Game Abandoned after Heavenly Intervention
Fixture to be replayed on Saturday 14th October
Torrential rain followed by hail and finally thunder and lightning curtailed a slightly uninspiring game between two teams working hard to build confidence and form. The referee called a halt to proceedings on health and safety grounds (as much for spectators as the players) on 54 mins in response to lightning flashes in the vicinity with the score tied at 13 – 13. The replay is scheduled for 14th October.
Towcestrians were clearly pumped up as they ran onto the pitch and from the kick off laid siege to the Combe line with passion and purpose. However Combe defence held the line and Towcestrians came away with a solitary penalty from James Falvey in front of the posts for all their endeavours. Combe looked shell shocked from the intensity of this early onslaught and for 15 mins could just not get their hands on the ball. However, they weathered the storm and came back into the match. For the next 20 mins or so it was nip and tuck but with neither side in the ascendency. There were a number of flare ups during this period with the referee having to call the captains together on two or three occasions, culminating in yellow cards for Alex Campbell and Craig Holton. Combe made a number of half breaks through Scott Pursell, Josh Livett
, Dan Hamilton
and Ant Hitchcock
and a number of forward drives but these incursions into Towcestrian territory were halted by infringements, spillages and/or Towcestrian turnovers. With neither side able to put together a meaningful set of phases, the game was drifting towards half time with a meagre penalty to Towcestrians. A main positive for Combe was that their scrum and driving maul was increasingly causing Towcestrians problems and Combe started to get the upper hand.
As half-time approached Combe won a line out near the Towcestrian line. A copybook catch and drive saw Joe Bonner over the line in the corner. Miki Zanirato converted from wide out and Combe were ahead 7 – 3 with less than 5 mins remaining to half time.
From the restart Combe span the ball wide and kicked for the corner but play was brought back for a Towcestrian high tackle. Miki Zanirato kicked the penalty from 10 m inside the Towcestrian half. Combe ahead 10 – 3. From the kick-off Combe advanced into the Towcestrian half only to lose possession. Towcestrians counter attacked and kicked ahead but Combe could not deal with a bouncing ball and following another kick ahead Craig Holton won the footrace to touch down in the corner. Again, the conversion was missed and the teams went down the tunnel with Combe ahead 10 -8.
The weather had quickly changed from a bright autumn afternoon to dull and overcast and as the teams ran out for the second half, dark clouds loomed. As the second half began it started to rain. Combe indiscipline allowed Towcestrians to advance down the left and from a quick penalty they spun it wide and they went over in the corner. The conversion was missed but Towcestrians were ahead 13 – 10. Joe Bonner went off injured and was replaced by Freddie Heaton
The heavens then opened and torrential rain was accompanied by hail and thunder. The Combe pack then took control and pounded the Towcestrian line but just couldn’t get over the whitewash. Eventually, Towcestrians were penalised for killing the ball and Miki Zanirato kicked the penalty to square the match at 13 – 13. Towcestrians scuffed the restart into touch but stole Combe’s line out and drove down the centre and then spun it left and then back inside. Combe conceded a penalty but it was missed. With lightning flashing overhead, the referee took the players off and after a short wait called the game off.
Next week Combe are at home to Westcliff, preceded by a buffet lunch.
Westcombe Park XV: j. Livett, D. Hamilton, A. Hitchcock, D. Bonner, S. Pursell, J. Cameron, M. Zanirato, J. Simmons, J. Bonner, J. Forsyth, T. Christopher, Calohard, C. O’Sullivan, D. Fox, A. Campbell. Subs: F. Heaton, R. Hackett, M. Holmes.
Match Reporter – Franklin Pastry