Pelicans shade a welcome win in Watford
Pinner & Grammarians RFC match report Sat 2nd March 2013.
Pinner’s 2nd / Vets XV took on Fullerians Vets, who play regularly, in Watford on Saturday. Early play found the visitors on the defensive. After only 5 minutes fillers tapped from a line-out in the Pelican’s 22 and broke though to score a converted try. Play evened out as P&G’s found some rhythm and cohesion. The scrum was going well and winning one on the half-way line scrum-half Mark Bradshaw go the ball to centre John Kirby who charged through the scattered home defence to score. Fly-half Chris hall added the two points to level the score. Some fine tackling kept the Pelicans in the game but on the half-hour a poor kick out of their 22 caught several P&G players off-side. Fullers took a quick tap penalty and , catching the visitors napping, scored their second try. This time the kick failed. Pinner again responded with scrum-half Bradshaw dictating behind the scrum and fly-half Hall’s long raking kicks put Fullers on the back foot. With a few minutes to go to half-time a rampant run by prop Alex Alexander got the ball into the 22 where it reached centre Richard Southam who levelled the score to 12 all at the interval.
For the second half the home side were able to bring on several replacements for elderly players whilst Pelican’s only sub soon pulled a muscle and had to retire. With full-back and captain Les Chaffe also off the field with a nose injury P7G’s were temporarily down to 13 men. However the fitness of some of their less mature backs had an effect. Another run by Kirby should have resulted in a score but the final pass to skipper Chaffe, who had returned to the fray, went astray. With a quarter of an hour gone another penalty on the Pinner 22 let fullers in for their third try which was converted to give them a 19 – 12 lead. Pelicans now stepped up their pressure with hooker Phil Skelton, playing his last game before his 50th birthday, causing some discomfort to the home team. Into the last quarter Pinner were awarded a penalty but elected to scrum. Bradshaw again fed Kirby who scored wide out on the left. He immediately took a surprising drop-kick conversion which sailed over the bar only to have the referee adjudge that it had missed. Sportingly the home side convinced him of his error and the scores were again level at 19 a-piece. Fullers rallied again seeing Pinner’s defence was not organised scored their four but unconverted try. With both sides tiring this seem to be the final score but the referee then yellow-carded one of the Fullerians players for a dangerous high tackle. The penalty was quickly taken and Southam got his second try under the posts. The conversion by Olly gave the Pelicans a well deserved and satisfying 26 – 24 victory.
With the team looking forward to celebrating Skelton’s 50th birthday with a match at Hatch End on 16th March, KO 2pm, the players retired to the pavilion to enjoy the real ale festival.