Today’s game was against a side we had played a number of times so we knew we were in for a tough day. Kick off was delayed for 40 minutes as Barnet only had one playable pitch and their under 16’s had a game before the Colts were let loose. A quick mention to Rob who made his debut for Stockwood today – what a baptism of fire!
Stockwood would play into the wind and attack slightly up hill in the first half. Barnet seemed to cope better with the delay than Stockwood as they dominated from the first minute. Barnet are a strong well drilled team and Stockwood had to show all of their defensive qualities as they frustrated the Barnet players for the first 10 minutes, culminating in a number of Stockwood players holding the ball up to prevent at least two tries. Barnet were eventually rewarded for the pressure when one of their forwards broke the line and slipped two tackles before scoring underneath the posts, a try that was duly converted to give our hosts an early 7 point lead.
Barnet continued to dominate the early exchanges as Stockwood struggled to make any impression on the game. Barnet added to their score shortly after as Stockwood once again gave possession to our hosts cheaply to go 14:0 up. Unfortunately. Barnet were not finished and a good passage of play between the Barnet backs on the right wing led to Barnet’s third try of the game.
A 19 point deficit seemed to wake the boys up and they started to compete for the ball, something they had failed to do for the first 25 minutes of the game. In fact, Stockwood scored a try with their first flurry into Barnet’s half as Jordan broke through the Barnet defensive line to score. Jordan then successfully converted his own try to reduce the deficit to 12 points. Stockwood continued to press Barnet’s lines for the final minutes of the first half before the referee blew for half time with Barnet leading by 19 points to 7.
The old cliché of “a game of two halves” would never be truer than today as Barnet started the second half off playing into the wind. The roles were totally reversed as it was Stockwood’s turn to dominate the early exchanges and after a sustained period of pressure and a quick offload from a ruck led to Mark scoring Stockwood’s second try of the afternoon. A try that was once again converted by Jordan to reduce the gap to a single score!
Both defences controlled the next passage of play with neither side managing to maintain any grip on the game. That was until Jordan once again broke away to score his second try and third conversion of the day to give Stockwood a narrow 21 to 19 points lead. A lead that Stockwood wouldn’t hold for very long as our hosts’ in one of the rare times they broke into Stockwood’s 22 scored their fourth try of the afternoon to give them a three point lead going into the last seven minutes.
Stockwood were not done and you could tell they believed they could win and was it not for a last ditch tap tackle Paulius would have surely scored as he broke down the left wing. Not deterred by this Stockwood continued to press the Barnet lines and after a sustained period of pressure were awarded a freekick within Barnet’s 22. The cries from the touchline was for Jordan to take the penalty and kick to level the score but he had other ideas as he ran at Barnet’s defence. A number of phases and some good defence by Barnet led to Stockwood having a ruck just under the posts on Barnet’s line and once again it was Mark who carried the ball over for what was to be the final score of the day.
After a couple of final phases and a break in play to deal with an injury to Eoin the ref blew the final whistle which meant from 19:0 down Stockwood had come back to win 26 points to 24 points.
I think I speak for all of the coaches and parents when I say how immensely proud we are of the whole team – the way they didn’t let their heads drop when they conceding 19 points unanswered and the fact we were playing a team that are third in division one of the Herts & Middx League.