Despite the excitement surrounding the first competitive rugby game in over a year, the
weather did not get the memo. The week prior it was too hot, this week the hard rain and strong winds hammered the field of dreams setting up a close quarter game against the big boys in the pack.
Barns Green have been chomping at the bit to get out and play some rugby and boy did it show. From Joe Serna’s team talk it was clear that we weren’t going to settle for anything other than a win. The boys started the game strong and hungry immediately pushing Worthing Azurians back into their own 22 which is where much of the first 20 minutes was played. With a dominant pack, the boys in Green and Gold were pushing for the try and it wasn’t long before they thought they had scored the first try of the 21/22 season. Connor Pascoe driving over the line only to be held up.
Frustration started to seep into the Barns Green ranks with the penalty count and number of unforced errors climbing. This gave Worthing a foothold to get back into the game by pinning Barns Green deep in their 22. However, the win and rain proved difficult as both teams fumbled chances for points and safety. As Barns Green struggled to find safety through the boot, Worthing were given a penalty within striking range which their number 10 pushed slightly wide in very challenging conditions.
Barns Green went into the half time team talk confident that they could still win this game and it was clear what they needed to do; cut down on the penalties and keep the pressure on Worthing with smart kicking. From the restart, Barns Green kicked deep into Worthing’s half to build up the pressure and force errors.
The error finally came when Worthing were caught on the wrong side of a ruck resulting in Jarrod Van Blerk kicking the penalty deep into the Worthing 22. Despite the tough conditions, the line out was caught, and the drive was on. Making up for his missed try in the first half, Connor Pascoe drove over the line and touched down in the corner for the first points. With sideways wind and rain, Matthew Hoyte kicked over the extra points from the touch line to make it 7-0.
Barns Green were in the ascendency and were dominating the possession and territory. As the rain subsided the backs came into their own with some fantastic counter attacking plays to keep the pressure on Worthing. After a number of phases in Worthing’s 22, it wasn’t long until Barns Green added to their tally. Space opened on the right as the back put the ball through the hands. After slipping, winger George Wilson managed to steal some extra few yards by driving to touching distance of the try line. Hooker Mark Brown took his opportunity as quick ball allowed him to snipe and dive over for Barns Greens second try of the game making it 12 – 0 with 20 minutes to play.
Although Barns Green were driving for more points, they allowed Worthing to get back into the game as more penalties were handed out. For the last 10 minutes of the game, Worthing held Barns Green deep in their 22, knocking on the door. Worthing’s pack started to win the scrums and it seemed inevitable that they would cross the line after flanker Nick Coulson was shown a yellow card resulting in a 5-meter scrum.
Worthing’s powerful number 8 charged from the base only for Matt Sprigge to match him and hold him short. There were several outstanding defensive displays in the final 10 minutes of the game from Barns Green. A last-ditch scrag tackle by Wilson allowed Bouet and Brewster to go over for a successful jackal, Rory Yeates and Matthew Hoyte put in some big hits and every member of the pack were dominant around the fringes. As a collective, Barns Green managed to shut out Worthing’s rally and the final whistle blew making it 12-0 to Barns Green starting their season off with a win
Try Pascoe - 1 Brown - 1 Conversions Hoyte - 1 Man of the Match Carl Brewster Team Sheet: 1. Matt Taylor 2. Mark Brown 3. Connor Pascoe 4. James Dickson 5. Lewis Dodsley 6. Tom Smith 7. Nick Coulson 8. Carl Brewster 9. Thomas Bouet (c) 10. Matt Sprigge 11. George Wilson 12. Matthew Hoyte 13. Rory Yeates 14. Jack Bone 15. Jarrod Van Blerk Replacements 16. Josiah Lee 17. Tom Whittington 18. Tom Green