Spirited Performance by the Crows ......
In some tough conditions which put this game in doubt midweek, but the dry spell from early hours on Thursday helped out, and the game went ahead !
After emphatic back to back victories in recent weeks, Crowborough may have been forgiven for daring to expect a third, against Old Dunstonians, who edged the earlier fixture in the season by 10 points, and are now firmly positioned at the top end of the table, biting at the heels of the two league leaders.
The initial encounters followed a familiar theme, with the ‘Boro pack bossing their bigger opponents in the tight, and contesting in the loose to slow down possession. The backs led by Tom McMahon
and Ali Main closed down the space between the lines, and telling tackles prevented OD’s from crossing the gain line. Callum Main
and captain Alex Purnell
were instrumental in keeping the ball alive and pressuring the play deep in the OD half.
When the ‘Boro backs were presented with this quick ball, Sam Kisbee
released his backs and with Chris Yates
drifting in and out, cutting some exquisite lines and deft kicks, the OD backs were kept firmly on the back foot. With the ‘Boro pack now hunting as one, arriving at the breakdown at speed, it appeared only a matter of time before the line would be crossed.
The first score came from a less than classic move, but nevertheless recorded five points when Ali Main released Sam Kisbee
to cross over in the corner. The conversion in the heavy conditions from so far out would be a challenge as Chris Yate’s first penalty attempt moments before testified, and so it turned out. However ‘Boro had shown that they could cross the whitewash, and during the match proceeded to do so on four more occasions, but sadly the official ruled three of these attempts to have been held up. 5-0
Old Dunstonians added a penalty for holding on, and then towards the end of the first half, the previously impeccable ‘Boro defence missed a crucial tackle during a rare OD incursion, and suddenly were facing an unrepresentative score line of 5-10, as the try close to the posts was converted. HT
In the heavy conditions the large OD pack were remarkably light footed, and towards the end of the third quarter, a second missed tackle 22 metres out on the OD’s huge second row saw him take no more than four strides to score by the posts making the conversion a formality and taking the home side out of bonus territory. 5-17
With twenty minutes to go , ‘Boro put on the pressure and crossed the line once more only for it to be held up. From the 5 metre scrum, the OD front row transgressed and a penalty awarded to ‘Boro as the prop was sin binned. When it happened a second time questions were being asked on the touch line, but the answer was simply another penalty and another elected scrum.
From the scrum the ball was fed out to the left where a ruck produced several pick and drives before Damian Hayes emerged from the melee for ‘Boro’s second try deep in the corner. The kick missed taking the score to 10-17.
With time running out, and OD’s being canny with time management, Crowborough were unable to capitalise any further, and when the whistle went it left ‘Boro with a losing bonus point, which due to other outcomes, resulted in a dropped position to seventh in the league.
Most impartial observers, and even the most one eyed OD supporter would have felt that the home side deserved better, as this week the luck and share of the 50/50 decisions simply eluded them.
The next outing will be 3rd March 2018 will be away to league leaders Thanet Wanderers.