Milton Keynes RFC (34) vs. Grove RFC (34) - Saturday 17th April 2010
An amazing game with an amazing result!
Grove secured 3rd place in the league by drawing with Milton Keynes in a most exciting match of changing fortunes on Saturday. Had MK won they would have claimed the 3rd spot and Grove would have been 4th so it was imperative to Grove not to lose this nail-biter.
Things could not have started more bad badly for Grove as MK hit the ground running and scored two converted trys within the first two minutes of play. Badly stung, Grove's outgoing captain and lock Steve Maryon then did a magnificent job of rallying his troops bringing them back into the game and by displaying some superb individual rugby skills of his own. Grove launched into MK and pushed them back into their own half with all of the Grove backs and forwards running hard at their opposite numbers. Finally the pressure told and Grove were awarded a free kick which was turned into a penalty when an MK player deliberately threw the ball away. Fly half Roger Sevier kicked between the posts for the first success of what was to be a 100% kicking display by him and Grove were 14 : 3 down. It was the visitors who kept the pressure on with great attacking and then following a penalty on half way centre Ben Nicholl had a superb run finally passing the ball to full back Nick Sevier who came into the line like a rocket and touched down without challenge. Brother Roger's conversion brought Grove right back into the game at 14 : 10 with 20 minutes gone. Again Grove hit back through a superb 75 metre run by left wing Tom Harrington only thwarted by MK scrum half Dan Pearson who showed remarkable speed to catch the flying winger. But this resulted in another penalty quickly taken by Roger Sevier who passed to brother Nick for him to zoom over the line for his second try and with the successful conversion Grove were amazingly in the lead 14 : 17! It was now MK's turn to attack and they won a penalty but the attempt at the posts was missed. The immense pressure on Grove continued with very slick MK play but great defensive work from lock Paul Miles and James Kerr in particular held them at bay. Lee Wright replaced the injured Guy Nicholl temporarily in the back row for Grove and then in stoppage time MK were awarded a penalty in front of the posts successfully kicked to provide a 17 : 17 half time score.
The second half started with a long period of MK possession and in particular their outside centre (13) and scrum half Pearson shone with superb probing runs. Grove's defence again held with Jon North and Guy Nicholl particularly standing out until MK won another penalty but the attempt at the posts was missed. MK kept up the pressure but No. 8 Jamie Fredericks and Roger Sevier put in great tackles. Eventually a terrific run from Pearson lead to a great but unconverted try to once again put MK in the lead at 22 : 17. Grove eventually turned the tide and broke out of the long period of MK possession winning a penalty just inside the MK half. Superbly Roger Sevier slotted the difficult kick to reduce the arrears and the score was 22 : 20. Great attacking play from wing Gareth Hudson lead to a big surge from Grove but MK were able to touch down for a 22 metre drop out. Grove replacements Steve Dixey and Jon Chapman came on in the front and back rows respectively and both immediately made their presences felt with some great tackling. Grove's pack began to master their opponents with good driving mauls but somewhat against the run of play the MK winger took a great pass from their centre and sprinted over for a converted try, leaving Grove needing two scores, at 29 : 20, to win with time fast running out. Paul Miles superbly collected from Grove's kick off and it was the visitors who were back in the ascendancy. Centre Ashley Lane made a very strong run for the MK line but was stopped just short of the try line. A series of kickable penalties to Grove were tapped and the reward came when Chapman forced his way over the line for Grove's third try, converted by Roger Sevier to take the score to 29 : 27. Again it was Grove who stormed back into MK through Miles and scrum half Dave Maryon who got the ball to Roger Sevier who scooped it to brother Nick for the full back to beat what was left of the defence and score an amazing try between the posts, completing his 'hat trick' for the afternoon. Roger Sevier's conversion provided what was felt to be the winning scoreline of 29 : 34 but with virtually no time left on the clock the referee allowed the MK restart and despite a great run out of defence by prop Jimmy Wallbridge the ball was lost and MK created an overlap in the backs and their right winger shot over in the corner to level the scores again at 34 : 34. Much to Grove's relief the difficult conversion was missed and an absolutely fantastic match to end the season came to a close with Grove in 3rd place and Milton Keynes in 4th. What a game!