Copers Cope 2nd XV win 24 - 17 against Askeans 2s at their place 

First of all, we probably got 26 points but it matters not - 24 - 17 is what it said on a bit of paper the ref gave me at the end and so let's stick with that.  A win is a win. 

Secondly this was a great start to the second team's season.  Well done Les as HonFix for getting us a match which could have gone either way and which stretched us in offence and defence, up front and in the backs. 

I would also mention that I was within 2 people of the goal I set myself - I had hoped to have XV starters for this game NONE of whom had started in the 1s last league fixture but as it happened we lost a couple of people during the week and filled those places with our own keen players rather than pull in ringers just to say we had managed no overlapping starting line up. 

It was a game as we had hoped for - in which the older and slower in the club could enjoy contributing well rather than fear they were letting the team down and in which the people who do play in the 1s but perhaps would not think of themselves as one of the best (or most available so far this season) players in that squad could take a leading role and push themselves, back themselves and make a mark accordingly.  My only pre kick off disappointment was to be playing on rubber and plastic as I thought the grass looked a lot more inviting!

Up front we were in the invidious position of celebrating having two props but both were tight heads and one was battling 'flu.  It was kind of Jack Marshall to step in when Odie felt too rough to continue during the first half.  (It was also brilliant that Odie recovered enough to show his scrum half skills in the second half.)  Despite not having played together much previously, we gelled well and early and were showing solidity on our scrum and lineout ball and good challenge to theirs almost from the off.  Rucks and mauls were more evenly balanced and we did have an eye on what looked like a fast and well drilled back line against us.  I felt we were the better side but we did not convert as much of our pressure into points as we should have done and at half time the scores may well have been equal - for all I know we might have been 2 points behind.  The mutual encouragement and digging deep into our sense of pride worked and we played much better ball in hand for the first 20 of the second half converting that into points, but we also conceded and we were 9 points up (so the ref said which is one reason I am confused at the final score as no more were scored to the final whistle) with about ten minutes to go. 

Askeans suffered two injuries and the second was at a point with only 5 left on the clock.  Our bench was fully used and all those who were off were off for reasons which meant they couldn't be loaned over and we offered to let the game be ended then rather than risk more injuries or an embarrassing last flourish which would have had as much to do with XV playing XIII as anything else: Askeans accepted so we got to the bar a tad sooner than might have been and indeed ready to watch England have an interesting run out against Fiji.
I was delighted by:

1       people's enthusiasm for this match

2       team spirit in warm up and from the first whistle

3       tight work by the forwards who had little time to work out who was to lift, who jump, where people would bind etc but the scrums and lineouts were excellent - from one we scored by driving to the line and Steff slipping round the maul to grab a well earned 5 points

4       reading of the game - incisive runs were made by our backs once they figured out that the opposition's tackling was not as good as they had first thought

5       discipline - we never mouthed the ref once (I shouldn't have to say that - it should be a given but in the heat of battle... it has been known to happen)

6       camaraderie: at the end of the match many people asked me when the next 2s fixture is and I hope today has established that RBSRFC is no longer a one team club and that we are offering a chance for a wider range of rugby players to enjoy a competitive match than we did say 2 seasons ago. 

Well done Steff Mahoney Ryan and Gobbie for getting on the score sheet but well done Dean and Sam Dunn for working hard all match to knock them down and to snuff out their attacks.  Well done Ben for running all the way back to our 5 metre line and winning a footrace only to have to stand strong while two of their men tackled you, giving Jerry and me time to come to your aid.  Well done the back line for making intelligent decisions and working together.  Well done all forwards for excellent technique and strength in set pieces.  You all made me very proud today and I am hugely looking forward to the rest of the season.

I worry about upsetting someone by not having mentioned them so here we go:  WELL DONE XV starters: Les SamRW Odie AlexFallis Mahoney Dean SamDunn Rufus Steff Jerry Ben TimKirby JArgenziano Albie & Gobbie plus WELL DONE BENCHERS of Ryan JackMarshall JoeJordan and Chris Stassen. 

Thanks to supporters Claire, Rockie, Pebble and TP for coming out on a wet dull day. 

Finally a MASSIVE thanks to Wegs who has a 100% win record as a coach and deserves it as he managed our bench well and made useful comments right through the game and even after it with some observations we can work on and learn from.  It was a pleasure to have that support from you Wegsy - thanks mate. 

Rufus Ballaster
Capt CCRRFC 2s 2012-13