Tabard 27 Hackney 26
The Tabard faithful were treated to one of the most entertaining games at Cobden Hill for many years on Saturday. It was testament to the spirit shown by the boys in what has been a difficult season after retirements and injuries a plenty. Tabard will be playing in the league below next season but if this is anything to go by there is plenty to look forward to after another fully committed effort from the entire team.
Hackney took what looked to be an ominous early lead, touching down for a relatively easy try with just 4 minutes played. Tabard responded and forced the visitors in to conceding a penalty 45 metres out. Reilly was unlucky to see his attempt drift just wide but quick thinking after Hackney infringed again soon after allowed Reilly to put in a perfectly weighted kick for Jonny Aguila to collect and score in the corner, levelling the scores at 5 – 5 with 15 minutes played after Reilly’s conversion touchline attempt struck the upright.
Tabard soaked up the Hackney response and took a grip of the game, racking up three unanswered tries before half time. The first was scored by Aaron Priscott who has worked tirelessly all season, after good work by Aguila and Marcus Bunning set him up to barge over after half an hour. The next was scored by Liam Kenny who went over from short range after a line out five minutes later and the third, another peach after Teddy Gough won a line out and Tom King, coming off his wing, gave a beauty of an off load out the back of his hand for Aguila to score again. The ref blew for half time with Tabard having clocked up four tries for a bonus point with the score 20 -5.
The scrum was functioning much better with Bill and Wilf Lake back in the front row, but credit should go to the line out which was much better, aided by the throwing of Josh Van Loen who was returning after injury and had a really good afternoon. The improvement of the set piece gave a great platform for the backs to work off and Tabard really should have stretched their lead after the restart. Priscott burst through the middle and was stopped just short. Tabard got the ball over the line but were held up and a knock on by Tabard handed the ball to the visitors who went the length of the pitch to score after 10 minutes of the second half closing the score line to 20 -12. The momentum swung in favour of the visitors who were next on the scoreboard after a break through the middle left the Tabard defence flat footed, before another try by the visitors put them in front at 20 -26 with just over 10 minutes to play.
Tabard heads did not drop and Priscott secured the restart. Aguila took play on and won a penalty which Reilly kicked to the corner. Hackney offended at the line out and Tabard took the scrum. This had to be reset after another penalty, before the referee’s patience was tried to the limit by Hackney for dropping the scrum as Tabard were about to score from the drive. He had little option but to award a penalty try to Tabard, putting the home side in front, albeit by one point. They were made to hang for the victory which came minutes later when the referee, who it must be said had a great game himself and allowed play to flow, finally blew for full time.
Team: Lake, Van Loen, Lake, S Gough, Hancock, Bunning, T Gough, Priscott , Kenny, H Gough, King, Reilly, Olashore, Aguila, G Gough.
Westaway, Calnan, Hurford