DUDLEY K'FORD 3
First XV Match Report – Saturday 15 February 2014
DK 15 Ben Brown, 14 Nick Adams, 13 Harry Bayliss, 12 Sam Shepherd, 11 Liam Marshall, 10 Gareth Bown, 9 Connah Jones, 1 Danny Richards, 2 Matt Humphreys, 3 Ash Newall, 4 Ed Parry, 5 Nick Murphy, 6 Danny Hawkins, 7 Matt Squires, 8 Jon Tideswell. Replacements 16 Russ Newall, 17 Dan Shakespeare, 18 Sam Pedley, 19 Donavan Smile, 20 Kieran Pinches
If spirit was the key ingredient on which a league's success was based, then this DK team would be top of the league. This was one of their best performances of the season to date, where they held potential promotions candidates Macclesfield to a close 26 – 3 defeat, restricting high scoring visitors to just four ties. This, despite playing for almost an hour with fourteen men when young flanker Danny Hawkins was red carded for a dangerous tackle, more as a result of youthful exuberance rather than any ill intent or malice.
Playing with the strong wind at their backs, DK looked to attack at every opportunity, but were caught out when a good attacking move broke down and the visitors launched a counter attack, and number 8 Ryan Parkinson finished the move and crossed wide out for an unconverted try.
Further pressure from the Macclesfield pack shortly after led to the award of a penalty try as DK were penalised for bringing down a driving maul, and the referee did not hesitate to go between the posts. The try was converted by fly half Tom Eaton.
DK then launched a number of attacks themselves but were unable to breach a solid defence and their only award was a solitary penalty from fly half Gareth Bown. Shortly afterwards the sending off indecent only served to galvanize the resolve of the home side. And at some stages it was hard to realise which of the two teams was playing with fourteen men.
Just on half time, DK were struck a cruel blow when Macclesfield were controversially awarded their third try when the scoring pass to high-scoring wing Ed Stobart was at least a metre forward which both the referee and the touch judge missed. The only two people in the ground who did. The try was converted by Tom Eaton.
Half time: DK 3- Macclesfield 19
With the wind advantage in the favour of the visitors the signs for the home side were ominous, but those odds did not faze DK and they opened the half strongly. One such attack saw fly half Gareth Bown make a good break only to be hauled down a few yards short of the lines. DK continued to press but couldn't find a way through.
The man advantage began to show as the visitors regrouped and launched attack after attack, but the solid blue line across the pitch stood solid. There were short periods of respite for the home side but Macc continued to turn the screw, though they couldn't find a way through. Eventually a stretched defence was breached and that man Stobart rounded the defence to bag his second of the afternoon and score closest to the post, with Eaton adding the extra points. To hold a team of Macclesfield's calibre to just four tries was a remarkable achievement and in a season in which the odds have been stacked against them throughout, this side can mark this result as a moral victory. It also saw young full back Ben Brown (alias Chesney Hawkes) play his final game of the season as he leaves shortly on a worldwide adventure as all students do these days, thus missing the last seven games.
Next week DK have a free weekend and a fully justified time for a well-deserved rest before taking on Birmingham Solihull at home on March 1 – kick off 3:00 pm.