Slough 29 Grove 30 Saturday 6th March 2010
Dreadful refereeing almost destroys Grove's deserved victory.
Grove were almost robbed of a thoroughly deserved victory at Slough on Saturday when,
having dominated their opponents for most of the match and having delivered one of their
slickest performances this season, they fell foul of what they considered to be some odd refereeing
Unlike in some of their recent performances Grove really hit the ground running despite the
referee missing a late tackle on full back Nick Sevier followed by clear offside play from Slough
which resulted in a penalty to the home side! The attempt at goal was missed but Slough were then
awarded three more penalties, the last of which was converted for them to take a 3 : 0 lead. Grove
struck back immediately when No. 8 Ben Nicholl burst clear and fed the ball to his brother and
fellow back row man Guy Nicholl who outpaced all of the opposition to score a great try, converted
by fly half Roger Sevier and Grove were in the lead by 3 : 7. Grove continued to attack strongly
and were very unlucky when hooker Jon North accidentally overran the bouncing ball, for which the
referee awarded a penalty to Slough! It was Grove however who went further ahead from a Roger Sevier
penalty, awarded against Slough's outside centre, who was also yellow carded. Grove now upped the
pace and very fast passing between flanker James Kerr and Jon North followed leading to a Slough
line out after Roger Sevier's huge clearance kick found touch.
Very strangely the referee then refused to allow Slough's quickly taken throw in even though no line
out had been formed! Great interplay between North, Ben Nicholl and centres Ben Law and Jamie Burns
and finally winger Gareth Hudson ended when the ball went into touch but again it was Grove who
continued to attack with Ben Law powering his way through the opposition backs. Hudson was unlucky
in the next attack but Grove were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, which Roger Sevier put over
for a 3 : 13 lead, when flanker Guy Nicholl was illegally felled by one of the Slough players.
Slough came back strongly though their big pack and came close to scoring but were held out by the
Grove defence. It was then Grove who immediately went on the offensive with further great running
and very fast handling from Law, scrum half Nick Hayes, Roger Sevier, Guy Nicholl, wing Simon Peel
and Jamie Burns only ending when a Slough defender was able to call a mark. Slough pushed back into
Grove's half and were awarded a kickable penalty after a minor bout of fisticuffs between Slough's
left wing and Nick Sevier. The kick went wide however and Grove retained their 3 : 13 lead and then
increased it after prop Jimmy Wallbridge broke clear with the ball, feeding Burns who passed on to
Kerr who fed Guy Nicholl for the flanker to again show a great turn of pace, racing in to score his
second try close to the posts. Roger Sevier's conversion took Grove to a 3 : 20 lead and it looked like
Slough were out of it. With half time looming Slough had another unsuccessful penalty kick attempt
followed by a very difficult one for Grove but amazingly Roger Sevier maintained his 100% kicking
performance by slotting it from distance to give Grove a 3 : 23 half time lead. During the break
Grove substitutes Ed Church and Terry Eltham replaced hooker North and prop Wallbridge respectively. It was Slough who attacked strongly at the start of the second half but great defensive work, particularly
from Church and lock Jon Chapman held them at bay until a penalty came Grove's way after Roger Sevier
was flattened by a completely illegal shoulder charge from the Slough No. 4. A period of aerial ping-pong
followed before Slough scored their first try of the match following a line out close to the Grove
try line from which they were able to power over and then convert to take the scoreline to 10 : 23.
Slough were then amazingly awarded a scrum following a scuffle in which Jamie Fredericks was punched
in the face by the Slough number 5 in full view of the referee. Undaunted it was Grove who came straight
back when Fredericks, who had just replaced Jon Chapman in the second row, smashed his way over in the
corner following terrific work by Guy Nicholl and Simon Peel. The difficult conversion was again
slotted by Roger Sevier and Grove were in front with a seemingly unassailable score line of 10 : 30
but then everything changed! Firstly Ben Law was yellow carded for not rolling away after a tackle
almost immediately followed by Slough amazingly being awarded a penalty try when Jamie Fredericks apparently
went offside following a scrum, stealing the ball from Slough, even though there was absolutely
no certainty that Slough would have scored had this not happened and it was also debatable whether the
ball had actually been released from the scrum and was therefore in open play. Fredericks also very harshly
received a yellow card for this alleged misdemeanour and Grove were suddenly down to 13 men with their
lead reduced to 17 : 30. Despite this it was Grove who went on the attack but Slough sensibly changed
tactics and kept the ball with their big forwards and moved back into Grove's half of the field.
Slough were then very lucky when a clear knock on by them went unpunished and a penalty was awarded to
Slough instead! This was followed by another penalty to Slough although no offence could be
detected and from the move that followed a try was then awarded to the home side seemingly on the insistence
of one of the Slough supporters, the referee appearing to be unsighted! The conversion was missed but
the scoreline was now 22 : 30 and Grove and their supporters were extremely disgruntled. With time
fast running out further penalties were awarded to Slough for offences that nobody could see leading
to the Grove captain seriously questioning the referee about what was happening.
Finally Grove's numbers were restored to their full complement but with the referee allowing feeding to
the scrum, crooked lines out, forward passes, obstruction and holding on to ball on the ground by Slough
to all go unpunished it was clear that there was going to be another score to the home side soon even
though Grove were still playing the better rugby. Things went from bad to worse for Grove when the referee
then decided to yellow card Jamie Burns for what only he deemed as a knee to the body of the man he
tackled when Burns was actually pushed from the Slough side and fell over. What then followed was a
clear red card offence by Slough when following a clearance kick by Roger Sevier the Grove fly half was
completely and very dangerously flattened by a flying feet first and very late illegal attack from one
of the Slough forwards who received no punishment whatsoever! Despite all this Grove went back on the
attack through Fredericks and Roger Sevier who spun the ball to his winger but again the fly half was
taken down by a late tackle and again no punishment for Slough resulted! Then with all the Slough backs
clearly offside but not punished for it fighting broke out between the teams, the referee clearly having
lost control of the match.
Nevertheless once this subsided further penalties were awarded to Slough until they were on the Grove
try line from where they actually touched down for a try but this was missed by the referee and play
continued until a try was allowed following yet another penalty, which was quickly taken but illegally
not through the mark and while Steve Maryon, the Grove captain, was lying injured on the ground.
With the successful conversion Slough were now unbelievably within one point of Grove at 29:30.
The resultant drop out was declared by the referee to be the last action of the game but with the
ball being accidentally kicked directly into touch by Roger Sevier a penalty was then awarded to Slough
on the half way line which the Slough number 10 attempted to convert, thankfully without success.