Reserve Grade Round 13 2018 vs Associates RUFC
By Ronan OShea
by the Lineside Lion
The pundits had this pegged as Reserve grades’ match of the round with 11 playing 12 but despite some good passages of play from the Lions Associates proved too strong running out winners 50-12.
However, there were plenty of positives to come from the game not least of which was the welcome return of Kyle Fell. Kyle started at 10 and looked to play himself into the game growing in confidence as the game wore on.
The set piece platform was a tad shaky at times but around the ground the Lions matched Soaks and on occasion looked dangerous with ball in hand. Unfortunately the Lions did not see enough of the ball to capitalise on with Soaks racing out to an early lead scoring 3 quick tries despite some desperate defence from Nathan Lamatoa at full back.
Iuean Bowse was his usual industrious self and made yards on the wing whenever he got the ball whilst Sarron and Ily now look to be forming a centre combination that is appearing increasingly comfortable with each other reading the play and playing off each other well.
Benny Rule anchored the scrum again from No 8 and tried to impose his mark on the game but the Lions lacked any real impetus around the ruck space and Soaks absorbed much of what the Lions forwards threw at them.
Kyle Fell found some space down the far flank and put a wonderful fend on the converging centre before off loading and then copping a bit of payback as he was tackled from behind earning a lazy face-plant from behind for his troubles.
Nathan tried to change things up a bit and opted for a cheeky wee dribble kick at the restart regathering his own kick just as it went 10 metres and this ploy seemed to work and sparked the Reserves’ best passage of play in the first half with the forwards grinding the ball towards the try line.
Again Soaks bore up under this well but leaked ruck penalties as they tried to hold their line. Eventually their wily old tighthead (and captain) was sent to the bin for repeated infringements at the try line.
Perth is small place isn’t it? That same player, one Damien Elton, was playing second grade prop while I was busy keeping him out of the hooking spot at University 20 years ago (1998, so it was 20 years ago too). He always had his hands in the ruck then as well!
The Lions then renewed their efforts to cross the chalk taking tap penalty after tap penalty until eventually, with athleticism that Nadia Comenici herself would have envied Ra Hinder broke both the line and the laws of physics to contort himself over the line and open the Lions’ account.
Nathan slotted the extras and the Lions went into the sheds 33-7.
At half time the Reserves were exhorted to get quick ball and to not mess around with lineouts just tap and go and get these guys on the back foot.
This paid almost immediate dividends with the Lions starting on the front foot and a bullocking run from Jordan Shelford to drive matters into the Soaks half, with their back line rearranging themselves and trying to get on side Kyle Fell kicked for the corner to turn the backs around. Sarron made good ground to get to the run of the ball before it trickled into touch managing to ground the ball out wide and register the Lions’ second try. Nathan failed to convert and the Lions clawed their way back to 33-12.
However, that was to be the last time the Lions troubled the score board (not that it could be seen with Soaks 3rd grade standing in their traditional position and obscuring it from view – an practice and tactic as old as the hills).
Mike Clifton and Darren Cryer were injected into the game to try and get some go forward but it was to no avail. Although the Reserves didn’t stop fighting and continued to look to move the ball Soaks put on another 17 unanswered points to run out winners 50-12.
Speaking after the game Kyle Fell said the return felt good and he shoulder held up fine although the he admitted the lungs hurt a bit after not having played for the best part of 10 weeks.