The 2014 Fall season started like many before it, with the Cleveland Rugby Club facing the West side. This encounter ended in favor of the West siders.
Leading up to the match the Club was confident they told bee victorious again, despite fluctuating numbers at training sessions. Once the two teams kicked off they were in for a rude awakening.
The West side club sported a lineup with a revamped back line and reinforced pack. Though the backs were well contained for the most part, the pack posed more problems.
It seemed as though the opposition forwards were at every breakdown with their hands on the ball. Though the legality of their actions is up for debate, the fact remains that they stymied the Club’s progress and kept them from scoring at crucial points in the game. Scrums were an issue for the Club as well. The ball was either squirting out the side or getting caught under the forwards, allowing the West siders to impose their will and steal the ball.
The Club’s forwards were able to control things in the air, though. Lineouts were a bright spot for the day. They brought down just about every ball they threw in and got it out cleanly to the waiting back line. When they brought it down to make progress through the maul they came up against a bit more friction but still managed to retain ball.
Defense overall was solid on the day, despite the unfortunate outcome. Tackles were solid and the line was flat while remaining mobile early on, but as the game wore on fatigue set in the cracks began to show and the opposition took advantage.
Offense was fractured at times but still effective for the Club. Due to the pressure at the breakdown, clean ball was in short supply. When the Club had the ball, whether it was in the forwards or the backs, they broke the line often and made ground. Unfortunately, more often than not the runner was often isolated which resulted in a number of turnovers or penalties. The Club also shot themselves in the foot at numerous crucial points either close to the try zone or during transition play. There was also an uncharacteristically off kicking day for the Club, leaving a number of penalty points on the table that would have cone in handy at the end of the day.
The upside of this defeat is now the Club knows where they need the most work, and with the way their schedule is set they have a few weeks to sort it all out. Hopefully, after the long break the Club can rebound and bring home the first win of the season. Start tuned for further details and developments.
See you at the pitch.