Despite leading at half time, Barns Green couldn't hold on to get a much needed win against Shoreham.
Full Time: Shoreham: (8) 25 Barns Green: (10) 13
Trys: Cooper Cons: Cooper 1 Pens: Cooper 2
Coming into this game, Barns Green knew that they had to put in a big performance to turn around a two-game losing streak but that was going to be tough against the league leaders who were unbeaten at their home ground. Barns Green were welcoming back Joe Serna and Chris Bailey from injury however they lost a number of forwards in the lead up to this game.
A strip tackle on Barns Green's opening carry put pressure on the BG defence early on with probing crash ball carries from Shoreham forwards but as soon as the away side reclaimed the ball, they were able to clear their lines and take a breath from the fast start.
It wasn't long until Shoreham were back in the Barns Green red zone. Picking off an interception, Shoreham broke the Barns Greens lines before Wilson tracked back to prevent the Shoreham 8 from opening the score.
Shoreham were enjoying a dominant scrum and they took advantage of that in the 8th minute. Stealing the ball against the head, Shoreham 8 picked up and charged for the line breaking several tackles before reaching to score the try.
Barns Green responded pretty quickly. From the restart, they were putting Shoreham under pressure. Sniping runs from Bailey, Hoyte and Sprigge were making metres backed up by the forwards who were making sure the ball was recycled. Nick Coulson Joe Serna were dangerous around the ruck
Barns Green managed to get their try after a tackle dislodged the ball from Shoreham's 15 allowing Nick Cooper to kick the loose ball through and beating the winger to land on the ball putting Barns Green up by 2.
The game struggled to get any fluidity. It started to become very stop start with handling errors and penalties by both teams. Shoreham's most promising attack came after quick ball put their wing in however Jos Lee and Sprigge were on hand to bundle him into touch 7 meters form the line.
Barns Greens moment followed directly from the resulting line out. The forwards driving the maul to the 22 before releasing the backs. Fast hands saw the backs take the ball from their own 22 into the opposition 22. For all the money it looked like they could be in for a try but the bounce from Wilsons chip over the full back bounced the wrong way for Liam Yeates and unfortunately they couldn't convert it into points.
Lacking in fire power, Barns Greens scrum struggled against Shoreham's strength
For much of the first half, Barns Green were able to deal with Shoreham's scrum. Despite giving away a try against their own put in Barns Green were up at half time by 2 points. However the second half proved to be a different story.
Shoreham had a lot of the possession however they were struggling to be clinical at times with handling errors and needless penalties. Barns Green were holding up in defence managing to keep Shoreham's fast players out of the game whilst the forwards did their bit up front.
Still with the lead, it looked like Matthew Hoyte was in for a sure try. Standing up the Shoreham winger, Hoyte stripped the ball and broke down the line with no defenders in sight however the whistle blew for a dubious high tackle in the process of stripping the ball.
With Barns Green effectively playing 5 back rowers in their scrum it was bound to get hard for them to keep up with the much stronger Shoreham pack and it was no surprise this is how they scored their further two tries. Shoreham knew their strengths lay in their forwards and it showed with countless probing crash balls off first receiver.
Shoreham secured the win with two tries resulting from a driving lineout in the 54th minute and then a scrum driven over the BG line in the final moments were enough to end this game.
Final two games to end season on a high
Barns Green were on an impressive run of 8 games unbeaten before going on a three game losing streak. Apart from the defeat away at Haywards Heath all of their losses have been competitive and could have gone either way. Availability issues through injury cannot be ignored but that wont be in the minds of Barns Green as they take each game as it comes.
Their dip in form has little to do with ability and much more to do with mentality. You can't help but feel that if they can tune back into the positive mentality that saw them go on that 8 game run they will quickly find their groove and get back to winning ways.
Man of the Match
1. James Dickson
2. Stephen Whittington
3. Gage Pestridge
4. Carl Brewster
5. Tom Smith
6. Thomas Bouët (c)
7. Nick Coulson
8. Joe Serna
9. Chris Bailey
10. Matthew Hoyte
11. George Wilson
12. Nick Cooper
13. Liam Yeates
14. Josiah Lee
15. Matthew Sprigge
17. Tom Green