Marlow Apply Pareto’s Law in Win Over Littlemore
By Tim Platt
We only played structured rugby for 80% of the match, were down to 14 men for 20 mins of an 80min game and we ‘allowed’ Littlemore to score 20% of the points.
For the pedants reading this, I accept Littlemore actually scored 19% of the points, but never let the facts get in the way of a good headline.
Getting into Littlemore Rugby Club should have been the most difficult part of the day – the postcode on their club website took you into a Close. The entrance to the Academy, where they are based, was hidden from view. It was lucky our players had clearly done a bit more research about the venue than I had. It was one of those places which you could clearly see it from a distance, but couldn’t work out how to get in.
Littlemore have had a difficult season in Southern Counties North conceding some big scores, but this doesn’t truly reflect their capabilities as a team, especially their pack in attack. It was really their lack of an effective defence that allowed us to win so comfortably.
As if to prove the point, during the first 10 minutes of the game we didn’t take their pack as seriously as we should have, and we very quickly found ourselves with a much harder task than was necessary conceding 2 quick Tries, one converted. You’ve got to make the tackles if you want to stop the ‘big’ lads, especially when they are running downhill.
In attack we were treating it like a training session and were throwing the ball around with gay abandon, and it wasn’t working.
The second Try seemed to finally make us realise that we had a game on our hands and that we needed to play structured rugby. Charlie Cotton showed what was possible with a lovely break up the left wing and some neat interplay and, un-tackled, he went over in the left corner. Nick Carvey got the kicking off to a good start with a clean conversion 12-7
Charlie Cotton scored his 2nd Try shortly afterwards. Made another break, but up the right wing this time, he found Jack Rider with a pass out of the tackle, who carried the ball and sucked in 3 defenders, returning the ball back to Charlie who ran from the half way line to score his second. Nick Carvey took us ahead for the first time in the match with a successful kick 12-14
Charlie Cotton had found the key to unlocking the Littlemore defence and everyone was now giving it a go. A lovely in-out play between Miles Noble and Ben Smith and a final pass to Nick Gorham, but he had 3 defenders to get past, creating a maul, and the ball went loose
James Forsyth caught the ball from a 22m drop out and kicked it behind the Littlemore defensive line, a great chase and pick up by James and he looked like he would go all the way, but was tackled just meters short. Miles Noble was in the right place to take the offload and strolled in unopposed. Nick Carvey again kicked the Conversion. 12-21
Littlemore added some points to their tally with a penalty kick when we were penalised for not realising. 15-21
Littlemore knocked on and Miles Noble picked up, another lovely in-out passing move between himself and Nick Carvey, and Nick made a break to score, and converted his own Try. 15-28
The score signalled a change of personnel with Freddie Lewis coming on for his 1st XV debut in replacement for Cameron Denton. Freddie came in at Fly half, Nick Carvey moved back to Full Back and Stuart MacKay moved to the Wing.
The final score of the half came from Nick Gorham, with the ball being worked to the left giving Nick an overlap which he had no problem exploiting this time. Nick Carvey missed the conversion. 15-33
The half ended with Daniel Lewis getting a yellow carded for kicking the ball in the ruck, which seemed a bit harsh.
Half-Time Littlemore 13 Marlow 33
Stuart MacKay got on the score sheet soon after the restart down the right wing, when he used his strength to force his way over despite the attentions of several Littlemore defenders. Nick’s missed conversion signalled a change in kicking duties for the rest of the match, with Freddie Lewis taking over. 15-38
With Daniel Lewis back on we were up to full strength again.
Stuart MacKay scored again when Nick Carvey made an excellent clearing kick, and the Littlemore Left wing ended up on his backside having missed the catch. Charlie Cotton picked up the loose ball and played a 2 v 1 to release Stuart for his second score. This gave Freddie Lewis the opportunity to score his first points for the 1st team and he duly kept his nerve, to add the conversion. 15-45
Next Try came from a good set play, with Littlemore conceding a penalty for being offside. Nick Carvey kicked for touch and a clean catch and maul from the pack, which made 10m before Jack Goss broke, and passed to Miles who forced his way over the line. This brought up the half century and Freddie Lewis made the conversion to add the extra two. 15-52
Chris Clarke got free and ran from the halfway line. He looked like he might make it all the way, but was tackled a few meters from the line. Miles Noble who had been providing excellent support running all game was there to take the offload and score his third Try. Freddie Lewis now getting plenty of practise added the extras 15-59
Jack Rider took a well-earned rest and was replaced by Cameron Denton at scrum half. He was soon in the action with a lovely show of the ball which dummied the Littlemore defence and allowed him to run half the pitch to score under the posts. Freddie Lewis now playing with real confidence drop kicked the conversion. 15-66
Littlemore realised they still had an opportunity to get a Try scoring bonus point, made ground up the left wing, and looked like the had lost the ball but Bruno Renucci was yellowed carded for handling the ball in the ruck. With only a few meters to go Littlemore got their deserved Try bonus point. 20-66
Charlie Cotton got his hat trick from the kick off, when we worked the ball left and Nick Carvey delivered the final pass back to Charlie on the left wing. Freddie finally missed a kick from tight on the touch line. 20-71
Jack Goss broke from halfway, realising he had outrun his own support he had no option but to keep going and was rewarded with a score. Freddie Lewis didn’t let the previous miss effect his game and made the conversion. 20-78
Final score was made by Daniel Lewis, who had been a throne in Littlemore’s side all game making good yardage. He broke down the left wing and scored. Freddie Lewis added the final 2 points.
Next up is Windsor at home, which is now THE match of the season. It’s a must win if we are to overtake Buckingham for the play off place. It is still mathematically possible for us to be league champions, but it does mean we would need to earn Try scoring bonus points in all our remaining games, and for Windsor not to pick up a point.
Tries: Charlie Cotton (3), Miles Noble (3), Nick Carvey, Nick Gorham, Stuart McKay(2), Cameron Denton, Jack Goss, Daniel Lewis
Conversions: Nick Carvey (4), Freddie Lewis (6)
1 Chris Clarke 2 Dan Hostetler 3 David Potton 4 Ben Smith 5 Jack Henderson 6 Ian Thomson 7 James Forsyth 8 Daniel Lewis 9 Jack Rider 10 Nick Carvey 11 Cameron Denton 12 Miles Noble 13 Charlie Cotton 14 Nick Gorham 15 Stuart McKay
16 Jack Goss 17 Bruno Renucci 18 Freddie Lewis