Despite not being the better side, ‘Ensians could have won this game, for they had sufficient scoring opportunities. However, medics were definitely the better organized, sharper outfit and they played with more aggression and vigor throughout. The home side were met with some hard tackling and strong rucking and were frustrated too often when chances were there for the taking. As it was, three tries to two was a narrow margin and says much for the home team’s ability to stay in the match despite being outplayed for much of the time.
From the kickoff, Luke Cowdell gathered and made great progress into the opposition 22. Elgar & Westland were quickly into their stride and pressure resulted in medics conceding penalties. After only seven minutes will cooper converted one to give ‘Ensians a 3 nil advantage.
The visitors were soon exerting their own pressure, counter- attacking, making turnovers and winning the breakdowns. ‘Ensians did not help themselves with some of their kicking and first-up tackling was not always decisive. From their put-in to a scrum in the 22, they were pushed off the ball and the visitors’ 9 picked up and darted over for a try. 5-3 with a quarter of the match gone.
‘Ensians then got themselves back into the game, earned a penalty, but unfortunately missed a simple chance to take the lead. Play moved to the other end and after a brilliant try-saving tackle by Cowdell, the ball came loose and a try ensued. The conversion was hooked, but the home side were now trailing 10-3 after 25 minutes.
Shape was lost, play became a bit static and Cowdell needed to put in another great tackle after a kick ahead had misfired. Medics looked strong and purposeful and should have been further ahead, but lost their cool and were marched back 10 metres after giving away a penalty and back-chatting. ‘Ensians then scored in the corner through will cooper on the stroke of half time following good running by Cowdell. The conversion hit the upright and came out, leaving a tally of 10-8 at the break in favour of the visitors.
From the restart, medics were quickly at full pace and forced turnovers, an area where they were clearly superior. However, the home side had a glorious opportunity for an early riposte, but a knock on with the line begging was a chance thrown away. The to-ing & fro-ing nature of the afternoon continued and after what looked, to home supporters at any rate, to be a knock on and a forward pass, medics went under the posts to register a 7-pointer and put themselves two scores ahead at 17-8.
The home side were coming out on the wrong side of some officiating decisions, attacks were faltering and the lineouts became untidy. A penalty kick missed touch and despite some really good play by medics, ‘Ensians had certainly had the chance to stay in the game. This was borne out next as some strong running and good handling by murphy, cooper and eaves resulted in a try wide out for Connor Bateman. 17-13 with half an hour left.
Again, ‘Ensians ran well through Howarth & Eaves, but a medics penalty took the score to a 7 point lead at 20-13 and the home side were unable to make any further inroads.
Ali Campbell’s arm injury did not look good and for the forthcoming cup runs particularly, we would hope that it is not as bad as that.
Medics almost scored again and it is fair to say that with both sides regretting missed chances, the final result was about right.