Drummoyne 32 St Pats 17
It was always going to be a big day at Drummoyne Oval being Veteran’s and Vice Presidents day and a big crowd was on hand to see the undefeated 1st Grade side take on St Pats.
A strong start to the Reds when Nick Stephenson stole a St Pats lineout and the pressure was on. Not long after Luke Maybank was off up the wing with those golden locks flowing behind him, unfortunately his runs were short lived as Luke popped a rib & Oli Edwards was forced to leave the pitch due to a shoulder injury. (This meant Luke missed out on competing in the ‘fastest man in subbies’ sprint race at the Waratah’s game later that night).
St Pats No 3 was sin binned for tipping our captain on his head at the ruck. Prop Christian Vanezi was the beneficiary of a great maul off a lineout, barging over from 5 metres out (no the 40 metres Christian would have us believe) for strong forwards try. Luke Battenbough converted and it was 7 nil.
It was evident that the Drummoyne defense was strong and this frustrated St Pats. French prop Teddy pulled off one of his screamer tackles against his opposite number before Jimmy Vuniwa was off down the wing tackled just short of the try-line. The ball emerged from the maul and Tom Stephenson had what looked like a certain try disallowed.
The Drummoyne backs were causing all sorts of problems for St Pats and from a brilliant turn over/ counter attack, center Ben Hannah burst through the attempted shoulder hit defense of both the 10 & 12 and threw a lovely pass to his center partner Tiger Parker to go in untouched. Battenbough converted and it was14 nil.
Despite being in front St Pats managed to mount pressure after poor restart handling, with big the No10 was causing the scrambling defense problems scoring a try against the play. 14-7.
Half back Stephen Bruce was again dangerous with his quick taps and pinched the ball from a much larger forward to turn the ball over. Tom Stephenson was kicking well and making good yards from full back. However, it was St Pats striking thanks to favorable territory, kicking a penalty and it was 14-10 at half time.
Disappointed that they had let St Pats back into the game the lads were determined to stick to the game plan but without the ball for an extended time before and after half time the game was proving frustrating. St Pats opened the 2nd Half Scoring an easy try as St Pats took the lead 17-14.
Drummoyne penalty attempt hit the posts but the momentum was changing in favour of the Dirty Reds.
Captain Tom Carruthers was dynamic in defence and Ben Hannah was causing all sorts of issues for the opposition. With numerous injuries throughout the club increasingly the team is relying on the substitutions to make an impact when they are asked to take the field.
With players looking for a lift, coaches Dan & Aisea made the call to bring on 3 big men, but more importantly big ball carriers in the form of experienced No8 Terry Langi, Prop Tevita Veikoso and Hooker Lewis (Taffy) Williams, & with fresh legs and absolute confidence – this game got turned on its head!
Possession & building phase play had this team running with confidence! No 5 Reuben Brock (on his 1st Grade starting debut), replacement prop Tevita Veikoso and Tom Stephenson all scored tries to seal the match in the closing 15mins.
5 tries, a bonus point, 9 from 9 and 6 pts clear on top of the competition leader board, the confidence continues to grow amongst the squad of players wearing the Dirty Red jersey.
3Pts Tom Carruthers
2Pts Ben Hannah
1Pt Tevita Veikoso