Grove (15) vs. Windsor (20) - Southern Counties Cup Final
Grove lose after twenty minutes of extra time in this closely fought Cup Final.
Grove fly half Dave Maryon was unlucky at the start of the match when his penalty attempt rebounded off the upright. The next attempt was also missed but then a third penalty in front of the posts was converted for a 3 : 0 lead after 12 minutes. Windsor fought back with strong work from their forwards and, awarded a penalty, elected to take a scrum. Nothing materialised from this but a subsequent kickable penalty was then completely missed by Windsor. Prop Martyn Walsh was seen to be putting in strong tackles but it was Windsor who came again although Grove held them out thanks to good counter-attacking work from No. 8, Joe Bellinger. A great opportunity for Grove to score a try went begging when a run through the centre was stopped by Windsor with Guy Nicholl unmarked on the wing, desperate for a pass. With half time approaching it was Tim Lane who launched a big attack which resulted in a penalty but this went wide of the mark and the half ended with the score still at 3 : 0.
At the start of the second half Roger Sevier replaced Tom Harrington at inside centre and also took over the kicking duties. A penalty award to Windsor was reversed when their No. 1 prop was yellow carded and Sevier slotted the kick to move Grove to 6 : 0. Despite being a regular prop down Windsor managed to turn the Grove scrum and with a quick blind side pass from their scrum half to their outside centre the No.13 was able to touch down for a well taken try. The conversion was missed so Grove retained a 6 : 5 advantage but it was Windsor who attacked strongly and would have scored again if not for a superb tackle from Grove's young full back Danny Ferguson. Grove's reprieve was short-lived however when following a free kick and some missed tackles Windsor scored between the posts, which with the successful conversion, took them to a 6 : 12 lead and things were not looking good for Grove. Next Grove were awarded a penalty for Sevier to reduce the deficit to 9 : 12. At this point Dave Johnson came on at outside centre to replace the injured Nick Sevier. Flanker Matt Young was looking lively with good sniping attacks at Windsor but as with most of the match thus far Grove could just not get their backs operating effectively. Jon North came on at hooker for Jimmy Wallbridge and then Windsor were unlucky not to receive another card when Dave Maryon was completely 'clothes-lined' by a Windsor defender. This was however shortly followed by another yellow card, this time for the Windsor No. 8. Another penalty allowed Roger Sevier to level the scores at 12 : 12 with his third kick at the posts with full time looming. Unfortunately Grove then lost Bellinger to a rib injury so Nicholl moved to the back row with Huw Lewis coming on at wing. A free kick was then completely squandered by Grove and Windsor moved right back to the Grove try line only for what looked like a pushover try to be disallowed with their hooker receiving Windsor's third yellow card of the day. From the resultant Grove penalty they progressed to half way but Windsor then received a penalty which their kicker smashed against the crossbar and the score remained tied. Grove progressed out of defence thanks to some cool running by both Sevier and Matt Young and then thanks to more intervention from the RFU touch judge, Grove were awarded another penalty which, thanks to Windsor dissent, was moved 10 metres nearer to the posts. Sevier succeeded with his fourth kick at goal and Grove were back in the lead 15 : 12 with only minutes to go. Desperately Windsor regrouped and were awarded a penalty on the half way line which was to be the final kick of normal time. Staggeringly, the Windsor kicker who had had little success previously, beautifully struck the difficult long range kick to put the ball over and normal time ended at 15 : 15.
In the first ten minute period of extra time no further scoring occurred although it was Windsor who were looking the more dangerous. Indeed at the start of the final ten minutes their full back was able to evade some weak tackling by Grove and touch down for another, unconverted try leaving Grove needing six points or more to lift the trophy and progress to the Intermediate Cup Quarter Final. Sadly for Grove, underused winger Harry Carr then had to leave the field with a shoulder injury to be replaced by Jack Ponting. Grove threw everything at Windsor with good work from skipper James Eckert and North and then one of the Windsor locks received his team's fourth yellow card of the day which was converted to a red card for continuous backchat to the referee. This was followed by warnings to both coaches from the referee. Grove again progressed towards the Windsor line thanks to strong running from centres Johnson and Sevier and a neat grubber from Maryon, which in turn released Lewis for a run at the line but the desperately needed score did not come and the match ended with neither side really having played particularly well and with Windsor showing some remarkable indiscipline.