Grove (3) vs Towcestrians (25)
A much depleted Grove 1st team, with their remaining regulars generally having to play out of position, went down to Towcestrians on Saturday.
Despite their availability problems Grove had their opposition under the cosh for fully 31 minutes from the start of the game when Towcestrians did not once get out of their own half of the field and indeed spent most of it in their own 22 metre area. During this time, when the Grove forwards had complete dominance, the team had several good opportunities to score, but could not break through. Such was Grove’s confidence however that they declined two simple penalty kicks in front of the posts in favour of forward’s charges but unfortunately these came to nothing and in fact both Grove and Towcestrians each lost a forward player to the sin bin, Grove’s miscreant being hooker Steve Dixey. Finally when another penalty was awarded to Grove, Harry Carr, playing at full back, stepped up for the relatively straightforward kick but unfortunately missed the target.
Eventually Towcestrians broke out and following a strong forwards drive to the Grove line scored a try in the corner which, just to rub salt into the wound, was also converted from near the touch line for a 0 : 7 lead. Grove tried to come back but despite more territorial advantage were making too many individual thrusts rather than playing orthodox running team rugby and as a result achieved no score.
Although Towcestrians had looked like a beaten side for most of the first half, Grove’s inability to actually put together a try scoring attack had clearly given their visitors renewed confidence and their heads were noticeably going up. Carr for Grove did manage to slot a penalty to take the score to 3 : 7 but this was immediately negated by a well struck penalty from Towcestrians to take the score to 3 : 10. Next Grove lost captain and prop James Eckert to a yellow card for an alleged illegal tackle but stand-in wing Mike Davies was looking good with strong support play.
Clearly Grove were struggling, not having the back line they would have liked, but next the Towcestrians scrum half received a yellow card to temporarily even up the numbers. Eckert then returned and Grove launched a promising attack but Towcestrians were beginning to move up through the gears and were beginning to take control. By spreading the ball wide their backs ran in two more trys, one of which was converted. They also added a further penalty to end a black day for Grove.
The opinions expressed in this report are my own and do not necessarily reflect the way others may have seen or interpreted this match.