Academy lose out again on the road
By Peter Hutton
Defensive frailties cost Chipstead in Cup Competition
It would be easy to say that the score line did not fully reflect the balance of play on display today; but 59-17 is the consequence of when first tackles are missed, and the pill is lost at the breakdown on more occasions that would be deemed acceptable in the normal course of a game.
Missing a core of senior Academy players (Daily Mail and NatWest school competitions recently completed or pending), the squad still travelled to Cobham for this cup game with a certain degree of optimism. However after five minutes the Academy conceded a soft try which set the tone for the rest of the game. Whist the Academy had sufficient periods of possession and enjoyed parity at both scrum and lineout, on too many occasions players found themselves isolated and coughing up the ball to an opposition who were quicker to, and feistier at, the breakdown.
Our three tries however were all well worked pieces of awareness and team play. The first after about 20 minutes came off a five-metre penalty and a lovely line break that scythed the Cobham defensive line. However we had to wait until the second half for the Academy to add to the score line. Our second try was a deft cross kick and tussle for the ball with the Academy back’s winning the challenge. Our third try, again from a set piece, was a nifty piece of close quarter straight running that flat footed the hosts’ defence.
However these three pieces of initiative were bookmarked by eight additional Cobham tries and credit must be given to the hosts for playing to their strengths and exploiting our defensive errors.
To paraphrase the old song, the squad needs to accentuate the positives, eliminate the negatives, and definitely latch on to the affirmatives from today’s game. After a shaky period either side of the winter break our set pieces today were significantly better with, I’d suggest, the pack edging it at the scrum (just watch out for the oppo flanker slipping his binding early to take a pop at our scrum half).
All the fundamentals are there, but there is work still required to hone our attacking game and bolster our defensive nous. So it is training next Sunday. Please make every effort to attend – if you don’t put in a shift on the training ground; you can’t expect to see results on match day.