The Rowing Club 2nd Division lost at home to Langley 39-24. It was their only loss of the regular season so far.
It Looked Good Early
The Rowers 2nds came out strong, defending well and scoring early. Langley had a strong forward pack and were clearly well drilled, practising excellent discipline at the breakdowns, and maintaining possession well trough phase play, but the Rowers were able to handle them early, absorbing their attack, causing turnovers and making it count with ball in hand.
“BD” Dan Francis got the Rowers on the board early, and outside centre Matt Liszt was able to break a few tackles to increase the lead. Hard phases from the forward pack were able to get the 2nds within inches and set up a sneaky pick and go try for scrum half Cyril “The Squirrel” Bugden. Fly half Henry Recinos in a characteristically excellent game, put in a try of his own, and the Rowers went into halftime up four tries to three.
Interim Coach Jeremy Sabell told the Super Twos in the halftime talk that keeping their shape and limiting penalties would bring it home, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Then It Unravelled
The mistakes that the 2s were able to avoid in the first half crept back in at the worst possible moments, and would eventually be the VRC2s’ undoing. An atrociously poor attack line by veteran prop forward Braden Maccke right at the goal line impeded a 9-10 pass that would have given the backline front foot attack at the opposition goal line. Unable to recover the impeded pass, The Rowers turned it over, conceded a try the other way, and it all began to come apart.
Weak defense, especially near the breakdowns, allowed a strong Langley side to go on big runs to paydirt and put themselves back in striking distance. Langley had been playing a well-structured, physical game all day, and the prospect of spoiling an undefeated season was effectively a taste of blood. A couple of more long breaks for Langley tries and some good kicking tied the game at 24-24, and the game turned ugly.
With the wheels coming off, the Rowing Club found themselves dragged into numerous episodes of extracurricular physical activity that cost them time, energy and attention that could have helped in a comeback. Langley was able to tack on 15 more points to make it 39-24.
Some brilliant attack with ball in hand, notably by winger Evan Hughes and orchestrated by substitute halfback Kent Abbott wasn’t able to get the job done or put them any closer, and time expired on the game and the Rowers 2nds prospect of a perfect season.
A Statement Loss
To the man, the Rowers didn’t lack for effort. But a lack of discipline, poor tackling and badly timed lapses in judgement couldn’t be overcome on Saturday.
The consensus post-game was that the Rowers 2nds had this coming, and it was better to get it out of the way now than in the playoffs. Being perfect takes perfect execution. Obviously, this team needed a reminder.
The Rowers Play Next April 14th, Away at Bayside.
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