work it out with the forwards, move it along the line and then the winger takes it up the line to score. 5 – 22 which is increased to 5 – 27 quite quickly as Carlisle work the ball up the pitch move it across and a nice looped pass puts a player into space.
During the whole of this period Billingham put together a few breaks but they are tackled by Carlisle either into touch or isolated to force a knock on or turnover in the ruck. It is the difference between the teams as this doesn’t allow any tempo to build for Billingham and Carlisle settle into moving the ball then breaking with strong runs. Billingham kick off and a good run and catch sees and attack immediately pressuring the line, despite Carlisle clearing with a kick Billingham take it back and counter with a converted try. 12 – 27.
Work rate is up and this sees Billingham look to get a quick score but defence from Carlisle forces mistakes which eat up precious time. Billingham score at the death, converted for 17 -27.
It was a very long huddle after the handshakes and rightly so, the after match comments from assorted supporters also hang heavy as most people tried to erased it form their memory. I have to relive it again and my quill has broken several times in frustration, but never mind no one said it was easy.
No time this week of accelerator/brake/accelerator, is he on holiday again?, please read the Facebook messages carefully, No I’m sure that’s the time not the score, Jambo’s maths, home field advantage?, planning for the tour, 100% record gone, wish I’d got one of those coaches jackets for Christmas and Happy new year everybody.

The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can’t let your self be beat because of lack of effort – Michael Jordan.

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