Match Report: 1st XV v Howe of Fife RFC : Saturday 28 November
Saturday was definitely a day for the forwards. The weather in Cupar started off OK but gradually got wetter and wetter as the afternoon progressed. The pitch was heavy before kick off, with areas looking slightly the worse for wear due to the construction of the new club house / stand. This meant that the warm up was done off-field with the hope of keeping the pitch in good condition for the game. I think this effort was in vain, as you could tell after 5 minutes and 2 scrums that you’d probably need Willie’s tractor to flatten it post match.
The game started, and, inevitably, there was a knock on. The first scrum was set and immediately our pack was in the ascendancy. In the video you can hear the camera boy say “Christ, that’s a big pack, eh?” – which is true when you see Momo being dwarfed by Alex (even if his hair is a little dubious). We pushed them back 10m before drawing the penalty initially then scoring from an 8/9 pick for Ross McCann. This set the tone for the game and the forwards looked to be ‘enjoying’ it … or whatever forwards feel when this stuff happens. Big Roo was heard saying “I hope we just scrum for 80 minutes!”
Howe enjoyed a couple of periods of pressure within the first half, although our defence was excellent, with low tackles being the order of the day. This provided Howe with no go forward ball and forced mistakes. Our back line was significantly changed from the previous week but it performed brilliantly considering the conditions. Hard running and putting the ball into the right areas of the pitch allowed us to apply pressure. A series of pick and goes took us from outside the 22 right up to the try line, and, after some scrum pressure and a yellow for Howe’s flanker, Howie was able to walk the ball over the try line and fall on it. One of his best tries.
The final portion of the first half saw us applying a lot of pressure on Howe. It came down to the scrum again, and, after a couple of penalties and resets, we were able to get another push over. Again, this will be making Howie’s highlight reel. As I was handing out the water as the boys made their way back to half way, Rhys and Willie looked excited for another 40 of this. Both really hate not getting a full 80!
Half time Howe 0 – 15 Stew Mel.
The second half started and it was more of the same – good, low tackles and playing in the right areas. 5 minutes into the second half Ross got a second try after good pressure resulted in a mismatch. Ross hit more rucks at the weekend than he had in his whole life (3 in total) but he put in a good shift at 13.
Howe applied some pressure and managed to gain a try back, making it 5 – 22, and this is how it would finish. The rain really started teeming down, but that made Dan even happier as he was starting to overheat on the wing.
Manson had to come off with a shoulder injury, which was bad news for me as I had to give up my cosy jacket for him – which was kind of selfish but hey ho – and things got worse when the inevitable Bowie yellow card appeared. I think he saw Manson get a warm jacket and wanted one himself, but he was made to stand in the rain and think about what he had done.
Tom Croy came on on the wing to try and impress the Orcadian support that had turned out to watch him. Craig, Angus, Berrisford and Wilson were also emptied on to give the team a boost, and did so. Having moved to 10 for Manson, Rennie played well and ‘Portus’, playing at 15, kept the pressure on the home side throughout the whole game.
Max, who had been subbed off from flanker, was then reinstated at 10 for the last 5 minutes due to Rennie receiving a head knock. At stand off Max really controlled the game and distributed excellently – look out for him appearing more in this role.
The last play of the game saw Willie eat one of the other players in a hard tackle but he was then yellow carded – I think it was too hard a tackle or something.
Full time Howe 5 – 22 Stew Mel.
Over and out,
Mike “Iron” Hanning