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A Tale of One Half


By LI Bohemian
October 24 2018

My mate picked me up outside my house and then we gunned it up the M1 to Donny. On arrival we were shown our way to parking next to the main stand, (£3 parking). Picked up our tickets (£22 each), Match day Programme (£2.50), two drinks (£3.50 each) and Pie, Chips, Mushy Peas with Gravy (£5.50 each), all this thrift put me in a good mood. 

We sat in the main stand, this was my first time in Doncaster and I was impressed with the set-up, one large stand and the rest of the pitch surrounded by a three deep terracing, to the left was a smart looking club house were the teams enter onto the pitch. 

The game started with the usual arm wrestle to get the nerves settled, then after a kick to the corner from a penalty, a driving maul, the workhorse known as Blair Cowan gets the ball down, from a difficult angle Meehan adds the extras. 

Then what seemed almost straight away a penalty was awarded to the Knights which they kicked, making it 3-7. 

The next try is all Ben Loader, he received the ball and bursts through two tacklers, and he sprinted to the try line but is brought down just before it, only to have the strength and momentum to score a cracking try. Now this conversion was infinitely more kickable than the previous one but as is the nature of the game the ball hit the post 3-12. 

Whether Irish switch off or Donny stepped up, I don’t know but the Knights scored next, very similar to the first try conceded at Coventry, this happened via a line break through the middle of the pitch, under the posts, 10-12. 

It felt that if the Irish defense does not start working this game could turn the wrong way for them, but like a basketball game it was Irish’s turn to score, this was achieved by some good interplay and some poor defending from Donny, allowing an old favourite of mine Fergus Mulchrone to score a try converted by Meehan, 10-19. 

Irish were very dominant in the scrum in the first half, they threw-in well as opposed to Donny who over-threw on a few of there throw-ins, Irish also kept possession well in the first half which only frustrated more with the closeness of the scores. 

Luckily the bonus point score came next for Irish, this was via a penalty kick and line drive, 10-26. 

Doncaster Knights then applied considerable pressure towards the end of the first half, but this time the defense of Irish was resolute keeping the Donny attack at bay. 

When the whistle blew for half time my mate said, jokingly, “bonus point collected, our work is done here.” The Irish team must have heard him, I was expecting Irish to finish the job with ruthless efficiency in the second half, this did not happen. 

What happened in the second half, as far as I can remember, was Ben Loader never receiving the ball, countless phases of forward play back and forth laterally, a string of forward passes, some back chatting to the official resulting in yards conceded and some interesting refereeing decisions. 

The way Irish played in the second half leads to the conclusion, that if you have two scrum-halves controlling the game then the ball will not go wide often, so narrowing the play making it easy to defend. 

Irish got into the opposition 22 on numerous occasions only to turnover the ball. 

It was as if Irish had turned off the intensity of their play, to save it for another match, now I can understand with injuries and substitutions, that the game may become disjointed, but the Knights were there for the taking. 

The only score in the second half came when Irish were pressurizing Doncaster on their try line, only to lose the ball at a ruck, causing Doncaster to counter attack the length of the pitch for an unlikely score, luckily this was far too late in the game for a fight back by Doncaster, full time score 17-26. 

On the plus side it was a win away from home, a bonus point and game time for Atkins. 

On the minus side when the likes of Jersey, Ealing, Bedford and Pirates see results like this they will take heart and feel confident they could get a result against Irish and there were injuries to Mulchrone and Parton. 

A niggling worry for me, caused by some of the more quizzical officiating, I’ve seen at first hand this season is of a calamitous decision against Irish, but it is probably the same worry for all the teams in this league.

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A Tale of One Half
The Craic www.londonirish.org (IP Logged)
24/10/2018 11:55
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