Tabard knocked off top spot

PUBLISHED: 12:18 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

London Three North West Grasshoppers 15 Tabard 7 A WEAKENED Tabard side suffered a blow to their league-title aspirations on Saturday when they lost away at Grasshoppers. Tabard s woes started when centre Joe Cunningham found he had broken his arm at the

London Three North West

Grasshoppers 15 Tabard 7

A WEAKENED Tabard side suffered a blow to their league-title aspirations on Saturday when they lost away at Grasshoppers.

Tabard's woes started when centre Joe Cunningham found he had broken his arm at the end of last week's game and then, on Saturday morning, a hasty re-organisation was required after a number of team members went down with the flu. The combined effect of this was to take the rhythm out of the Tabard performance and Grasshoppers were allowed far too much possession which they managed to convert into points.

Tabard were quickly on the defensive but Grasshoppers proved woefully inadequate at putting any sort of cohesive attack together. This appeared to be just a shaky start because, with 12 minutes gone, out of nowhere Grasshoppers put together a scintillating attack, with the ball going through several pairs of hands and culminating in their winger Brown going over for a try in the corner.

The game then settled into a pattern that was to continue for the rest of the game, with Tabard frustrated in their attempts to play fluid rugby by continual stoppages for injury and game re-starts.

Tabard did play some good rugby and, with 20 minutes on the clock, their reward came. From a scrum, about 15 metres out, Tabard won the ball and scrum half Andrew Murphy passed to stand off Jack Reilly who timed a perfect pass to centre Mike Thomas. The centre broke through the initial defence line and, despite a tremendous tackle that should have denied the try, he crossed the line. Reilly converted to add another two to Tabard's score.

Then, deep into injury time in the first half, Grasshoppers mounted another attack which penetrated the Tabard defence and centre Daniel crossed the line, with scrum half Hughes adding the conversion.

The second half followed the same staccato rhythm as the first and Tabard tried hard but could not cross their opponent's line. Thomas nearly broke through again and, on the wing, Scott Stoba, having moved out from number eight after an injury to wing Phil Cooper, had some good runs but the Grasshoppers defence held. The final blow came when Tabard were penalised within kicking distance and Hughes converted to put Grasshoppers another three points in front and out of reach of Tabard.

Tabard: Roberts, Cooper (O'Connor 15m), Thomas, Ashcroft, Calnan, Reilly, Murphy, Collette, Baker, Gough, Gill (Davies 52m), Richard, Montague, Hall, Matheson and Stoba.

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