Hard fought, some “class” rugby and relentless play but, in the end, the Tottonians were just too strong to contain and the Blues ceded victory in the home match 10:29.
It was bound to be a whopper match for these two teams, standing in the top half of their League, with the Tottonians just one place above the Blues. And so it proved.
The visitors put early points on the board with a confident penalty taken by Centre Jamie Laing after just a couple of minutes. Withstanding very strong play by a bigger pack, the Blues contained the visitors well enough, albeit conceding a try after 15 minutes of play, missing a scoring opportunity in the 35th minute, and, perhaps crucially, seeing a converted try by an obviously in form Tottonian Prop Archie Baker in the last moments of the first half.
OK, the Blues were 0:15 down but it didn’t feel like a lost cause. And the opening of the second half gave every indication that the Blues could triumph, with a great try by Flanker Harry Bedford within the first 10 minutes, comfortably converted by Captain and Fly Half Dan Thorne. Not long after, the Blues made their mark again with a penalty, again by Dan Thorne.
But the Tottonians persisted, held together with a well-drilled defence, nailing in a converted try after 20 minutes or so of the second half, with another before the end. Victory secured. Both sides looked ready for the final whistle, with a spaghetti mess of piled up bodies becoming the prevailing image of the last few minutes.
In a roller-coaster season, the Blues have celebrated stunning giant-killer matches and costly defeats, highlighting a challenging injury profile which has led Manager Mick Futcher to make 37 individual starts in the Men’s first team in just 9 games this season so far. Only a very few players – notably Dan Thorne and Vice Captain Harry Waye-Branch – have been fit for all of them. And, on this occasion, also a bit unlucky; it was a very close call about a foot in touch that saw a Blues try disallowed. Fingers crossed for an easier time as the season progresses.
The Blues are home again next Saturday 18th November, when they face the all-conquering Jersey RFC, standing top-top-top in the league table with maximum points. Crikey! Come on you Blues!
Photos by kind permission of Peter Branch