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Aldeburgh v Ipswich YM Hawks - 28th January

A Close Encounter

Another Saturday when both teams’ league opponents cried off, unable to field a side. By a strange quirk of the league organisation, these two teams were not scheduled to play each other despite being in the same league. Although it was a shame that cancellations were needed to bring the fixture about and that the uncertainties during the preceding week led to several players pulling out, nevertheless it was great to see these old rivals have another close fought, competitive, highly entertaining encounter which was thoroughly enjoyed by the enthusiastic band of supporters.

For the first 20 minutes, the play was confined to the middle third of the pitch. Both sides played in a hard running style, held in check by strong tackling. The only early difference was an Aldeburgh penalty after 3 minutes, given centrally on the 10 metre line, which they surprisingly opted to kick at goal. Ed Robson put it right between the posts for an early 3 point lead. We did not realise then how significant those points would be.

After 20 minutes, YM made ground into the Aldeburgh 22 for the first time and, from a messy line out, their No 8 strolled through a huge gap. The try was converted. Play continued in a similar fashion. The scrums were competitive with each team winning reasonably controlled ball. The line outs were much messier but YM definitely had the edge, winning clean ball from many of their throws while Aldeburgh hardly won a line out all afternoon.

Coming up to half an hour, Ed Robson launched a huge penalty down field. Aldeburgh turned to a tactic which has paid dividends this season, the short ball to prop, James Ledger, at the front of the line. He made good progress but when he was checked YM gave away another penalty just 10 metres from the try line. The forwards took it on again. Quick ball from the ruck came to Ed who fired out one of his signature long passes, missing out both centres and giving winger, Angus Mann, just enough space to take his tackler over the line with him. Ed converted from the touch line. 10-7.

YM began to build up the pressure. Aldeburgh tackled well with Adam Hateley at full back leading the way. His finest was a try-saving tackle when a powerful YM runner was clean through with only Adam to beat. Adam nailed him. As half time approached, Aldeburgh gave away a series of penalties for high tackles, enabling YM to get closer and closer to the line. Eventually, their big No 5 simply used his weight and power to grind his way over. The conversion gave YM a lead at half time of 14-10.

The second half continued the pattern of the first for 15 minutes until Ed Robson received the ball from a scrum on the YM 22 and simply knifed through their defence to score under the posts. He converted his own try to take Aldeburgh back into the lead, 17-14.

Some of Aldeburgh’s younger players then had an attacking impact. An incisive run by centre, Antonio Monteiro, followed by an aggressive drive by flanker, Aonghus Anderson, led to a ruck from which the ball was recycled to Freddie Burgess who linked with Ed. There was still a lot to do but Ed went wide then came back inside to again cut through the YM defence for his second try. With the conversion, 24-14.

Despite Aldeburgh’s lead, YM began to have the upper hand, having most of the possession and territory. Another forwards try took them to within 3 points with at least 10 minutes left. For a moment it wasn’t looking good but the restart was knocked on and from the subsequent scrum the ball came out to Ed who scythed through the YM defence for a third magnificent try. The game was still not finished. YM came back for yet another try and conversion to take the score to a nail-biting 31-28 to Aldeburgh, just the 3rd minute penalty between the teams. That was how it ended.

Compliments to Ed Robson for his match winning performance. Three tries, a try making pass, a penalty and three conversions plus superb tactical kicking throughout the game and his usual determined tackling. It is rumoured that he has been following a healthy regime in January. If this is the result, we should all encourage him to continue.

There were more new players this week, some of whom had played for Aldeburgh previously and after a few weeks training were ready for a run out, others introduced by current players. While it is difficult to field a settled team, there is increasingly a depth to the squad which enables the coach to field a good quality team most weeks.


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