Grove (31) vs. Drifters (16)
Grove keep up promotion hunt.
Grove kept up their promotion push with a fine win against Drifters from Slough on Saturday at Cane Lane.
The first half was a fairly dour affair with neither side really coming to life and Grove's discipline being poor, giving away several penalties. Drifters took the lead after 5 minutes from one of these. Grove were unlucky not to level when one of Drifters flankers was yellow carded for diving in but full back Roger Sevier's penalty kick attempt rebounded off the upright. Parity was achieved after 15 minutes of play however when another penalty was awarded to Grove and Sevier slotted for 3 : 3. This was enhanced ten minutes later with another Sevier penalty to put Grove 6 : 3 up. Drifters then levelled from a penalty with 30 minutes gone and this remained the situation until half time despite strong attacking runs from Grove's hooker Steve Dixey, prop Tim Lane, centre Jamie Burns, wing Harry Carr and Roger Sevier. Just before half time Carr was yellow carded for illegal use of the boot.
The second half started with Nick Sevier replacing Jamie Burns at outside centre. Grove now looked the more determined and it was only a matter of five minutes before they regained the lead with a try from fly half Dave Maryon after a great backs attack which resulted in a quick tap penalty being taken by scrum half Owen Gustafson who found his fellow half back for the latter to touch down. The conversion was missed but Grove were 11 : 6 up. Grove now looked fired up and another big attack came immediately from the restart with flanker Matt Young, lock Paul Miles, Nick Sevier and Gustafson prominent. The ball was finally popped to wing Guy Nicholl who had no trouble in going over to increase Grove's lead to 16 : 6. Again the conversion was missed and future kicking duties were passed to Harry Carr. There then followed a fairly long period of aerial ping pong which ended with a strong drive from the Grove forwards and a penalty which Carr slotted to increase Grove's lead to 19 : 6. Drifters replied in kind with their right wing slotting a penalty for 19 : 9. Simon Peel substituted for Carl Alder at flank for Grove. Grove regrouped and from a penalty scrum Carr was unlucky when the ball was punched out of his hands as he was about to touch down for a try. Drifters pushed back hard and their superb full back ran in a great try despite some desperate, and in one case dangerous and foolhardy, tackling attempts. With the successful conversion Drifters were right back in the game at 19 : 16. Tim Lane was now replaced at prop by Martyn Walsh who immediately got on the score sheet when, following a penalty line out and great forwards take and drive over the Drifters line, he emerged as the try scorer. Carr's conversion was missed but Grove were now clear at 24 : 16 and looking much the stronger side. Drifter's previously sin binned flanker now received another yellow thus red card for a tip tackle on Paul Miles. Jamie Burns returned to the fray as a rolling sub. Martyn Walsh then lead another attack at Drifters line but being stopped short slipped the ball to the supporting Roger Sevier who side stepped the remaining opposition to score a fine, bonus point try, converted by Carr to take the score to 31 : 16. Guy Nicholl was unfortunate not to be awarded a further try when he sprinted half the length of the field with the ball in hand only to be tackled but nevertheless touch down on the try line. With the referee nowhere near play he decided the ball was being held on the ground short of the line and awarded a penalty to Drifters! With the resultant penalty kick going to touch the game ended.