Park Lions 5 Blaydon Georgians 62
Pre Match Craic
- Injuries and unavailability’s meant Park unable to field a front row
- New look team including several returning faces
- A third of the squad made up of current Academy players.
- Tom G absent (report courtesy of Stu’s video analysis)
When you are beaten by a better side the best thing to do is reflect and try to learn from the experience. Park were well beaten by a bigger, stronger, better drilled Blaydon Georgians side but if Park can take anything away from this game it’s that they were the better side in the 1sthalf!
Starting brightly, with the wind at their backs, Park dominated the early exchanges, Ben C providing a solid lineout platform, the back row having the best of the breakdown and the backs defending and running hard.
An early break by fullback Ben A saw him round the defence and draw the cover, running out of space he placed a deft diagonal chip in for the winger to chase, caught by the wind the ball just rolled dead after an unlucky bounce.
Aggressive Park rucking was winning a number of penalties and with Cowell providing steady possession Park went close from three lineouts. Eventually the pressure told when from the base of a ruck Niall C forced his way over.
Park’s determination at the breakdown was exemplified by a turnover at the base of their own posts, Blaydon drove several times, were eventually knocked back and the ball turned over; however this was a short respite. Blaydon now tightened their game and started kicking for territory, the pressure eventually told and they scored two tries in quick succession from lineout drives; a third coming from a pick and go.
At 5 – 17 Park could have crumbled but instead they continued to attack: Andrew W was denied a try after fumbling a difficult bouncing ball and Jimmy B was adjudged to have a foot in touch when delivering an inside pass after a storming 50 m run.
HT Park Lions 5 Blaydon Georgians 17
A 12 point margin at half time left both teams with tactical considerations…
What would Park do? Despite having parity at the lineout, the ascendency at the breakdown, the majority of territory and possession they were behind...
What would Blaydon do? They were winning, had the physically bigger pack, but were being knocked back at most breakdowns and ran ragged in the backs…
Park decided to stop contesting the Blaydon breakdown, more tellingly Park stopped loading their rucks. Blaydon narrowed their attack by using pick and go and they decided to attack the Park breakdown.
The result was rather inevitable – acquiescing to a passive role Park allowed Blaydon to reform at every ruck, drive deep and kick for territory. Further the Blaydon counter ruck (probably aimed at slowing Park ball down) resulted in Park losing almost every collision (the Park backs becoming redundant). Faced with an utter paucity of ball Park’s defence got progressively weaker allowing Blaydon even more control of the game. What followed was 45 unanswered points.
Congratulations to Blaydon for switching their game around and playing to their strengths – hopefully this Lions team will reflect upon the positives of the 1st half and learn from their mistakes…
FT Park Lions 5 Blaydon Georgians 62