This should have been Grammar’s bye weekend in the 1sts XV competition, but it was used to have a non-competition match with High, who were playing in the 3rds this year and also had their bye.
The high tech Grammar scoreboard was non-operational but by my count it was Grammar 31 High 17.
High’s backline was much bigger than Grammar’s and they made a number of long breaks out wide. The High 10 had a good long pass and their 15 was enterprising.
On the other hand Grammar’s 12 did not touch the ball for the first 15 minutes and their 13 waited for 30 and then it was on an inside switch – from which they ultimately scored. I cannot recall either Grammar winger touching the ball on the end of the backline.
It was therefore pretty obvious that Grammar thought their forwards were going to win them the game and they did, showing good discipline with the ball.
However, High had a very effective pick and drive game that troubled Grammar, who conceded several penalties at the breakdown following from a pick and drive.
It seemed to me that Grammar had a problem numbering up in the backs in defence on set piece, particularly with a largish blindside. This led to a very good try for the High 14 in which he ran 40 metres to score. I am not sure if they had spotted the Grammar issue because this was the third occasion on which they had tried to go wide on Grammar’s left.
For Grammar I thought their best was the 1, Penklis I believe, and the 9. The fullback is pretty quic- footed.
I was impressed with the High 12 and 13 and their 15 as well.
I thought High was probably the better team in the first half – half time score was 12-7 to Grammar.
The game was somewhat marred by a yellow card for the High winger for an early tackle from a kick-off (it was the earliest I have seen for a long time) and a red for the Grammar 4 for punching.
The battle of the war cries was won by High who haven’t changed any of theirs for some time. They may be basic but they’re effective!
What’s happening next year?
There is a strong rumour in the Old Boys Network at Grammar that they will not be playing in the 1sts comp next year. However, I saw Lachie Fear running his eye over some younger age groups so maybe he’s been put on a longer term contract with a wider responsibility. That is not inconsistent with the rumour, of course, but if I read it correctly it would provide some hope.
The willingness at the contest from both sides suggests that each has a good deal to offer when they are playing their rugby peers. The monstering seen in other games was absent and the kids were able to show their skills. 6 or 8 games like this would make them better rugby players.
High were competitive in 13s and 14s so there could be something coming through there.
Finding equals and playing them must be the way forward for both schools at this level. I am afraid that would entail not competing in the AAGPS 1st XV in 2013 for either school.