Drizzle and cool weather made ideal conditions for this game. BMHS looking to avenge the 37-10 loss in the last encounter with RHS. Meanwhile, RHS again find themselves on the brink of play-off elimination and surely looking to use that motivation to drive their cause for the full 70 mins.
The game opened with what felt like two teams feeling each other out and trends would develop that held through most of the game. Both teams earned 2 tries in the first half and brought a 10 all tie into half time.
RHS supplied sustained pressure with multiple forward phase play and tight runs by front row pairing of Oguntona and Lawrence. 8 man Delaney also testing the BMHS def regularly. All too often the task of stopping these strong runners fell to BMHS fly half Lund, who was up to the task each time.
The opening fifteen minutes of the 2nd had RHS score and take a 15-10 lead. To add to the heavy running around the rucks, RHS scrum half McCabe was also peaking around looking for opportunities.
Sauter busted a big run for BMHS and tied the game at 15 all. There was also an air of momentum about the play. It certainly felt like BMHS were going to start rolling. BMHS had done a great job of absorbing the multiple phase play of Riverview, and in response were able to break long runs, all of which threatened to score, but seemed unable to tie together multiple phase play. I certainly thought that RHS would be fatigued from their style of play for what had now been 60 minutes of back and forth rugby.
On the ensuing kick off BMHS were able to attack and quickly get into RHS side of the field, only to commit an infraction resulting in a RHS scrum. From the scrum we saw consecutive phases of Delaney running, followed by a Lawrence run, McCabe took a quick
dart immediately after which Delaney was again running up field. Lund made what was her third tackle on the build up on Delaney on the 5 yard line and it seemed inevitable that Oguntona would score, and came as close as you possibly can, but still short of the line.
The next phase resulted in a knock on by RHS. The only type of knock ons present in this game were of the sort with scrum half or forwards trying to free the ball from the base of their own rucks, but with too many legs in the way.
The 5 metre scrum presented an opportunity for BMHS to relieve pressure, until RHS stole it against the head. The ball conveniently exited the left side of the RHS scrum in an ideal manner for Delaney to attack. Lucky for BMHS, Flanker Clowater was was able engage Delaney quickly and with the help, again of Lund, bring her down short of the line.
McCabe was on the spot to sneak in and looked the have crossed the line but was rejected before getting to ground the ball. Cullinan returned the shifty scrum half and deposited her neatly on the 4 yard line. Oguntona had another go and again BMHS stopped her. This time BMHS won a counter ruck and finally looked to get off their own goal line, only to knock the ball at the base of the ruck.
The result on the knock on was another 5 Metre Scrum, but with a RHS put in.
Quick service from McCabe to Macphee(M&M 2.0) resulted in Macphee scoring under the posts and final reward the RHS side for the sustained pressure.
RHS were now up 20-15. BMHS kicked off to the visitors and quickly was able to gain possession. A big run by Sauter looked to be a try in the making. With one player left to beat, RHS fullback Butland made the solo sideline tackle to save the lead.
BMHS looked to quickly score following this run, and perhaps would have but not for a penalty by RHS. BMHS were in a good kicking position and elected to attempt a kick at goal. Jensen made no mistake and slotted the first successful kick on the day and narrowed the score to 20-18 with plenty of time remaining perhaps to earn another such penalty opportunity or perhaps score a quick try.
BMHS received the kick off and on only the second phase lost it due to a strong counter ruck by Lawrence. BMHS tried to imitate the counter ruck on the their own 30 but were penalized for loosing their feet and going to ground over the ruck. RHS tapped and ran but made little ground. Struggling to get the ball out of the ruck, RHS committed a knock on.
BMHS won the following scrum and decided to kick the ball deep into RHS end and seemed to pursue with a good defensive line. In what was likely another game saving play, Butland fielded the ball on the RHS 30 and broke the tackle of the pursuing Lund and returned the ball 40 yards to the BMHS 40.
Sparked by the play, we would have RHS being awarded a penalty on the BMHS 20 a short time later. Again RHS, tapped and ran. McCabe was looking and took a shot around the edge of an early ruck to no avail. A few phases later, following another run by Oguntona, the platform was set for McCabe.
McCabe sniped in with what would be the final try and brought the score to 25-18. RHS converted the kick to put this one to bed for good. The kick off would be the last play of the game and the score rested at 27-18. Upon receiving the kick RHS quickly ran the ball out of touch, in a tackle, and were relieved to hear the final whistle.
A hard-fought, back and forth game was also a great show of sportsmanship from both sides.
If you got this far, you might be a rugby fan. RHS Boys play at HTHS tonight at 5. We hope that game is as good as this one was.
Check later for a quick summary of the HTHS Girls @ JMA. Also note, the MHS@EMM game scheduled for yesterday was postponed. As a result MHS remain the only unbeaten team in the division.