Having sustained a number of injuries and some players running on having played 120 minutes already over the weekend, it appeared leading into this match that St Paul’s had the upper hand. Experienced Rawson campaigners were being relied upon to step up to the mark and fReshers who were yet to be blooded had been selected into key positions in which their resolve would be tested.
However it was Drew’s who put the first points on the board, by patiently building phases and subsequent pressure in the right area of the field, heavy Louie Taylor was able to put a revelation from 2012’s campaign, Daniel Potts, into the left corner beside no. 2 oval. Following some outstanding domination of the aerial ball from kick off by fResher Calum Buckling, this lead was extended by a further two tries in 10 minutes, during which Paul’s only reply was a penalty goal. Consequently Drew’s held a commanding 17-3 lead going into the latter part of the first half while Paul’s had also managed to get one in the bin for attempting (and failing) to ignite a brawl with the undeterred Buckling.
Just as it appeared Drew’s were about to run away with it, a lapse in concentration and discipline allowed Paul’s back into the game. Penalty after penalty at the breakdown took its toll, and soon Paul’s had broken our line with a well worked set piece move off a mid-field scrum. One intercept pass and two penalties later, Paul’s had their tails up and the half-time buzzer sounded just at the right time for the Drew’s coaches.
With words of discipline, organisation and targeted aggression resounding in their heads, Drew’s entered the second half. To begin with, Paul’s simply carried on from where they left off and pounded our line with sustained attack. Another penalty around the breakdown resulted in fResher James Kennelly being given a spell on the sideline. This was the turning point, and without some outstanding defence from the mid field of fResher Jim Stewart and in tight by captain Stu Goodman and Ben Lawley, another try may have swung the outcome of the game.
However the Drewsmen fought back and held on, winning back field possession until the forwards could grind down the opposition pack to push Ben Lawley over for a well taken meat pie. From this position we never looked back, with veterans Brendan “Yogi” Davis having a blinder alongside five-eighth Cam Mason, the Drew’s machine got rolling, with some well taken tries resulting off outstanding support play from Jack O’Connor and Rhys Griffiths.
In conclusion, a great game with many high and low points was spectated, in which Drew’s came through with a good 44-16 win despite being humbled by a strong St Paul’s team. There are many areas to work on, however this match set a platform in which the campaign for 2013 can be built on.
A mention must also be made to St Paul’s lock George Stanham who suffered a badly broken leg. It is never good to see any player sustain a serious injury such as the one that occurred yesterday and we from St Andrew’s wish him the very best for his recovery.
We encourage everyone to come down to Oval No. 1 for next week’s match with St John’s – kick-off at 5:30pm, Tuesday 21 May.
Due to yesterday’s victory, Andrew’s is scheduled to play Wesley College at 7:30pm on the final night, Wednesday 5 June.