2nd XV - Melboune 33 - 26 Market Rasen 2s
By Peter Ilott
Trys - Bancroft, Mallett, Day (2), M Suddaby.
4 conversion Bancroft
A game of 2 halves
Melbourne fought hard to earn a win over a big, physical and skilful Market Rasen 2s in a Pennant game.
On a balmy October day, with the temperature at 22C and a wind gusting up to 45mph, Melbourne 2s had a strong squad of 21 players.
Front row of Day, Pop and Cookie with the youngsters Gal and Broughy in the second row. A fresh looking back row of Martin, Vincent and Josh Stephens (his mum and dad travelled a long way to watch him play) at 8. Webby at 9 and Joe (recovered from his calf injury and glad to see some backs on the bench) at 10. Captain Foster partnered Ben Archer in the centres, with Mallett, H Walker and Beech as the back 3. A strong bench of Ilott, J Walker, Sparkes, Frederick, W Doleman and M Suddaby.
As expected the wind played a huge part in the game howling down the pitch. Sideline discussions though it was a ‘4 Try’ wind.
MR (Market Rasen for the forwards) started strongly and were soon 2 Trys and 14-0 up. The ball retention seemed strong for a 2nd team and strong running from their 7.8 12.13 was a feature throughout, with their 10 also marshalling the MR game and refereeing well. The actual referee was returning after a year or so out, and did OK, being assessed by an old friend Paul Teagre in the process. Melbourne knew they had to defend and did so with the normal commitment that this young side (excluding Flossie, Bancroft and Pop) do every week.
On a rare foray into the opposition half, into the wind, Bancroft overran the try line (flag pole holder broken) but a few phases after the resulting line-out Tony ‘bison’ Day burrowed over. He then went off for a rest. This made the score 14-5. A couple of breaks, sparked by converted back row Andy Martin only failed with the final pass, especially one where Josh Mallett would have been clear. The forwards were rotated with Walker and Sparkes having a run out.
MR came back and scored a couple more Trys for a half time score of 26-5.
Fossils half time talk was motivational. The first half was dogged defence and the second half would see the wind at Melbourne’s backs and Fossie also told the lads that MR 1s cup game had been awarded a walkover so their 2s may have been bolstered a bit. Subs were made with Ilott, Doleman and Suddaby coming on and Frederick too late on.
With Melbourne kicking off, MR then spoilt the game plan a little by controlling the ball in Melbourne’s half for 5 minutes or so.
Melbourne’s terrier defence carried on in the same vein and Melbourne started plugging away at the scoreboard. Tony Day scored his second from close range (and then went off for a rest again). Bancroft converted. The excellent Matt Suddaby picked a fine line to score. Bancroft converted. Josh Mallett showed a decent turn of pace for a fine score. Bancroft converted. MR 12 had a yellow card for a no arm clearout. Fossie was hit late (making the most of it). MR were also lucky not to have a another card for a deliberate knock on. The MR 8 was a nuisance throughout and certainly caught the eye of the referee assessor for some of his antics. Joe Bancroft had a little blind side snipe for the final Try in the corner and followed up with a fine touch line conversion. 33-26 being the final score. 4 Trys with the wind. The sole score by with side into the wind being the difference.
So another league win for this young side.
Keep yourselves available next week. Not sure what is happening yet and get yourselves to the Halloween party at the MSP.
MOTM has gone to a poll, Fossie said everyone. The first half defence as a whole could win it. The forwards put in a shift as usual. Webby was lively at 9. Bancroft was not allowed to receive it this week.