Brendan Pulls it Out of the Bag

By Chris Harrison - January 8 2012
Brendan Pulls it Out of the Bag
Jon Cole West Bucks began 2012 with a trip to Bishop Auckland to take on the host clubs 2nd XV.Having not played since the 10th Dec it took the Bucks some time to get into their stride. Play was poor to start and was to get worse as the half wore on.

On 5mins Bishop converted a simple penalty under the posts and 5mins later they took a well taken try, again under the posts, to go 10 points up.

For the next few minutes both teams had chances and good passages of play but could not convert these into points.

On 25mins West won a lineout on the hosts 22, won it, moved the ball to midfield where they won a couple of rucks and then moved it again with nice gentle short passes to release winger Matty Tyers to go over(10-5).

However West were still not playing well, losing ball in contact far too easily, and on 36mins Bishop exploited a poorly defended blindside to get their 10 point lead back(15-5).

As the clock ticked into injury time West put together their best attacking period thus far and spent several minutes banging away at the hosts line before Jon Cole was fed blind from a ruck, the full back dummied and ran round closer to the posts(15-10).


With the wind at their backs in the 2nd half The Bucks started as if it would only be a matter of time before they took the lead. They started well but once again poor retention and support allowed Bishops to regularly steal good attacking ball. As West failed to take their chances Bishops decided to take a couple of theirs. 12 & 17mins in they scored tries to extend their lead to 27-10.

West now look demoralised but fortunately their were a couple of players who had still not given in. Big winger Michael Foster was one of them and after a couple of good runs he used his nous to take a quick tap penalty and power over from 22m(27-15).

The Bucks now started to believe once again and on 32mins another excellent backs move was initially thwarted by Bishop before Cole picked up from the subsequent ruck, twisted and fed fly half Brendan Baggs who dove over. The mature fly half then converted his own try(27-22).

There now seemed an inevitability about the outcome, Bishop worked hard but they kept getting pinned down in their own half due to intelligent kicking from Baggs.

With 2mins to go the score came, again the ball was moved through the backs, centre Martin Todd made a half break and fed a beautiful pass to Cole as he fell. The full back then used his gas to dummy and go over for his 2nd try.

This still left Baggs with a tricky conversion but he pulled it out of the bag and the Bucks had won what was a very unlikely victory(27-29).

Although they still managed to make the last 60secs seem like an eternity as they failed to get the ball off the park and allowed Bishop to attack. Good defence eventually forced an error and the ref blew for full time.


Lets just hope this performance was down to the long lay off, at times the Bucks look fantastic as an attacking force but in defence too many players look to rest and not work as hard as they should – and this goes for all players from outside backs to the front row.

Missed tackles around the rucks and mauls get noticed and they will count against players in the long run. Yes players all love to have the ball in their hands but they also need to love defence as well, testing themselves physically is what its all about.

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