Thursday, 22 October 2009

South Gower Report

Mumbles Crusaders 46 South Gower 36

With today's transport provided by the Latimer County Confiscated Blimp Dept, the Crusaders Balloon Odyssey finally came to ground on the Bishopston Grasslands for an 11 am kick off against the local chapter of the South Gower Gauchos. In total, 21 squad members emerged from their attic hideaways, leading the Coaches to employ the technically and kinaesthetically difficult 10/11 x (3p x 15) - 2ls rolling substitution strategy to ensure all players had equal game time. With Lyndon kindly offering to referee the game and generously providing Crunchie McFlurries all round in celebration of Llandovery's emphatic victory over Aberavon, the game commenced on schedule.

During the first of the three periods, the Crusaders players set about their task in hand with great enthusiasm, quickly scoring a succession of well worked tries and demonstrating a Spartan resilience in defence. Good game awareness was shown in most of the basic building blocks of the game, with tackles being made, rucks cleared out and passes being made and completed. This in turn led to an even distribution of tries as a result of this collective effort. Although South Gower were being clearly outplayed during this period, they refused to buckle and their defiance was rewarded with a try of their own towards the end of this period.

In the next period, the second 10/11 x (3p x 15) - 2ls team evidently thought the game was won, and as a consequence slightly lost their composure and appetite for the challenge, and although matching South Gower try for try, the negative vibes emerging from the players allowed the mystical psychological pendulum to swing in the favour of our visitors. Towards the end of the period, it was the Crusaders who were glad to hear the bell for some respite from the South Gower onslaught.

In the final 15 minute period, the two formulaic teams shared the duties of trying to stem the tide. However it was evident by this stage that the rot had set in, with Crusaders players standing off rucks, avoiding tackles and opting for the scenic route rather than the direct route with ball in hand. At times they appeared more concerned with the Squidwood / Patrick conundrum in episode 19,452 of SpongeBob Squarepants than facing down the pumped up local Banderols, who sensed a famous scalp in the waiting. During this temporary malaise, South Gower scored 4 unanswered tries to give them a one point lead with just two minutes left on the clock. With Mike M now reaching for the paraffin and matches to burn the goalposts down in commemoration of an infamous South Gower victory, the Crusaders rallied and scored two late, late tries to seal a narrow victory.

Well done to all players and supporters from both teams during todays game, and for Lyndon's superb refereeing. For the Crusaders there were far more positives in our performance than negatives, yet we still feel that sometimes a gentle bit of constructive criticism can help all players improve during this stage of their rugby development. While it is nice to win, it is how you play and respond during the game that is still of paramount importance. Thanks to all parents for supporting this viewpoint during the post match analysis and "Honesty Session."

Congratulations to all attached to South Gower, and especially their excellent coaches Rob and Gareth. They are developing into a really useful outfit who gave us a real run for our money today, and if anyone thought that there was any gulf between the two teams, after today's exceptional display, they are clearly mistaken..

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