Swans Match Report
|Staines 17||Canterbury 21|
Saturday 24th March 2012
National League 3 London & SE
National League 3 London & SE
"Spruce Pruce takes Swans close to upset"
Lewis Pruce scored a spectacular try just as league leaders Canterbury were starting to pull away into what looked like an unassailable lead.
A determined Staines had to work hard coming back from 11-0 down, after Nicky Woodbridge scored a opportunist try in the corner and Martyn Beaumont added a couple of well struck penalties.
Lewis Pruce scoring his try in the 2nd half.
Staines had to make changes up front a lot earlier than planned, with the forever-reliable Rony Bachour coming on for the injured Mat Newman in the front row.
The major factor for Staines Swans was big Junior Harrison having a very busy game, supporting the play out wide as well as being a physical threat in the set piece. This was spectacularly exploited when on the 38th min after some Chris Bishay magic, Hooker Liam Shanahan found him self in open play and Junior in support. A step and a pop of the ball from Shanahan gave Harrison the space he needed to break the tackle line. Still with 40m to the try line, the big second row tucked the ball under his arm and went for the line. The Canterbury full back did not relishing the challenge of tackling 22 stones flat out and Harrison touched down between the uprights. Sean Flynn adding the extras, taking the teams of for a well earned rest from the sun at 7-11 to the away team.
James Cornish asking the questions going forward, supported by Lewis Pruce.
The second half did not start to well for the home side, after a kick and a lucky bounce presented Canterbury full back Beaumont with a try. From which he duly converted.
With Head coach Greg Knights cursing his teams luck, he could sense that the away team were riding their luck, and kept the messages from the side very positive.
This patience and endeavor paid off with James Cornish breaking the Canterbury tackle line squeezing a pass of to Lewis Pruce in support. Touching down under the sticks giving kicker Flynn, the easiest of chances to bring the score uncomfortably close for the champions in waiting 14-18.
Staines now full of purpose and confidence were now looking for the win. Back row Chris West was playing well, in supporting the ball out wide and with fellow back-rowers Mark Cornell not missing a tackle all game. Blind side John Kinnell never took a backward step all game.
Chris West going forward, supported by Mat Newman and Junior Harrison.
With referee Richard Harding adjudging the home side of “not staying on their feet” on the 60th min. Beaumont stepped up to take some pressure of the league leaders, taking the score to 14-21.
Harrison made way later in the game for first team debutant Nick Davidson at Lock.
Tom Cleary was again leading by example as all great captains do when they want their team to follow them.
Everyone was now playing for each other. This attitude rattled Canterbury, when with 10 mins to play Harding gave the home side an attempt at the post. For which Flynn calmly dissected the uprights.
The last 5 mins were all Staines continuously pounding the away teams try line Referee Harding kept penalizing Canterbury for infringing at the break down. After the forth time, captain Cleary had to ask the question that needed to be asked. “Yellow card sir” was the question ignored by Harding. “Penalty try sir” was greeted by a general smile.
The final whistle could not come quick enough for Canterbury. With score at 17-21 Staines Swans had secured a valuable bonus point. The disappointment in the players faces showed the signs of a game that could off and should off been won.
Staines 17 (7)
Tries: ; N Harrison, L Pruce
Conversions: S Flynn 2
Penalties: S Flynn
Canterbury 21 (11)
Tries: N Woodbridge, M Beaumont
Conversions: M Beaumont
Penalties: M Beaumont 3
STAINES SWANS were:
A Regan, J Webber, J Cornish, C Bishay, L Pruce, S Flynn, J Robinson, J Lee, D Walsh, L Shanahan, M Newman, R Bachour, N Harrison, Tom Cleary (capt), J Kinnell, M Cornell, C West, N Davidson.
With local rivals London Irish winning and leap frogging Staines in the league. Next weeks game at The Avenue has the making of a cracking game of rugby.