The Score line just doesn't do the Crow's performance justice.....
The score will flatter the Home side, and the spectators will tell you a different story, of a competitive game between two closely matched sides.
The Match Report to follow will be written by Rick Howe
Our Referee today was Mr Andy Phillips from Chichester.
Although on the wrong end of the result, this was arguably the best Crowborough performance of the season, a game that they mastered for most of the first half, and much of the second. Unconcerned with their hosts lofty league position and reputation, ‘Boro controlled the possession from the opening whistle and shocked their opponents as they camped deep in Bulls territory.
Chris Yates opened the scoring after 9 minutes, with a 30 metre penalty for a high tackle. 0-3
Aylesford then took the initiative putting together several good phases of play. But ‘Boro were in an antagonistic and determined mood, and put in a quite superlative close quarter defensive performance, which was hardly to falter throughout the match. Unable to gain momentum because of the ‘Boro close attention, the Bulls resorted to poor panic passing and inaccurate off-loading that constantly handed the initiative back to their visitors.
For most of the half ‘Boro maintained their lead and came close to extending it, and although Aylesford had the opportunity to level the score with a simple penalty the ball was pulled wide.
Crowborough continued to exert pressure, with #15 Yates coming into the line more frequently, but a faltering move saw him isolated at the bottom of the ruck, enabling the Bulls #11 to put in a raking kick into the uncovered space that Chris Yates would have occupied, and from the resulting ruck, another wayward pass from the Bulls #9 skipped across the turf missing it’s original target before bouncing straight into the outstretched arms of the mercurial right wing who cruised in unopposed to record the Bulls first unconverted try of the afternoon . 5-3 Half Time.
Aylesford were once more on the score sheet at the start of the second half when from a scrum, ‘Boro were caught in two minds, when deciding either to pick up and run, or kick deep and play in their opponents half. Caught at the base of the scum the Bulls #8 wrestled the ball away and broke right supported by his winger, and with Alex Purnell coming across, he cleverly shepherded a channel for his winger to go over and under the posts for a converted score. 12-3.
From the restart Freddie Piper, on his debut, placed a deep kick into the opposition 22, which was caught by the Bulls wing who fed inside to his full back. However Bertie Boast was following up quickly and tackled the #15 in the in goal area, where the Bulls then transgressed. ‘Boro called for a scrum and when the Bulls #3 again caught the officials gaze, he was shown yellow. From the reset, and with the Bulls a man down, ‘Boro had several pick and drives before eventually making the extra man count when Harry Slatter crashed over for a Chris Yates converted try. 12-10
Soon after Crowborough once more took the lead with a Chris Yates penalty 12-13, only for the Bulls to answer in kind some two minutes later 15-13. Few would have complained if this was the final score, as on balance the Bulls marginally edged it.
However, following a series of penalties awarded against Crowborough, Aylesford once more closed in on the ‘Boro line. From a lineout the drive came on and forced the ‘Boro pack over the line for an unconverted try with eight minutes to go. 20-13.
Crowborough were still within losing bonus point territory but with the way they were competing the end result was still too close to call.
But rugby can be a cruel game, and with the clock approaching the last minute and ‘Boro attacking the Bulls 22, from a ‘Boro scrum, the pass was intercepted by a player who either would have put Usain Bolt to shame or was a good five metres off-side, and with the ‘Boro defence all supporting the attack, the Bulls super- fast winger needed no second invitation, and scorched down the right to touch down out wide, denying ‘Boro anything from the encounter, and when the conversion went over the yells of relief for the home side were palpably telling.
This cannot be anything but disappointing for the ‘Boro side. But there are positives. They played as a team, and played for each other. They defended and attacked well. Several new players stepped up to the plate. But fact that they did not get anything from this match is both frustrating and infuriating.
However ‘Boro gave away in excess of 20 penalties, many in potential scoring positions, and where some were quite obvious, others were less so. All officials have their own particular interpretations on aspects of the games’ laws, the key is to recognise it and to play to the official’s interpretation, and hope that that application is consistently applied.
After discussion's following the fixture yesterday and a few email's between some of the Crowborough Faithful and head judge, Everyone from 1 to 18 deserves great credit, and to single anyone out for special mention would perhaps be simply unjust. Therefore we Award the `Man of the Match` to the whole team for an outstanding performance.