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Aldeburgh v Clacton 2

2nd March – Queen’s Field


Result: Aldeburgh 12 Clacton 14


A frustrating experience – Mark II



Having been found compliant with ECRU regulations in respect of the team it selected the previous week, Clacton brought another strong team to Aldeburgh this week.  While Aldeburgh had a full squad in numbers, it was still patching together some key combinations.

 

The Clacton pack was big.  It was obvious from the start that they would run hard at the Aldeburgh defence which they did all afternoon.  The key feature of the match was Aldeburgh’s ferocious tackling.  Many of the players had taken this season’s new ruling to heart by tackling low and hard, scything down Clacton attackers time and again. 


The other dominant factor in the game was the number of penalties awarded by the referee.  The spectators felt that they were predominantly awarded in favour of Clacton but the concern was that there was inconsistency which affected the flow of the game.


The Clacton line out worked well, while Aldeburgh’s was mostly ineffective.  Clacton clearly had the ascendancy in the scrum which prevented Aldeburgh from getting much clean ball but, to their credit, the Aldeburgh pack held reasonably firm and were never taken apart, even when short of numbers.


The first quarter was a stalemate, eventually broken by a penalty by fly half Ed Robson from 40 metres out.  We don’t see many penalties taken at this level.  It was a good tactical decision in an evenly matched game.  A few minutes later, he repeated his success from within the 10 metre line. 


After half an hour, the referee issued a warning to both teams about the number of penalties.  The next offence was by Aldeburgh which meant our No 8 received a yellow card.  At the next scrum, Aldeburgh lock Damian Robertson was loudly vocal about the iniquities of Clacton’s approach (with an implication that the referee was condoning them) which immediately resulted in a totally unnecessary yellow card.  Aldeburgh down to 13.  They held on.  Ed missed another long range penalty but slotted one from the 22 before half time.

 

Early in the second half, he put over another huge kick from the 10 metre line to give Aldeburgh a 12-0 lead.  We had not conceded even when down to 13.  However, Clacton’s size advantage began to pay off.  From a scrum near the Aldeburgh line, a quick move resulted in the first try of the game which was converted.


Aldeburgh looked as though they had extended their lead when scrum half Jed Gallant, who had been under the cosh all afternoon behind a retreating pack, made a scintillating break, leading to our crossing the line only to be brought back for a forward pass.

There had been an edge throughout the game which boiled over into a fight after 15 minutes of the second half.  A player from each side was given a yellow card.  Unfortunately, Aldeburgh’s was Damian so his was turned into a red. 


Clacton then managed a second converted try, despite what those on the touchline saw as a blatant knock on.  For the final quarter, the score remained the same.  The drama came from penalties.  Aldeburgh chose to run a penalty from in front of the posts and so nearly scored a try but it was deemed to have been held up over the line. A late penalty from a difficult position on the touchline was unsurprisingly missed.  Clacton hung on for a win by the narrowest of margins.


From the players’ and coach’s point of view, this must have been an incredibly frustrating game.  For the spectators it was a gripping spectacle, full of the physical confrontation that good rugby provides.  Aldeburgh continues to bring in new players who are blending into the team’s style.  We also had a new volunteer behind the bar.  Every contribution is vital to the success of our small club.


The result leaves Aldeburgh third in the league.  If we win our remaining five matches we will be promoted.  However, we have to play Braintree who are top of the league and beat us at their ground.  The key fixture will be against Halstead away on 16th March.  Depending on other results, it could be the promotion decider.


Next match: Saturday 9th March v Harwich away.

Next home match: Saturday 23rd March v Braintree


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