Sunday 23 February 2002

After telling us they couldn’t manage to raise a second XV, Tamariba turned up with 24 players on Sunday and bags of confidence after being crowned national club champions a few weeks ago.
By 4.30, though, it was clear that they were only the second best club in the land after an outstanding 15-14 win by YCAC.
They were a strong team in their own right, but were helped by an abysmal refereeing performance which kept handing them possession and field position. Despite spending the first 20 minutes in our 22, though, they couldn’t get over the line in the face of our fantastic tackling, and once we got to the right end of the field James Lovegrove barged over in the corner and then knocked over 2 more tacklers before scoring under the posts for a 7-0 lead. After more great defense he went over again for a 12-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half we continued to wreck their scrum and started to disrupt the lineout as well as tackling as well as ever, but the 7 (at least) fresh pairs of legs on their side against the 15 knackered ones on ours gave them a small edge. They scored and converted one try and constantly kept us stretched.
With the pressure on, Rich Freeman slotted a penalty (a rare refereeing decision in our favour) for the 8 point lead that meant their last minute try was not enough. It was a superb performance, with the only question mark being our discipline in the face of the constant stream of bad calls by the ref. There’s no doubt that wound him up even more and came close to getting a couple of people sin-binned.

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