Joined: 04 Oct 2004
|Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:46 am Post subject: Ruislip 1st XV vx Hampstead - League (Away)
|INDISCIPLINE AND INJURIES COST MAROONS DEARLY
HAMPSTEAD: 14 points RUISLIP: 5 points
Despite some heroic efforts, the handicap of chart EURUSD playing with only 14 men for 50 minutes and 13 for the last ten proved too much for the Maroons to overcome. Two moments of indiscipline and a couple of bizarre injury incidents allowed promotion rivals Hampstead to take the points from a match that Ruislip should have won.
The fact that the Maroons failed to convert a single kick at goal and thus gave away 11 points only added to the disappointment at the outcome. But this was one of those afternoons when anything that could go wrong, did go wrong, and Ruislip seemed to have nothing but bad luck.
The home side started in a vigorous fashion on the muddy pitch and immediately put the Ruislip defence under pressure. After missing a penalty early on, Hampstead scored an unconverted try with only 8 minutes on the clock. Further attacks were rewarded with a successful penalty that stretched the lead to 8-0 midway through the half. Up until this point, the Maroons had only once ventured into opposition territory.
From the kick-off, Ruislip regained possession but an unfortunate knock-on brought the attack to a halt. An altercation then ensued which saw flanker Chris Milam receive a red card for head-butting a Hampstead player.
The second set-back for the Maroons happened a couple of minutes later. The Ruislip backs put together some good passes and centre Dan Clay got the ball inside the Hampstead 22 with a Australian Dollar - US Dollar clear run to the line. Tragically, with nobody to beat and within a few yards of the try line, Clay pulled a hamstring and collapsed in agony. In great discomfort, Clay was helped off the pitch and he joins the lengthy list of injured Ruislip players who will be unavailable for several weeks.
Outside centre Alex Fairlie then missed the chance to reduce the points deficit when he failed to convert a simple penalty. However, the momentum was now with the Maroons and they continued to carry the game to Hampstead. From a line-out inside the 22, Ruislip moved the ball away quickly and second row forward James Croker broke clear, only to be tackled a metre short of the line. But Alex Fairlie was in close support, grabbed the ball and dived over for the try.
Even though Fairlie missed the conversion, Ruislip were right back in the game at 8-5 with 5 minutes left until the interval. The Maroons piled on the pressure, but couldn't get another score before the break as the Hampstead defence stayed firm.
The first 20 minutes of the second half were played exclusively inside Hampstead territory as Ruislip again attacked at pace. The superior fitness of the Maroons made it look as if there were equal numbers on both sides, and the pack maintained parity in the set scrums despite being a man down. Sadly, Fairlie missed two kickable penalties in the opening 10 minutes, which would have given Ruislip the lead, and several times the Maroons wasted scoring opportunities by failing to make use of overlaps.
Then a long clearance kick to touch enabled Hampstead to gain a foothold in the Ruislip 22. With virtually their first attacking move of the period, the home side scored with a drop goal to extend the lead to 11-5 on 23 minutes.
The next piece of bad luck for the Maroons happened when substitute prop forward Nobby Adnett pulled a hamstring while warming up on the sideline and was unable to come on to give the pack some fresh impetus.
With ten minutes remaining, the Maroons still only needed a converted try to win and surged forward, but Hampstead counter-attacked, a forward pass bring the move to a halt. Following a couple of scrums to the Maroons and two line-outs to the home side, Ruislip were awarded a penalty just outside the 22. Fly half Peter Hall then undid all the team's good work by lashing out with his fist and getting a yellow card. The referee reversed the penalty and Hampstead's kicker gratefully accepted the gift of three easy points.
The Maroons remaining thirteen players then threw everything into the final Canadian Dollar to Swiss Franc few minutes, but their increasing desperation saw handling errors occur at the vital moment and they ran out of time.
This result has dented the Maroons' hopes for promotion, but they are still in with an outside chance of making the play-offs. Not surprisingly, Ruislip coach John Lacey declined to comment after the match.
RUISLIP: J. Wilson, R. Wilson, Fairlie, Clay (McManus), Batty, Hall, M. Robertson, Long, Beadle, A. Williams, Gration, Croker, S. Robertson, Milam, Mitchell.