Marlow Lose to Sherborne Despite a Spirited Comeback Late On.
By Tim Platt
A very good first half for Sherborne left us with just too much to do when we made an unlikely comeback 10 minutes from the end of the match.
Sherborne came into this match as leaders of Southern Counties South having not lost a single match all season and having beaten Windsor in the previous round, although only narrowly.
Sherborne bought a good number of supporters, although unfortunately a small vocal contingent seemed intent on barracking the officials and constantly contesting the Referees decisions. Apart from being against the values of Rugby Union it slightly marred what was otherwise a very good-natured match. Fortunately, the players seemed better able to display Rugby Union values.
Although we started well Sherborne had the first opportunity when we lost our Throw-in. It required some really big Try line defence, before their attack came to an end with a knock on.
Our pack put on a fine display in the set piece with the Sherborne scrum under constant pressure, which was all the more impressive considering we were without our normal 2nd row pairing. Not because the replacements were not just as capable, but they would not be quite so familiar with each other.
We were soon down the other end of the pitch with some great kicking from hand by Nick Carvey. From our 5m Throw-in our maul got over the Try line, but the Referee decided the ball was held up. Sherborne managed to hold our 5m scrum, but they were penalised for not rolling away when we tried to pick and go, giving us a 2nd 5m scrum. Quick ball out to the right wing gave Vanavasa Bai an overlap and a clear run to the line. 5-0 Unfortunately, Nick Carvey’s Conversion was just left of the upright, much to his frustration.
Our set piece scrum was now working well and Sherborne were struggling. We won a scrum against the head, and to add more pressure on Sherborne their Number 5 was shown a yellow card for not rolling away – having repeatedly offended.
This should have been the start of a period of domination by us, but it in fact had the opposite effect.
Although our pack was well on top in the scrum, Sherborne retained possession, even though they were back peddling fast, and they showed why they have been doing so well this season. They are particularly good with ball in hand going through the phases with fluency and their number 6 found space on the edge of the ruck to skip through our defensive line and score under the posts. The Conversion was good 5-7
Shortly afterwards we gave away a penalty 30m out and Sherborne made no mistake with the kick. 5-10
From the restart Nick Carvey kicked the ball a metre, much to the amusement of the Sherborne faithful. I’m not sure if this was deliberate, but with our pack being so dominate at the set piece we could have assumed that a scrum on halfway might be our best option of retaining possession. However, we were unable to win against the head and were then penalised for not releasing. A full 45m out it seemed unlikely the penalty would reach the posts, and it didn’t, but we were still forced to drop kick from our 22m and on regaining possession Sherborne worked the ball to the right wing and scored an unconverted Try. 5-15
Just before halftime we suffered another blow when Sherborne, now back to 15 men, scored yet another Try, this time successfully converted, again on the right wing. 5-22
We were now chasing the game and unless there was a Sherborne collapse, which seemed unlikely, we were unlikely to get back on terms. If we were to have any chance of getting back into the match we had to score first.
Our first opportunity of the half came from our set piece maul which made a good 15m before being hauled down. The penalty kick from hand gave us a 5m Throw-in. Sherborne, clearly aware they were not going to win a maul, didn’t engage and we didn’t react to the situation correctly and allowed Sherborne to clear.
We got a Try back when Sherborne kicked down field, which was picked up by our Charlie Cotton who made a great break from within our own half. We went through the phases before Sherborne were penalised, giving us a free play. George Jafari took the opportunity at the first time of asking by taking a direct line thorough the Sherborne defensive line and scoring. Unfortunately, Nick was unable to add the conversion. 10-22
Shortly afterwards Sherborne got back on the scoreboard and, for all intense and purposes sealed the win, after we were penalised well inside our own half and were then made to drop back another 10m for back chat, giving Sherborne the perfect position for an easy 3 points, which they duly collected. 10-25
Both sides cancelled each other out until the last 10 minutes of the game, when we started what seemed to be a very unlikely comeback, to give the home fans something to cheer about.
George Jafari again broke through the Sherborne defence, and this time Nick Carvey’s Conversion was good. 17-25
From the kick off we broke up field and Sherborne were penalised for being offside at the ruck, a quick tap and go, but Sherborne were not 10m, so it gave us great field position. Rather than kicking for the corner we opted for the penalty kicked for goal, as it put us within 1 score. Nick Cavey’s made no mistake. 20-25
Now with only a minute to go, it was all or nothing on the last play of the match. Unfortunately, for us it was nothing, as we knocked on although we had possession.
Congratulations to Sherborne, and we wish them luck in the next round of the competition.
Tries: Vanavasa Bai, George Jafari (2)
Conversions: Nick Carvey
Penalties: Nick Carvey
1 Chris Clarke 2 Dan Hostetler 3 Eddy Smyth 4 Ian Thomson 5 Bruno Renucci 6 Curran McMillan 7 Max Roberts 8 Jack Spurr 9 Will Sones 10 Nick Carvey 11 Nick Gorham 12 Charlie Cotton 13 George Buckle 14 Vanavasa Bai 15 Bobby Mercer 16 David Potton 17 Jack Rider 18 Joshua Richardson 19 Cameron Denton 20 Pete Lewis 21 George Jafari.