Saints strike back at Tabard
London 2 North West
Tabard 13 St Albans 19
Devastating is the only way to describe Tabard’s start to the new season.
After a game when they enjoyed a host of possession and territorial advantage they failed to capitalise enough and in the end they let local side St Albans back into the game in the last 10 minutes and ended up defeated by 19 points to 13.
Tabard’s performance should have been enough to give them victory but, paradoxically apart from the last ten minutes, they never achieved the dominance up front they expected and this never quite gave the talented backs the room they needed to secure the win.
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St Albans opened the scoring in the first minute with a dropped goal taken by stand-off Trude. However, after this early setback Tabard began to put their ship in order and take the game to St Albans.
Tabard’s reward came quickly when St Albans were penalised for offside and second row Sam Barrow made no mistake with the kick to level the scores.
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Tabard were then the better side on the park, keeping St Albans pegged back for long periods, helped by a brisk breeze. However, despite some good surging runs from stand off Tryfan Edwards and centre Gerry Arasa, Tabard could not cross the line.
Then, with 26 minutes on the clock, Tabard’s scrum-half, Pete Sleath, made the crucial break 20 metres out and his swerving run took him in close to the posts giving Barrow an easy conversion. Barrow also added a further penalty.
Into first half injury time a penalty from Trude was converted and the teams turned round with Tabard ahead by 13 points to six.
In the second half Trude again converted a penalty and Tabard were now only four points clear.
Despite this, it was still Tabard’s game to take but they just could not get through the St Albans defence and, crucially, the St Albans forwards were not allowing Tabard to ruck the ball positively, meaning that Tabard saw many attacking moves come to nothing.
Then, with five minutes of true time remaining, St Albans were attacking Tabard in the corner and, although the Tabard defence held, they failed to cover across the pitch whereas St Albans had stretched their line. The ball was rucked cleanly and a long cross kick saw the St Albans wing, Coy, chase the kick and touch down virtually unmolested.
With injury time there was still a chance for Tabard but a further foray from St Albans into Tabard territory saw them penetrate the Tabard defence once again, this time for scrum-half Smart to nip in for the try, to bring victory to St Albans and dismay to Tabard.
Next week Tabard travel to Old Haberdashers, kick off 3:00 pm.
Tabard: Jenkins, Mitchell, Hopcroft, Arasa, Davis, Edwards, Sleath, Lake B, Hart, Lake W, Barrow, Hall, O’Connor, Ruston, Stoba.
* Other Result: Tabard 2nd XV 10 Datchworth 0.