No one drowned this week, but it was a close thing. Plenty of games have been called off because of the water logged pitches in recent weeks. Indeed the venue for this match was swapped with the opposition, playing rugby in the mud is slowly being phased out. Despite the change of ground, the playing surface included three distinct puddles, the largest about 2-3m across! I warned the captains that I would blow quickly unless the pile ups happened in the shallow end!
The matched ended up as a great and good humoured tussle, the visitors (though technically the home side because of the ground switch) got the better of the first half, the first try was well worked with the player tackled on the line. The player landed with his back to me, though I was positioned slightly in front of him. I couldn’t see the ball, but judged it to be on or just over, it was only when he rolled over to get up, that I realised the ball was probably just short. I wasn’t going to reverse it and even with a TMO I wouldn’t have gone upstairs. There was surprisingly little complaint from the home side which was surprising given my previous experience with that team. Half time ended 15-3 to the visitors.
As the second half got underway, it be came apparent that the the home side were tightening up their game, they had a significant forward advantage and there two second half tries came from push over tries. Given the current discussion at the top of the game, these was well executed and the opposition took the pressure and didn’t drop it, stand up or disintegrate. Scrummaging under the current laws is possible if the players want to play to them.
The second try came after the yellow card was brandished for killing the ball 3m out under the posts. The ruck was a big pile of bodies but the purple arm across the ball was clear to see. If you are going to commit an offence in that position, don’t wear fancy matching under-vests.
With the game balanced at 15-all the home side where again camped on the visitors line, the ruck developed into a pile of bodies. The purple player at the back was on the wrong side, but couldn’t escape. It was going to be an attacking scrum until the scrum-half decided to intervene, 2-3 stamps onto the side ribs of the prostrate player. No question of a yellow, but a real question of whether it was red. Once again it had been a good natured game I warned the player that they might not be so lucky with another referee and in the end I didn’t fancy the paper-work.
Great feed-back from the players and score that was a fair result for what the two sides brought to the game.