J4 XV v Bective Rangers
Metro League Division 8
Friday 1st December
Another Friday night lights in Donnybrook and a visit to the Bective astro that we are getting to know well as we compete again with them in another league campaign. That being said as we have now played each other on more than a few occasions it was evident this Bective squad were prepared for this game with a bigger pack and a changed back line, they also had the numbers on the bench. This side has had a difficult start to the season and evidently conceded games due to lack of numbers etc, leaving them second from bottom going into this game. This was therefore their opportunity at home to take a scalp of the unbeaten league leaders with a bigger squad assembled.
This was the case from the start and Bective came out firing , tuned in and put on the early pressure on pinning us back in our 22. Our kicking game was weak throughout the first half and Bective dominated here leading to some forced errors for ourselves with ball handling. It was obvious with the first few minutes that the experienced heads on the Bective side were going to make a big difference in this game. They perhaps knew that if we recycled quick ball to our back line our running rugby game was a huge threat. They therefore aggressively competed at rucks and did win some big turnovers, they also organised themselves effectively in D and spread their line where required. It took 15 mins until Bective were finally rewarded with their first score after a backfield kick was knocked on by Mary’s giving Bective good field position. They used the resulting phases and their big pack to eventually drive over our line and added the con.
The early battles and physicality of the game resulted in a few knocks with Dara and Liam both picking up ankle knocks. Dara stayed on while Liam had to be replaced for Gary materson putting in another fine performance with tackles in D. It wasn’t really a night for our ball carriers gaining big yards as in previous games given the fact that this was a better more experienced pack we were against making better decisions at the early breakdown. However Mary’s did start to grow into the game more and more and got back up the field to put Bective under pressure on their line leading to our agile pack rucking over the line with Cian getting the score. Cian put in a huge performance on the night while also carrying through the game with a knock on the shin. His workrate earned him the MOM award on the night. Dara added the con.
7-7 20mins gone – another tight game
Bective came back straight away looking to put down a marker and after being awarded a penalty at the breakdown for not releasing near our 5m , Bectives experienced lads were quick to spot our lack on numbers on the blindside and quickly got the ball out the left wing to get over in our corner. Their place kicker certainly turned up tonight and was good off the boot throughput adding the con here.
Bective had obviously highlighted our left side and continued to target here with their kicking game making it a tough night out for Ryan and jack. Like all Astro pitches the bounce of a ball can be your best friend or worst enemy and it certainly wasn’t on our side this night. However our lads keep up the battle and we knew this was a game where we had to be more patient with the ball and keep doing the basics right. We got back into the Bective 22 where we were awarded a penalty for Bective coming in from the side of a Mary’s maul. With the instructions from the sideline Dara and gibbo made the onfield call to rightly take our points while deep in Bective territory. Dara added the pen.
Although turning out to be another tight game we knew it was there for the taking and this Bective side were going to find it hard to keep up the pace of our pack with the likes of Marius , John luc , max and daragh putting in big shifts and big tackles , a big order against this pack. Our scrum held well throughout and our lineout was good against some tall second rows.
Mary’s kept the pressure on and by being patient we eventually executed on what this team has being doing best, quick ball from the pack and quinny putting it out the backline where Thady gave Cody another great pass and space to get over in the corner.
15-10 Mary’s on the HT mark.
Mary’s had done extremely well to get back on top of this game, but this Bective side were ready and had a decent bench to offload. They came into the second half applying early pressure and got a few lucky breaks again where the bounce of the ball didn’t go our way. Mary’s got hit with an early try which also allowed Bective to easily add the extras.
The Bective line were playing quiet flat and high at this stage and the option was on for some high garryowens to put them under pressure , force some errors and hopefully get a few lucky bounces of our own. Mary’s were then unfortunately hit by another Bective break which put them over to extend their lead to 26-15.
At this stage we again needed some patience to get some good ball and control in the game, there was still planet of time left in this game. Mary’s worked hard and upped their game quickly getting back into the Bective 22 where we were awarded a penalty for a high tackle. Dara took the points on offer. 26-18
Marius and Aaron came off at this stage after putting in two great shifts on the pitch. Colm and Alex came on and slotted in putting in some big carries. Bective also now used their bench effectively and took off more of their pack noting Mary’s fitter pack getting more into the game. Their bench was pack loaded for a reason and they were to come under some big pressure from our lads knowing that a win was still in sight. In fairness to Bective they defended well and were not easily going to give up this game, a big test for both sides but more so Mary’s who had to come from behind and get back in the game. Mary’s kept the pressure on Bective eventually leading to Ryan miller getting over in the corner after a nice backline move. This brought the score to 26-26 and a tense closing few minutes.
Bective got back down close to our 22 where they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts , their kicker was on form tonight and again Mary’s were chasing the game entering the last few mins. On the last play Mary’s done well to right back up the the field and have another go at Bective but they turned over ball at the ruck and the ball fumbled out with the resulting ball kicked clear.
Bective win 29-26
Well done to our Mary’s men who didn’t hang their heads and kept battling, those tight games are what it takes to win leagues and it was to Bectives night this time. Mary’s still go into our next game on top of the table with Skerries at home. Huge thanks again to the support on the sideline on this cold December evening, especially all our J3 lads and lads that double up on the weekend games.