Sloppy performance but worthy winners
Ring rusty, but too powerful for a spirited Manchester squad, in a stop start encounter dominated by the ref's whistle.
It was agreed to play four 15 minute quarters, to allow both sides to play keep all players involved, as MV/Broughton arrived with a good squad at Manchester's Grove Park complex.
TMV/Broughton lined up as:
Dan O; Charlie DS; Anthony; Yousuf; Will C (capt.); Jacob; Jack; William; Luke; Oscar; Piotr; Alistair; Tom with Khalid; Dantaye & Louis making up the substitutes.
A bit of a shuffle today: Piotr having a run out in the backs - his first start at outside centre, Charlie starting at Hooker and Will moving into the second row as we start to look at some options available to us for next season.
From the first kick off MV were on the front foot, with Jacob's powerful run opening the scoring with Manchester unable to get a serious challenge in. No posts, so no conversions and after less than 20 seconds it was 5-0 to the visitors. A period of scrappy play followed, MV guilty of a few knock ons and giving away a series of harsh penalties, allowing Manchester to camp in the MV 22, before they made their possession pay and levelling at 5-5.
Anthony was abe to make good ground from the restart, and Alistair was at hand to finish the job off. 10-5.
Soon after Manchester looked like they had MV pinned on their line but a well executed line out allowed Jacob to break, again none of the Manchester players wanted to put a tackle in and the MV number 8 was able to score his second try having run the length of the pitch. 15-5. Yousuf soon added a fourth try, running in from half way. 20-5, but a poor 15 minutes, with the tries coming from individual runs as Manchester dominated possession, aided by the rather picky refereeing.
If anything the second quarter was even worse, Manchester scored two good tries either side of a well deserved try from Khalid who was able to mop up after Piotr and Oscar had made ground with good solid runs. 25-15 was the half time score and Manchester looked the better side, MV did have a try ruled out as Piotr fumbled over the line, but were grateful for some strong tackling from Luke and Louis to keep the gap to two scores.
The second half was much improved. MV taking full control of the third period, and although a series of knock ons spoiled a few promising moves, a solid MV scrum put Manchester on the back foot, Jack and William were able to press allowing the turnover to be won and Oscar put Piotr away for a great team try. Oscar again was the playmaker sending Jacob over from 10 yards to complete his hat-trick. 35-15 as we approached the final whistle.
Jacob was on hand to grab a fourth as the final period started, the MV pack winning a good scrum (the scrum set-piece improved immeasurably through the game, and by the 2nd half was a good source of possession), Oscar again tidying things up and setting up the try.
Piotr soon grabbed a second, powering over after a restart. 45-15.
Manchester took advantage of a couple of missed tackles, with Oscar and Louis both guilty of going too high in the challenge, allowing Manchester to squeeze in a the corner and the score narrowed to 45-20.
Jack soon secured a turnover and Tom was able to take the ball on, Anthony soon found himself in space and with Will in close support drove over for a good try. Will was soon back in the action, getting back into the line following a good scrum. He carried hard and made a lot of ground before Jack put Piotr away for his 3rd try and the teams 11th of the day, meaning the game finished 55-20.
Overall a sloppy performance, work organising the defence is needed, as well as upping the physicality especially in the backs. Generally handling was poor, far too many knock-ons, although the quality of passing was as much to blame. Expect more passing and handling drills lads.
Work on the floor was good, some excellent counter rucking from Anthony, Will and Louis, but a bit more work on timing when it's OK to get your hands in is needed, although it has to be said that there was some strange calls from the official which didn't help things. Charlie and Will carried well and looked after the ball in contact, and there was a pleasing lack of silly mauls from our boys, most people looked to go to ground quickly and passing from the breakdown was crisp.
Well played to Manchester who looked to play rugby, moving the ball well when in possession and already showing signs of improvement from our encounter in early March. Manchester had the lions share of possession too, but were unable to cope with the pace and power of the MV lads, Jacob, Piotr and Anthony were able to break tackles regularly, although Manchester did a good job keeping Dan and Yousef quiet, Tom was his usual energetic self throughout, joining the line frequently.
Charlie DS was man of the match, his work in the set piece was solid and he was one of the better defenders on the day.
Well done all.