Grosvenor RFC Notes: I XV 0 v Cooke RFC I XV 10 – McCrea Cup Semi-Final – REPORTS LIVE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!! + III XV 38 v Academy RFC III XV 22 & III XV 15 v Ballymena IV XV 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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On a surprisingly poor pitch at Shaw’s Bridge Grosvenor Kicked-off and started brightly in this McCrea Cup Semi-Final despite the dismal weather. They harried and hassled the Qualifying 1 side, not giving them a moments rest. Grosvenor’s promising start to the match however faltered, when with 10 minutes gone from a missed tackle in a non-threatening position, the Cooke centre was able to scorch half the pitch and score a try under the posts. Conversion was successful giving Cooke a rather undeserved 7-0 lead. Cooke then had a 10 minute period of dominance, battering the Grosvenor defence inside the Stag’s 22. Grosvenor Prop Pierce Jamison had to leave the field with a recurrance of a shoulder injury. The young Grosvenor side showed resolute defence to keep the Cooke men out. Despite sustained pressure Grosvenor conceded no further points and went on to dominate the last 20 minutes of the half. Elusive running from dynamic prop, Phil Hill, opened up the Cooke defence, but he inexplicably failed to pass the ball when an overlap had been created. Grosvenor then successfully recognised an overlap, got the ball wide and appeared to have scored a try, only for the referee to have judged flanker Matthew Cahoon to have been held-up. Half – time 7-0 in Cooke’s favour.

The second half began as the first had ended – Grosvenor playing the rugby. Strong Running from John Montgomery and Andrew Kelly kept the Cooke defence on their toes and some probing kicks from out-half Peter Rowntree kept Cooke pinned in their own half. Having committed everything to the game, and got no reward, Grosvenor appeared to become disheartened. Cooke began to assert some control, keeping the ball tight amongst their burly forwards. Sensible play given the conditions. Cooke were awarded with a penalty that was duly converted, giving them a 10-0 lead. The last 10 minutes of the game was played out as a bit of a non-event. Grosvenor continued to press hard to get some reward for their admirable performance, but perhaps tried too hard as handling errors and unwise decision making became the order of the day. Cooke managed to see out the remainder of the game to claim a place in the final.

Grosvenor had hoped to achieve a Ravenhill final to bring to a close, what has been by their own recent standards, a fairly mediocre season. Grosvenor can take some heart from the determination shown by this young team against a much more experienced side who play their rugby in a league above. On a day of nostalgia on Grosvenor’s 60th birthday, the club can also take heart from the fact that just a few years ago, this fixture would have been beyond the Stag’s wildest dreams.

Man of the Match – With Stoopsy not available, the contest was wide open this week but no-one really stood out, so man of the match goes to Grosvenor RFC on making it to 60 and looking forward to another 60 years.

Jug Watch – Disappointingly no thirst quenching delights were proffered by Cooke. 0/10

Physio Watch – The correspondent cannot recall the colour of nail varnish adorned, however can reveal that Cat was sporting a beautiful, figure hugging dress at the 60th Anniversary Dinner later that evening.

3s Hang on in Desperate Conditions
On a March day when the conditions favoured Inuits and Polar Bears Grosvenor and Academy took to the field and tried to play some rugby. This was always going to be difficult as to add to the freezing and snowy conditions the Shorts pitch quickly took on the feel of a quagmire.
The game can best be summed up in 3 stanzas, 2 of which Grosvenor won and the third was dominated by Academy. The score at half time was 24-5 in Grosvenor’s favour and given that the pitch was deteriorating rapidly it looked like the game was more or less over. Academy were to have a different opinion and despite losing a man launched an all out assault on the Grosvenor line. This would lead to them scoring 3 quick tries of which the chunky winger only managed to convert one. This meant the score had gone from 24-5 to 24-22 as quick as a flash and Grosvenor looked in great peril.
Marty Gault had also capitulated by this stage leaving it a 14 a side battle. Marty left the field quicker than anyone had ever seen him move before and it was later established that he was suffering from a dirty knee and a runny nose.
To the great credit of Grosvenor, a game that was rapidly slipping away suddenly swung back again as Academy ran out of steam and Grosvenor scored one try straight out of the top drawer through Andy Wilson and went on to close out the game with a further score before the end to make the final score 38-22.
Despite the conditions this was a good advert for junior rugby with the game played in good spirits all day and 9 tries scored. The 6 Nations committee should take note, if they want tries scored then play games at Aircraft Park!
At this point I briefly cede editorial control to Marc Brown who insisted that the following statement be included unchanged and with no smart rejoinders. ‘On an awful day on a bog of a pitch Marc Brown was exemplary with the boot, kicking one penalty and 5 conversions for a 100% success rate. Top quality kicking from the oft underestimated Mr Brown’
However, Mr Brown did provide one moment of consternation for his team mates, as he does most weeks. Normally its running up to the half way line to take a quick restart and booting it straight to the opposition who make great yards because Smut never told anyone he was going to take a quick one. On Saturday it did involve a restart and it did involve not telling anyone in his team he was going to do it but this time instead of the quick one it was the reverse kick to the other flank. A great tactic if your team know you are going to do it. As usual when Smut is playing, no one had a scooby! But we wouldnt have him any other way.
Man of the match is tough enough, Smuts kicking, the back rows endeavour, Ski’s tackling and the out halfs hat trick. But to stop him giving me grief, man of the match goes to Marc Brown.

3s Sink Braidmen
On a stinking wet day the Stags took to the big pitch at Belmont against a young looking Ballymena side. The conditions would have suggested a tight game but the exciting back lines of both teams threw the ball about with some abandon. During one early Ballymena attack Charlie and Ski clashed heads making a tackle which left Charlie needing some treatment to a nasty looking cut over his left eye. Grosvenor looked to have got the opening score with a try from Andy Wilson in the right corner but the referee could not judge if he had touched down before going in to touch so awarded an attacking 5 metre scrum. Mikey Mo picked up from 8 and fought his way over for the opening points. Grosvenor’s line out was working beautifully and both Mikey and Gibbo picked off Ballymena throws all day. The only down side came when the referee pinged our hooker for stepping on to the pitch when throwing. Ballymena attacked hard but time and again at the crucial moment the ball went loose and Grosvenor broke away. From one such phase Mikey Mo again managed to barge his way over and the lead was extended to 10-0. Then came a potential turning point when Andy Moore was shown a yellow card for a high tackle. Ballymena came screaming back into the game and after some good phases their 10 broke a couple of sloppy tackles and went over for the try, 10-5. Very quickly after a loose kick down field allowed Ballymena to counter. An overlap drew Phil Patterson and the young full back sprinted almost 60 metres to score in the left corner to level the scores, 10-10. Grosvenor did not panic and worked their way back up field. After some desperate tackling young Nic picked a great line and went in for what was to be the last points of the game.

The second half was all about missed opportunities and brave tackling epitimised by Jon Steenson time and again putting his wee body on the line hitting big Ballymena men.

There are many candidates for man of the match today. Andy Wilson and Ski were powerful in both defence and attack, Phil Patterson had some great runs, Mikey lead from the front, the entire front row battled hard, Gummy was imperious at the base of the scrum but the nod goes to Charlie who, despite his nasty head wound, took the fight to Ballymena all day.



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