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15/12/18 Tigers 1st XV  12 - 3 Hinckley

On what was, even by Tigers standards a bitterly cold afternoon, Tigers took on 3rd placed Hinckley. The pitch was deemed playable – just - but unfortunately the 2nd team pitch was not so there were a lot of people pitch side watching the game. Add to that the 80 people who had enjoyed a Christmas lunch and it was going to be a noisy encounter.
Tigers kicked off into the wind and towards the road end. As they did so the rain started and, as soon as it landed it froze. For the players of both sides it made handling the ball, and staying on their feet, even more difficult. Tigers, however, showed that it was not going to stop them running the ball. Good breaks from Kain Rix and Jamie Broadley showed the attacking intent and after just 7 minutes a break by Mark Ireland saw him chip over the oncoming defender, catch the ball and then lay it off to Broadley who went over in the corner for a well worked try. Ireland rounded it off with a conversion from wide out and the home side were ahead by 7 – 0. The visitors were not going to allow Tigers to dominate and launched several attacks of their own but the conditions had clearly affected them as they frequently knocked on or dropped the ball. They also seemed to be having a few problems with the referee who was regularly penalising them for a variety of misdemeanours. This was breaking up the game and stopped it getting into any sort of rhythm. It did not seem to be worrying the erstwhile Peter Swatkins who imperious in taking the high ball and setting off on his jinxing runs. Broadley, Tom Hart, David Clark and Henri Packard all made good runs but conditions underfoot were difficult and this was being reflected in the play. The set pieces were well contested and both sides were trying to attack. Eventually Tigers gave away a penalty in front of their posts which the Hinckley full back, Joe Wilson, duly slotted over to get them on the board and make it 7 – 3. The response by Tigers was immediate and from the restart Lewis Bloor chased the ball and forced Hinckley to kick into touch close to their own line. From the lineout Tigers set up a rolling maul which was well defended by the visitors. The Tigers forwards retained the ball and eventually gave Ryan Holmes the chance to send it out through the backs to find Hart who crossed over in the corner. The conversion drifted wide but the score moved to 12 - 3 and Tigers were looking good. They attacked again from the restart and Ireland was pinning Hinckley back with some long kicks into space which was pressuring the visitors. Hinckley were still dangerous and from a 5m lineout set up a rolling maul which was well defended by the Tigers forwards. The ball was eventually cleared and it was half time. The players sprinted for the changing room and a brief respite from the freezing rain.
 The second half was, in many respects, an arm wrestle in the middle of the pitch. Both sides had occasional sorties into their opponents’ 22m but in very dull, cold and wet conditions it was always going to be a struggle to score. Tigers brought on Anthony Dickinson for Junior Gelsthorpe and Tom Coates for Sam Johnson but it was Hinckley that got their chance when Tigers conceded a penalty 35m out and they decided to go for goal. They clearly felt that they were not going to break down the solid Tigers defence. The kick went well wide and gave Tigers the chance to clear upfield. Ireland was still finding space behind the Hinkley defence and after a period of pressure on the Hinkley 22m looked like they were going to get a penalty in front of the posts. Unfortunately, the referee had seen an infringement by the Tigers No 8, Tom Calladine, and all they got was a yellow card and the penalty went to Hinckley. Both sides were defending well and the stalemate continued with just the occasional opening. Hinckley made a break but the ball was mishandled and it came to nothing. Tigers had a rolling maul on their opponents’ 5m line but managed to knock on. Swatkins made a couple of good runs but was stopped short and it began to get so dark it was difficult to tell what was happening. The referee blew his whistle and Tigers celebrated a good win. It was a deserved win and it sent people into the bar with a warm glow of satisfaction after last weeks disappointment.

Scorers: Tries: Broadley (1), Hart (1)
Conversions:  Ireland (1)

Team: Bennett, Johnson (Coates), Gelsthorpe (Dickinson), Holland, Symcox Al, Bloor, Rix (Taylor-Dawes), Calladine, Holmes, Ireland, Packard (Davidson), Hart, Clark, Broadley,  Swatkins

Replacements: Coates, Dickinson, Wragg, Taylor-Dawes, Davidson

Men of the match  - Lewis Bloor & Kain Rix,

Match Report by: Graham Cockshutt