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Sidcup 27-08 Gravesend
The score line may flatter the South London XV but the win for Sidcup was the only result that was fair, given the inadequacies of the Gravesend team that took to the park at Sydney Road on Saturday.
Six forced changes within the team that had been selected for today’s encounter, which included last week’s hooker and number 8 originally selected to play in the backs as Gs found selection difficult as six centres were not available.
With players, who were already travelling away for their original fixture, being drafted up at the last minute when yet another selected player dropped out may not have helped the situation.
But in the more than forty years that I have been associated with the Gravesend club, I have NEVER seen so much ball taken in and lost to the opposition.
This failure to retain the ball after the tackle was perhaps due to the commitment of the Sidcup loose forwards to gaining possession at every opportunity.
I can say that perhaps the official on the day was in charge of a game above his capabilities, but if you are on the park you are expected to play to the whistle, despite the obvious frustrations of the players and spectators of both clubs.
James Hardy, playing at full-back slotted Sidcup into the lead with his second attempt on six minutes and two minutes later loose-head Tom Page was sent to the sin-bin for ten minutes.
Despite this man advantage for Gravesend, it was Sidcup that edged further in front courtesy of the boot of Hardy.
A very tight game was being played up the middle of the park, but it was the loss of possession at the breakdown that was the undoing of Gs.
Dave Dorton put over the first of two penalties chances to pull back to 6-3 in the second quarter, and Sidcup were again reduced to fourteen men as Ben Ibrahim was shown the yellow card on twenty-eight minutes.
A man down, it was the sheer determination of the home forwards that kept them in the game, as tackle after tackle brought their visitors to the floor.
When Gravesend again lost the ball at the break-down, it was the quick thinking and quick hands of the home backs that led to Jack Berry racing in to touch down.
The boot of Hardy was again on target to move the home side ahead at 13-3
Another chance to pull three back was missed as the teams went in at the break with Sidcup 13-3 to the good.
It is difficult to reflect the amount of possession that Gravesend had in the second half, as they were close to scoring after just two minute of the restart, but being close doesn’t put points on the scoreboard.
Such was Gs dominance, of possession, that it is embarrassing to report that all they had to show for it was a lone Dave Dorton try four minutes from the end.
In the meantime, Sidcup who only seriously entered Gravesend territory twice during the second forty minutes came away with seven points on both occasions.
It was not that the opportunities weren’t there, but it was the failure to make use of the overlap when a two on one situation presented itself, the failure to use the men outside, the choosing of the wrong option, and on and on.
Sidcup’s defensive prowess was to be admired as they withstood all that Gs could throw at them, but one would wonder, if faced with such poor opposition, would not most teams in the division withstand a powder-puff onslaught.
Possible greed, to get on the score sheet, when there was a man available outside, or even the over elaboration of the moves that let them down, but Gravesend were the architects of their own undoing.
Admittedly the official didn’t help the situation as he appeared blind to so many infringements, and hopefully a copy of the match video may be available, but this did not and would not have changed the result.
Sidcup deserved their win and their celebrations, while Gravesend could go home knowing that they had been part of hopefully their worst display of the season.
Team: 1 Charlie Cutting, 2 Warren McKee, 3 Jamie Forsyth, 4 Ziggy Stevens 5 David Brooks-Smith, 6 Sox Stevens, 7 Adam Aigbokhae, 8 Chukwuma Osazuwa, 9 Michele Zanirato, 10 Matt Bressons, 11 Tiwa Obisesan, 12 Marc Klus, 13 Gary Gray, 14 Tom Goss, 15 Dave Dorton, 16 Nathan Day, 17 Jackson Bylett, 18 Tony Nolan.
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