Sunday 8th January 2023
The boys gathered on what was threatening to be a showery wet Sunday morning, to face a recently relegated Hastings team. You could feel the apprehension, the squad had already steeled themselves for what they had assumed was going to be a tough encounter. It was great to see the positive attitude from the first whistle. A few weeks out of the saddle due to the pre-Christmas cold snap and the holidays that followed, seemed to have distilled a passion in them for the fight.
An early close range try off of our scrum helped add fuel to their already roaring fire. Great to see beaming smiles all round, with a few grounding calls shouted around the lads for moderation since we were only 5 minutes into the first half, the game was far from won and we had a long way to go.
The level of skill had clearly not been diluted by their time away from the pitch, quite the reverse. Tackles were going in low, rucks were being won, the ball was travelling to the back line and the ball carriers had remembered that the only way is forward! Some intelligent kicking denied Hastings a couple of opportunities to get the ball over our line. We settled into the first half racking up 5 unanswered tries.
A brief break and the boys were hungry for further points, a couple of excellent end to end tries and a further two well engineered opportunities, took our final tally to 9. We had one superb crash try disallowed since the referee was unfortunately unsighted.
The first game of 2023 exhibited how far the group has progressed, intelligent ball play, commitment to the breakdowns, finding space down the line to the wings and above all the hunger to continually improve and gel as a unit. A thoroughly well deserved 45-0 win over a strong opponent.
Author: Andrew Latchford