14/04/18 Tigers 1st XV 10 - 31 Huddersfield
Another Saturday another should win game. At this point the temptation is to say read last weeks match report and just change the name of the opposition. Once again Tigers found themselves playing catch up after just 3 minutes when, from their first attack, Huddersfield broke through 2 tackles and the second row crossed the line. The kick was missed but Tigers found themselves 5 – 0 down and chasing a score. They showed promise when they let the backs run but were held up on the Huddersfield 22 and from the scrum the home side launched another attack. Tigers defended well and, not for the first time, got good turnover ball. A knock on gave Huddersfield a scrum and a chance to attack but Tigers defence was solid until they were penalised for not releasing and then failed to retreat 10 metres. A quick attack by Huddersfield saw the ball knocked-on by Tom Farrell and, rather harshly, a penalty try awarded as well as a yellow card. 12 – 0 after just 10 minutes. The decision seemed to dishearten the Tigers players and just 2 minutes later the home side attacked and Tigers missed two tackles. The ball was passed through hands and the left wing crossed the line in the corner. The conversion was missed and Tigers were now 17 – 0 down and looking at a long afternoon. Tigers still had their moments but seemed to lack fire and determination which was summed up when a penalty missed touch and was returned with interest by Huddersfield. From the line-out Tigers overthrew and the flanker crossed the line. The conversion was good and 24 – 0 and a bonus point had been achieved after just 17 minutes. Tigers now seemed to come alive and some good scrummaging by the pack was beginning to show the weakness in the Huddersfield side. Similarly, the back row of Liam Wallace, Matt Adcock and Frank Wragg were putting in some hard hits on the home side players who were beginning to react in a physical way. The front row of Will Bennett, Tom Coates and Ed Simmons were getting on top and starting to bully the bigger opposition. This led to a succession of penalties and Tigers were camped on the Huddersfield line but seemingly unable to cross it. Will Archer replaced the hard-working Adcock but the pressure, for the second week running, failed to turn into points and after a line-out disagreement the home side hooker was heading to the touch line for what should have been a 10-minute rest which would take it to half time. On 37 minutes Lewis Bloor was replaced by Al Symcox and the game continued as an even fight. As the 40 minutes was played Tigers were applying pressure again and the Huddersfield hooker found himself back on the pitch As the 45th minute approached Tigers were having to defend and only some great tackles by Tom Hart and Gregg Mellor stopped them going further behind. From a line-out Tigers turned the ball over and won the penalty, cleared upfield and had a line-out. With 49 minutes now played the line out resulted in another scuffle with both Wragg and the Huddersfield tight head being yellow carded. With 50 minutes on the clock the Huddersfield second row crossed the line for a converted try which gave them a rather distorted lead of 31 - 0.
The second half saw Tigers attack from the off and good play by the backs saw Farrell and Hart make good breaks supported by the rampant forwards who were putting the home side on the back foot. Another attack found a bullish Jamie Broadley who crossed the line to make it 31 - 5 after just 3 minutes of the half. From the restart Tigers attacked again and we were left wondering why they hadn’t played like this in the first half. It was clear that the sides were evenly matched and it was going to be a tight second period. Huddersfield were defending well and Tigers were having to make ground inch by inch. What was different to the first half was that they were no longer making silly errors and giving the ball away. From a line-out taken beautifully by Wragg Tigers set up a driving maul and crossed the line for a try scored by Coates. The conversion was missed but Tigers were now 31 - 10 and looking like they could claw their way back into it. Tigers were now creating the opportunities and, to be fair, Huddersfield were looking like a side that were not sure what to do next. Tigers now made a raft of changes with Louis Taylor replacing Dom O’Connor, Joe Duffy on for Tom Outram, Bloor replacing Symcox and Ross Thornton on for Sam Ellis. Tigers continued to pressure and a good break by Farrell was kicked through for Taylor to chase but drifted into touch. Another great break by Farrell ended as he kicked the ball past the last defender who then body checked him to the ground. No penalty try just a penalty and a yellow card for the Huddersfield flanker – much to the delight of the big second row who actually committed the offence. Tigers maintained the pressure and a good break by Broadley was stopped short. A cut to the head meant he had to leave the field and O’Connor came back on to replace him. Both teams were now giving away penalties but Tigers made one last effort as Wragg took a good ball off Huddersfield but could not make progress. The whistle went - after 40 minutes this time – and another game had got away.
The second half performance belied the dismal first half. There was effort, fight and grit together with a lot of skill. The forwards were aggressive and dominant but, unfortunately, it’s a game of two halves and you have to play both of them not just one.
Scorers: Tries: Broadley (1), Coates (1)
Team: Bennett, Coates, Simmons, Bloor (Symcox Al), Ellis (Thornton), Wallace, Adcock (Archer), Wragg, Holmes, Farrell, Mellor, Hart, Broadley, O'Connor (Taylor), Outram (Duffy)
Replacements: Thornton, Archer, Symcox Al, Duffy, Taylor
Match Report: Graham Cockshutt
07/04/18 Tigers 1st XV 26 - 34 Blaydon
Another Saturday Night and ……….
Another Saturday and another game that would ensure safety – assuming Tigers could win. The visitors from Blaydon have been putting together some good results of late and no one was under any impression that it would be a “gimmee”. From the kick-off it was clear that Blaydon had come with all guns blazing and were determined to make an impression. Tigers, on the other hand, seemed to think the balmy weather was a recipe for a stroll around the park!
The play soon reflected the two attitudes and within 2 minutes the visitors were 0 – 3 up following a Tigers penalty in front of their own posts which was converted by former Newcastle Falcons fullback Catterick. Tigers went on the attack from the restart but another penalty + an additional 10m gave Blaydon the chance to launch another attack. A crashing tackle by Tom Coates in his first game back stopped them in their tracks and won the home side a penalty which they squandered when they were penalised at the subsequent lineout. The free kick became a penalty when the ball was kicked away and, from the lineout and attack Blaydon crossed the line for flanker Lenderyou to touch down. With the extras added the visitors were 0 – 10 up after just 11 minutes. Just 2 minutes later it got worse as the Tigers restart went straight into touch and from the lineout Blaydon launched another devastating attack which resulted in No 8 Laughlin touching down and Catterick once again converting. 0 - 17 after 13 minutes and Tigers seemed to be at a loss to know what to do. Another Blaydon break looked likely to score again but a penalty saved Tigers that humiliation. It was, however, only a short relief from the pressure as Tigers were being comprehensively outplayed. Although they launched some attacks the home side looked lethargic and were poor in defence missing too many tackles and only half stopping the determined Blaydon attackers. The inevitable happened after 19 minutes when winger Marshall crossed the line for another converted try to make it 0 - 24. Tigers replaced Al Symcox with Lewis Bloor and began to look at the prospect of it being a long afternoon. The forwards were finding the scrums one of the better parts of their game and began to dominate the set piece. From a set piece where Ed Simmons, Coates and Will Bennett put on massive pressure, aided and abetted by Bloor and Sam Ellis, Tigers won a penalty which they put into the corner. The result was another penalty followed by two more massive scrums the last of which saw the Blaydon prop taking a flying lesson. The referee awarded a penalty try and at last Tigers were on the board at 7 – 24. It didn’t thwart the Blaydon attack and, with Tigers still missing tackles despite the hard word of Liam Wallace, Mat Adcock and Frank Wragg, Tigers found themselves having to defend. Eventually the visitors saw a gap and Tigers conceded another converted try to make it 7 – 31 with 10 minutes to half time. The restarts were working well with Tom Farrell getting plenty of practice! From the latest, Tigers launched a meaningful attack with Greg Mellor making a good break and eventually winning a penalty. Tigers maintained the pressure and following a good move along the back-line Thomas Hart went over and Farrell converted to make it 14 – 31 at half time. It could have been better with Tigers missing a couple of good try scoring chances late in the half … it could have been worse with Blaydon also wasting 2 or 3 good chances. At least Tigers were still in with a shout having played 40 minutes of fairly uninspiring rugby. Individuals contributed well but as a team it left much to be desired.
The 2nd half began much better. For a side well ahead Blaydon came out looking as lethargic as Tigers had in the first half. Whatever was discussed at half time, Tigers came out with intent and after just 1 minute Farrell crossed the line to touch down and convert to put Tigers back in the game at 21 - 31. From the restart the home side began to put pressure on a Blaydon side that seemed to have run out of steam after their first half effort. Tigers pack looked dominant and some good runs by Adcock, Wragg, Jamie Broadley and Dom O’Connor put them on the front foot. Ryan Holmes was controlling the ball at the lineout and the scrums with the front row showing their power and technique. Tigers were winning penalties at the scrummages and controlling the play but, of some concern, were not turning it into points. Eventually a great break by Mellor found Broadley in support and he crossed over in the corner. The kick from wide was missed but Tigers were now within touching distance of getting ahead at 26 – 31. Tigers now piled on the pressure with good breaks from Simmons, Farrell, Broadley, Wragg, Hart and replacement Louis Taylor. Good breaks but no tries which meant that there was something of a stalemate. Blaydon suddenly began to realise that the win could be theirs and kicked the ball upfield at every opportunity forcing the home side to attack from deep if they wanted to win. Tigers still had chances as they dominated the scrums and won penalties. It began to look, however, that they would have to settle for 2 points which would at least make life easier. With 2 minutes to go Tigers launched an attack from their own 22 only to be turned over and penalised giving Blaydon a kickable penalty which Catterick slotted it over to make it 26 – 34. Despite one last effort by Tigers they could not score and the final result meant they came away with just a try bonus point.
What can you say? A lacklustre first half that still saw Tigers in the game was corrected in the second half but they failed to turn pressure into points. There were too many missed tackles, half tackles and squandered opportunities to claim they deserved to win. Tigers may (or may not) be safe but there is no place for complacency. Players need to dig deep for the remaining 3 games and give the supporters a reason to look forward to next season with hope rather than trepidation. Lets get behind them at Huddersfield next week and show them what Tigers can do.
Scorers: Tries: Broadley (1), Farrell (1), Hart (1), Penalty Try (1)
Conversions: Farell (2), Penalty Try (1)
Team: Bennett, Coates, Simmons, Symcox Al (Bloor), Ellis, Wallace, Adcock, Wragg, Holmes, Farrell, Mellor, Hart, Broadley, O'Connor (Taylor), Outram
Replacements: Archer, Hopkins, Bloor, Duffy, Taylor
Man of the match: Tom Coates
Match Report: Graham Cockshutt