[b] This weekend Pavs 1st XV welcomed Kettering to Burntstump in a first versus second clash in Midlands One. [/b] Both sides have occupied top spot in the league for extended periods this season, so a large and enthusiastic crowd were expectant of a spicy affair.
From the kick off both sides entered the fray with both vim and vigour. After five minutes full back Matt Molyneux was put into space by Phil Eggleshaw before sprinting in and giving Pavs the lead at 5-0. Minutes later Joe Collngham burst through to widen the lead at 10-0 after fifteen minutes. Unabashed, Kettering battled back, but resolute Pavs defence kept the away side at bay. At this stage the penalty count awarded against Pavs began to take its toll with Kettering almost camping in the Pavs half for extended periods. On thirty eight minutes Kettering finally crossed the line to narrow the score to 10-7 and in overtime added another to give them the half time lead at 14-10. In effect, a game of two very different halves.
After the break, a missed kick off reception again put Kettering on the front foot and applied severe pressure on the Pavs defence. On forty eight minutes the referee deemed it necessary to yellow card Ollie Collingham for what appeared to be an innocuous challenge. The extra man advantage told and Kettering bust through to touch down and extend their lead to 21-10. Worse was to come on fifty three minutes when Pavs again fell foul of the referee with Phil Eggleshaw also going to the bin and leaving Pavs with thirteen players. Despite some sterling efforts at keeping Kettering at bay, they added a further try and two further penalties to give them a commanding lead at 34-10. When Pavs were finally permitted to play with fifteen players, Alex Barton collected a well directed kick from George Billam to sprint in, score and bring the game to an end at 34-17 in favour of Kettering.
It was clear that this was a difficult afternoon for the home side. Things had begun so well, but a rising count of penalties, debatable or not, ultimately cost Pavs the win. Kettering were more street wise in the dark arts of the ruck where most of the penalties arose and this is a lesson Pavs will most certainly take on board. On the positive side, they kept battling to the very end with every player putting their collective bodies on the line. Time to reflect, learn the lessons, address the issues and move on to the next game. As a side Pavs are still growing in experience. All that is left to do is quote Cervantes, ”Time ripens all things, no man is born wise.”
[b]Squad – Stirling, Wells, Collier, Hanson, Allen, Collingham O, Reeson, Collingham J, Green, Billam G, Murphy, Eggleshaw P, Billam D, Barton, Molyneux. Rep- Plant, Graham, Hall
Scorers – Collingham J 1 try, Molyneux 1 try, Barton 1 try, Billam G I conv.