HMS Sultan 53 v 21 HMS Heron
This was HMS Heron's first game since the Christmas break, due the frozen pitches and other teams unfortunately not been able to field a team in the league. HMS Sultan has had the same problem so both teams were keen to play this game. Heron travelled down with only 12 players after having 4 players pull out at the last minute, it may have looked like some players had been press ganged from the NAAFI into playing, but all were keen to play on the bright sunny day with a small wind blowing down the pitch.
Sultan kicked off and put a lot off pressure on this young Heron team with a good early mauling game. Heron stayed strong and when they finally got their hands on the ball, they produced some great angles with their running lines causing Sultan to pull some big tackles in from some very good quality players in the back lines at 10, 12 and 13 to stop the fast Heron attack. Sultan's first try came from confusion on and off the field among the Heron side where the ball appeared to be lost forward from a Sultan player after a try saving tackle from AET (Mac) McMillian, but the ball ended up over the Heron try line and a Sultan hand was first to touch it down and the try given. The conversion was missed by LAET Clay. 5-0
Heron came back strong with their heads up and not letting the first mistake get them down. With a fast moving rolling maul, which Sultan had no answers to for the whole afternoon. Sultan added more men to the maul and Heron made good use of the extra space and numbers out wide to pull apart the Sultan back line and passed the ball back in field to ETME McNulty who was one of 3 Sultan players playing under the Heron colours. He ran in under the posts from the half way line from a well worked Heron move. The conversion was kicked by AET (Jonesy) Jones.
Sultan seemed to take their foot off the gas and with poor discipline Heron worked their way up the pitch. When they got to Sultan 10m line, they were awarded a penalty which was well within Jone's range, kicking it successfully put Heron 5 points clear. This was Sultan wakeup call and with some well worked moves all starting from the Sultan Fly Half, Heron were always on the back foot. Sultan broke Heron line twice more in the first half to score 2 more tries both converted by Clay. Although Heron kept going on and won two more penalties with Jones taking both well. Ending the first half 19 - 16 to Sultan.
The second half was one sided with Sultan coming out on top having upped their game, and with a Heron side having a lack of game time together the gaps were easy to see from the side lines. Missed tackles, dropped balls and wayward passing from a very tired Heron team, Sultan scored 6 more tries, most of them coming from some very quick tap penalties by Clay and which he covered 2 of them. However, Heron who were playing for pride now and never looked like giving up and without the big effort in defence by McMillen and AET (The Animal) Patterson in the centres not missing one tackle between them and stopping many Sultan attacks with big and in some cases try saving tackles Sultan could of have scored more.
That was not all, Heron was not to give in this match and after some great pressure in defence and attack Heron had a rare spark of magic in this second half with some fast hands and zigzagging up the pitch ETME Whittle crossed the line in the corner and touched down. Jones missed the conversion.
Final score SULTAN 53 - 21 HERON