Saturday, 30th September 2006, Grayfields
It was rumoured that an old Tech head had described last weeks tame defeat to Wallsend as the worst performance he had ever seen by the Wiltshire Way club. If that was the case then goodness knows what he thought of Tech’s latest endeavours in this league.
Having had the integrity of their rugby thrust firmly under the microscope after their inadequate display at Benfield Road, Tech turned in a performance so utterly devoid of wit and imagination that, even at this early stage of the season, people are already speculating that a top 2 finish in this league looks way beyond Tech’s capabilities.
Against Wallsend Tech were rarely in the game. Possession was frittered away and Wallsend emerged victorious. Here Tech dominated in terms of possession and territory and still lost. For Tech not to have scored more than a solitary penalty goal having had a wealth of possession and territory beggars belief. A radical revamp of Tech’s tactical thinking is needed because frankly it was like watching someone try to play snooker with a length of rope!
Whitley Bay Rockcliff on the other hand left Grayfields with their 100% record in the league intact and their championship and promotion plans still firmly on track. Their game plan was simple enough but they executed it perfectly and took every chance that came their way. Their 2 trips to the Tech goal line yielding the 2 tries that settled the game in their favour.
The first came after only 5 minutes. Up to that point Tech had looked the more promising team, ploughing into their opponents and making their defence work hard. Cole missed narrowly with a drop goal attempt and from the restart, kicked deep by Terry Macauley, Tech took the ball up to half way where sloppy play at the ruck saw the ball turned over. The visitors shipped the ball to the wing where Gould advanced down the line, kicked the ball towards the line and beat Cole to the touchdown. There might have been a hint of obstruction on the way to the score but, in all honesty, Tech deserved to concede after their careless play at the ruck. Macauley improved the try with a marvellous touchline conversion.
Tech then took control and poor discipline at the breakdown from Whitley Bay, something that blighted their afternoon, saw Ian Wilson keep them pegged in their own 22. But no matter how hard Tech tried they simply couldn’t force their way through. Cole managed to put 3 points on the board with a penalty after 16 minutes and just when it seemed that the home side might settle down and convert their domination into points a second gift was presented to the visitors who gleefully accepted. A penalty at a scrum, given for dissent, saw Whitley Bay take the game into Tech’s 22 where a useful maul was eventually halted by a knock on. The visiting pack however, who dominated for much of the afternoon, exerted real pressure and harried Chris Williamson into hurrying a pass away. In hindsight it may have been better for him to advance as scrum half Hansen intercepted and grabbed the score which was again improved by Macauley
Tech tried vainly to battle their way back into contention but hard as they tried there was simply no breaching the Whitley Bay defence. Even when Whitley Bay were down to 14 men, Chris Black binned on 68 minutes for killing the ball at the ruck, Tech seemed clueless when going forward. It summed up their struggle perfectly.
Tech now face a tricky cup tie against Yorkshire 2 club Selby who, despite losing at the weekend, have made an excellent start to the season before returning to league action with a home game against Acklam. Much work is needed if their alarming nose dive is to be halted.
Pen: Cole (16)
Whitley Bay Rockcliff 14
Tries: Gould (5), Hansen (24)
Cons: Macauley (5, 24)
Allison, Bulmer, Foster, Donnelly , Cole, Wilson, Williamson; Thompson, Hamilton, Howard, Jukes, Pinchen, Cameron (c), Brown, Stockdale, Subs: Campbell, Dove, Metson (all used)
Scrums 12, Attacking scrums 2, Scrums own on own put in 12, Scrums lost on own put in 0, Pens awarded 18, Kicked at goal 3 (2 misses), Kicked for touch 11, Ran 4, Lines won on own throw 20, Lines lost on own throw 5
Whitley Bay Rockcliff
Bailey, Gould, Dean Harrison, Black, Dale Harrison, Macauley, Hansen; Ramsay, Neil Mayther, Hayton, Carson, Thornton, Noel Mayther, Briggs, Higginson, Subs: Merchant, Routledge, Lea (all used)
Scrums 15, Attacking scrums 0, Scrums won on own put in 14, Scrums lost on own put in 1 (0 against head), Pens awarded 5, Kicked at goal 1 (1 miss), Kicked for touch 4, Ran 0, Lines won on own throw 9, Lines lost on own throw 3
Referee: Malcolm Shorney (Durham)