3 trys for Barns Green secured their unbeaten run in a physical match up against a dangerous Shoreham team leaving just BG and Haywards Heath as the only unbeaten teams left.
Trys: Taylor, Cooper, Bone Cons: Cooper 2 Pens: Cooper
It was a 2nd straight win in Sussex Premier Two, a 7th straight win for the season and it was Matthew Taylor's first try of the season as he crashed over for the opening points. Barns Green started very aggressively and on the front foot instantly setting up camp in Shoreham's 22. Taylor has been threatening with some strong crash ball lines but after some phase play orchestrated from stand in fly half Matthew Sprigge, Taylor hit the line 5 meters out and was driven over by the rest of the pack. The referee took a moment before giving Taylor's try.
After their thrilling win against Worthing, Barns Green were forced into a number of changes and with Matthew Hoyte falling ill, it was Sprigge who took over command at Fly Half. His kicks over the advancing Shoreham defence made sure that Barns Green kept the play in Shoreham's half and it wasn't long before the second try was scored.
Much like the first, it was well disciplined phase play that netted the points. Barns Green sent the ball down the line to Nick Cooper who cut through the defence at the 22 and charged to the line using Green as a decoy to hold the last defender. He was taken down short but he managed to stretch and place the ball down over the line.
Rugby is a momentum game which ebbs and flows. It was Conway's yellow card that marked the beginning of Shoreham's momentum. Kicking deep into Barns Greens half they began to apply the pressure. Shoreham's fast back line were threatening to break through the lines but the creaking BG defence held out. After a number of penalties, Shoreham decided to take the 3 points in the hopes of returning for more.
Despite being a man down, Barns Green continued to apply the pressure in defence to ensure Shoreham stayed at just the 3 points. Some fast line speed was causing Shoreham some problems. The pressure defence forced a turn over which Barns Green took full advantage of. Some quick forward carries allowed the backs to run into some space passing the ball down the line sending Jack Bone in for Barns Green's third.
Shoreham came out flying in the second half and were the dominant team. After a mounting penalty count and some well worked phase play, the Shoreham pack managed to crash over the line 10 minutes into the second half. Shoreham's attack constantly threatened and they looked like they could score at any moment but for some good defence and last man tackles.
The game was nearly marred by what looked like a potential serious head injury to Barns Green Prop Danny Conway. Although rugby is a competitive and physical game, sportsmanship is always present and non more so when the Shoreham pack tried to alert the referee to the head injury even though they were only metres from the BG line. After some time, Conway managed to walk off unaided and the spinal board was put away hopefully to never be seen again.
Barns Green's much improved defence in the second half was crucial
After nearly throwing away a 26 - 0 lead against Worthing the week before, Barns Green knew they had to improve their second half defensive performance. Coach Simon Gaynor will be pleased to see that the men in green and gold held Shoreham's attack at bay for much of the game despite the increasing pressure. The work the team have put in during the mid week is clearly paying off and was pivotal in ensuring Barns Green continued their unbeaten run.
By not over committing to the break down, it meant Barns Green were able to settle their defence. The back three communicated well to make sure the kicks were covered, the pack remained resolute and every member of the team put their bodies on the line to make sure the dangerous Shoreham attack didn't break through.
With time running out for Shoreham, Barns Green were eventually rewarded for their hard defensive work. Shoreham spun the ball early at a scrum only for Sprigge to chop the defender and Bouet to go in for the steal. After not giving much all game to either team at the breakdown, it was relief to hear the whilst blow for the penalty. Unfortunately Cooper couldn't capitalise with the boot but it burnt crucial seconds off the clock and allowed Barns Green to regroup.
The final whistle blew marking a big win for Barns Green to take into their next game away at Steyning. Man of the Match went to James Dickson who put in an incredible and well disciplined defensive display. Having to step up to replace Danny Conway in the front row, he continued to hold his own at scrum time whilst putting in some big hits.
After the game he told the boys "I know I’m not often very vocal but I can’t help it after yesterday. This is without a doubt the greatest barns green squad I have had the pleasure to play , train and drink with. There were I’m sure so many more deserving Man of the Match candidates but I’m very proud to have been picked".
Barns Green go back on the road to Steyning this Saturday for a 2pm kick-off.
Man of the Match
1. Matt Taylor
2. Stephen Whittington
3. Danny Conway
4. James Dickson
5. Tom Smith
6. Joe Serna
7. Nick Coulson
8. Carl Brewster (vc)
9. Thomas Bouët (c)
10. Matt Sprigge
11. Tom Green
12. Jarod Van Blerk
13. Nick Cooper
14. Jack Bone
15. Rory Yeates
16. Mike Mann
17. George Wilson
18. Jamie Paige
19. Ben Baxter