By Dan Henderson, Director of Rugby
With three of our teams earning the right to compete in finals, I considered this day an enormous success before it even began.
Results certainly didn’t go the way we wanted them to go but the energy from players and coaches alike throughout the week couldn’t be faulted – and the weather on the day was fantastic to boot.
Barbour Cup, Colts: 22 – 0 loss to Knox
Colts took on the only team to have beaten them twice this year in the major semi-final play-off.
They started with purpose and had Knox on the back foot but were unable to execute many of the key moves they’d practised.
This quickly led to a loss of confidence. Knox promptly took advantage and marched Drummoyne up the pitch and camped on our try line. Drummoyne’s game plan was turned on its head from the remainder of the half.
Knox continued to gain confidence and forced us to kick under pressure from our try line.
With fatigue setting in and the Referee’s decision to yellow-card a player while on our try line, Knox were able to score repeatedly.
Drummoyne were in some disarray as they went to halftime trailing 17-0. The Dirty Reds emerged with some clear goals in mind, however, and the motivation certainly seemed to work in the second-third of the game.
Crucial mistakes from re-starts, exit kicking and ball retention, however, gave Knox the opportunity to make space with some powerful running backed by solid defense and close out the game.
Burke Cup, 2s: 20-13 loss v Petersham
Strengthened by close to a 1st choice, fully-fit squad we went into this match with high confidence.
Despite their last premiership match to Petersham being a loss, 2s trained like they could go all the way this season.
The match began with Drummoyne forcing Petersham to play off our song sheet. But – once again – our Burke Cup side made crucial errors with handling, in clearing the line and allowing ball runners to get isolated – and it kept Petersham in the match.
Some well-timed interchanges of their big men and secure forward-play by the Shammies meant they ran away with it in the end.
A very close match nonetheless littered with some outstanding performances – from some of their younger players, including hooker Tyler Harrhy and flanker Nic Hart who had arguably the best end to this season of any player at the club.
Kentwell Cup, 1s: 17- 15 loss v Balman
Our preparation was spot on and with several key players back from injury – we had good reason to be confident about beating Balmain as we did when we last met.
Sometimes, however, the run of the ball just doesn’t go your way.
With clear instructions from the outset we puppeteered Balmain around in the opening 15 minutes but were unable to convert that pressure to points.
Flyhalf Luke Giles has – once again – been outstanding this season, regularly captaining this side and is usually a deadeye-dick goal-kicker as well. As it sometimes happens to the best on even the international stage, he missed multiple attempts on goal in this game, which meant sustained pressure wasn’t being turned into points.
A significant turning point was when Balmain’s fullback put the ball back inside our 22 and we couldn’t return it with interest.
Most of the key turning points in this game were, unfortunately, crucial errors from the Referee, which, to his credit, even the Referee was candid about when this was discussed with him post-game.