Considering the recent form of both teams preceding this match, we could hardly be expecting a classic, and so it proved. There was no lack of effort from either team but the application required for an open running game was not there.
Newcastle had gained 2 points from their draw with Quins the previous evening and were now in touching distance of Wasps, so for them, points were desperately needed to maintain or preferably increase the gap. For us, our chances of making the play-offs were already very slim, but a good finish to the season could still see us in the Heineken Cup again next season - so something to play for for both sides.
Irish started brightly, having the better of the early territory on possession, there is a good break by Topsy but he was forced into touch. After our promising start it was Wasps turn to have some possession which lead to the first scoring chance of the game - I'm not sure what the penalty for was, but Nick Robinson's effort was off target. About a minute later we failed to deal with a high ball and got pinged for offside, this time Robinson, having had a sighter, is on target, so it is 3-0 to Wasps after 12 minutes.
A few minutes later we level the score with a penalty from Steve Shingler following a scrum offence - although up until now it was a bright sunny day, there was a bit of wind, which caused the ball to be blown from the kicking tee, but much to the annoyance of some of the Wasps supporters around us, Steve was allowed time to reset the ball and kick the penalty. 3-3 after 16 minutes.
Wasps regained the lead a few minutes later through another penalty from Robinson, 6-3 after 22 minutes. A heavy shower makes playing conditions tricky. JJ makes a break from deep in our half and then kicks ahead, the ball is gathered by Joe Simpson in the Wasps 22 and he is forced into touch. Simpson went off injured after this, adding to Wasps already very long injury list – I think a longer list then ours was at its worst point.
On the half hour we win a penalty in front of the posts and Shingler levels the scores again, 6-6 after 31 minutes. Wasps are having more of the possession – but as most of the play is at the other end from where I am, it is difficult to tell how threatening the possession is, anyway, nothing comes from it. With a couple of minutes of the half remaining we win another penalty, but this time Shingler’s kick is off target, so it is all square, 6-6, at half time.
During the half time break, the sun re-appears and we are treated to the sight of a double rainbow, Adam’s Park looks almost picturesque.
Wasps have the better start to the second half – a good break is stopped by a tackle from Delon deep in our 22, but sir had been playing advantage and we go back for a Wasps penalty – Robinson makes the score 9-6 after 49 minutes.
Although we have made a couple of breaks into the Wasps half, we have not looked threatening and Wasps are getting the better of the kicking exchanges. On the hour, Wasps extend their lead to 12-6 with another Robinson penalty after we are judged to have infringed in the scrum.
A few minutes later we have a line-out in the Wasps half, from the line-out the ball is moved quickly from right to left find Losi on the left wing – Losi’s speed and strength sees him pass a couple of defenders and run in the first try of the match, Shingler adds the extras from close to the touchline and Irish have a 12-13 lead after 67 minutes.
But our lead is to be short lived, following a kick and chase, the referee says that we have taken the ball over our line and Wasps have a 5m scrum – our scrum goes backwards and Wasps are awarded a penalty, Robinson makes it 15-13 after 72 minutes. A few minutes later and we are pinged at the scrum once again and Robinson extends the lead to 18-13.
In the remaining few minutes we do not look like troubling the scoreboard – a couple of handling errors ensure that no progress is made. The game ends on another scrum, after a couple of resets time is up and Wasps clear the ball to touch to secure a much needed win by 18 points to 13.
So it is another disappointing defeat for us - as always there are one of two positives - good performances from a number of our players, including the likes of Max, Matt and Delon, and a great try from Losi. But our backs must have been fairly close to our best possible line up, so we should have been able to create more than we did. As with the match at Newcastle a couple of weeks ago, we did not play well against a side we should have been able to beat comfortably, but we came up against opposition that just wanted it more than we did.
We have a lot of good players, including some very promising youngsters, but at the moment things are not clicking. One day it will click and whoever we play on that day will be on the wrong end of a sound beating. Where and when that performance will be I don’t know, but I’m sure it is out there – Somewhere, Over the Rainbow.
Beautiful photo Al.
Thank you for doing the report.
It seems there is a bit of a stuggle to find reporters these days.
Some people seem happy to put great essays on the board about what they think is wrong with the club, players, management and coaches. Some of these essays are very eloquent, maybe it would be a better use of their talent with words if they took the time and trouble to do a few match reports!
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