Sedgley Park 3rds 12 – 12 Fylde Saracens

(3rd February 2018)   Report by Rupert Cobain

The Mighty Sarries made the trip to old foes Sedgely Park. Before the game went ahead, Captain for the day Jamie Griffin had to carry out a pitch inspection- “Would you like to play on the all mud pitch or the pitch with one blade of grass on?” The decision was tough!

The opening ten minutes was played at a frantic pace, with both sides trying to get a foot hold in the game and obtain the upper hand. The Sarries finally got hold of the ball and never let go of it for the majority of the first half. They continuously found themselves in the Sedgley half through explosive breaks by Sam Patterson, Tom Hodgkins and Ross Collins and by big carries from the boys in the engine room, but with the conditions coming into play they found themselves slipping at the last hurdle.

The 1st points finally came just after the half hour mark and it went to the Sarries. Christian Williams made a break from midfield and found himself in the Sedgley 22. Carries by the forwards inched the Sarries closer to the line and they were able to spin it out wide for Karl Etherington to go through and score in the corner. Tom Hodgkins unlucky with the conversion 0-5.

The Sarries continued to have ball in hand for the remainder of the half, but after giving away a couple of quick penalties, they found themselves defending on their own try line. The Sarries stood firm and put their bodies on the line, literally, but unfortunately couldn’t keep out Sedgley and the 8 went over for the score. Conversion kicked 7-5.

In the defence, Alex Moffat sustained a knee injury. We would like to wish him our best in his recovery and I am sure we will see him in his neck brace later in the week.

Half time

The 2nd half started much how the 1st ended with Sedgley on the front foot. The following 15 minutes, was all Sedgley and Sarries had to defend and fight for every loose ball they could get. This was carried out by Richard Appleyard, Tom Pemberton and Jimmy ‘The Aussie’ Lord, who were a constant nuisance and menace at the breakdown all day.

Whilst soaking up this pressure the Sarries were reduced to 14 men, when Karl Etherington summoned his ‘inner footballer’ and slid for the ball clattering the Sedgley prop. He was given a 10 minute cool down. When asked about the incident after the game, Karl responded that he had slid for the ball, but his legs just happened to get there before his body.

Whilst reduced to 14, Sedgely scored. Again, it was big carries from their forwards and they found themselves squeezing over the line. Conversion missed 12-5.

At this point, Jaime Griffin decided to have some warm and encouraging words with his players and made everyone aware a loss is not good enough.

With these words ringing in the players ears, The Sarries got themselves straight back into the game. A clearance kick by Jack Jones was chased down by Sam Patterson who put huge pressure on the full back, making him knock on the ball and Cian ‘Zebo’ O’Donnell was on hand to scoop up and score underneath the sticks. Jack Jones with the conversion 12-12.

The game continued with both sides going hammer and tongue to try and find something of a winner. Sedgely were provided an opportunity when a penalty was awarded at a scrum. The penalty kick attempted was missed keeping the score at 12-12.

For the final 5 minutes, the Sarries threw everything they had left in the tank but just couldn’t find the winning points.

Final Score 12-12

This was a tough and gruelling game played in great spirits by both teams in horrendous conditions. We thank Sedgley Park for their hospitality and hope to meet again next season.

The whole team is MOM this week for showing their grit and determination to stay in the game, for players playing in unfamiliar positions and for putting their bodies on the line in tackles and at the breakdown.

15 Sam Patterson; 14 Ross Collins, 13 Tom Hodgkins, 12 Karl Etherington, 11 Cian O’Donnell; 10 Jack Andrew Jones, 9 Christian Williams; 1 Harry Atkinson, 2 Rupert Cobain, 3 George Cook, 4 Adam Hiles, 5 Jimmy Lord, 6 Tom Pemberton, 7 Richard Appleyard, 8 Jamie Griffin (c).

16 Alex Moffat.