Joeys 29 Kings 8
Both teams were determined to finish the season off strongly after some indifferent performances, but it was the visiting Joeys team that played as though they wanted it more. They stepped up and played their best rugby of the year in the 2nd half and their 5 tries to 1 victory was well-earned.
To be fair: Kings struggled without some of their best players: flyhalf Tulloch, who I rate highly, and Oz schoolboys Foketi and Jones.
There was some ordinary rugby from both teams in the first 35 minutes. Joeys started well though. With a strong wind at their backs they were in the right real estate for their forwards to pick and drive to effect. When Deegan got over the line early on with a few larger Kings players attached to him it seemed like there was a lot more to follow, but they got bogged down.
They fluffed some try scoring chances and did not secure the ball well enough in the tackle. Meantime Kings went on a few raids themselves with big bopper fullback Tourish swatting off defenders or swerving into gaps. On one such occasion he drew the man and passed to his hooker, but the next pass was dropped when a try seemed likely.
Joeys were made to scramble and they were penalised, but against the wind penalty kicks were difficult to slot. Eventually Tourish raised the flags which enabled a goose with NASCAR type engine in his rusty car to rev his engine, much to his delight.
Joeys had a lot of ball and good field position, but their lack of deception (one of their bugbears this year) and the strong defence of their opponents was reminiscent of their loss against Scots. And their poor use of the wind reminded one of their loss against Newington.
At last the referee blew his whistle to end a poor quality 1st half. The score was 5-3 Joeys, which was a poor return for the visitors in the conditions and having most of the chances in the first half.
What one didn’t realise was how much the 1st half defensive effort had taken out of the Kings’ forwards. After oranges Joeys hit their straps and soon one realised that a different game was afoot.
The Kings’ backs had problems too. They had the same difficulty with too-long passes that Joeys had playing with the wind and they also looked vulnerable when Joeys attacked against their left side defence.
Joeys scored from raid after raid and it was almost a surprise when Kings took a chance to get to the right end of the field for 5. Matson to go over after some tight work. But that was just a blip on the radar for Joeys and they closed the game out easily.
Kings – 15. Tourish was difficult to put to ground on every carry and 12. Davies was always dangerous. In the forwards, after a tough day in the office, their try scorer 5. Matson played a commendably tough game and skipper 7. Randell was pain in the backside all afternoon.
Joeys – The Joeys backs blossomed in the favourable environment created up front: 10. Deegan had his best game of the year, often attracting defenders by offloading just before the tackle, and whenever 13. Barclay or 14. Wilde got the pill they threatened.
It’s hardly pertinent to name individual Joeys’ forwards because their best rugby in 2012 has come from their work as a pack. That said, they were well led by skipper 7. Murphy, who had his best game of the year, and 8. Watts played a tough game typified by scoring a bullocking individual try as he fended off some tacklers, and ran over others.
The Joeys forwards set up the victory. They were stronger in the scrums as expected, had the edge at the breakdowns and were generally more persistent. In hindsight they should have kept the ball more in the first half because the backs didn’t use it well.
St. Josephs’ College – 29 [Tries: O. Bartlett, T. Murphy, J. Watts, A. Deegan, J. Wilde. Conversions: J. Kay (2).]
The Kings School – 8 [Try: M. Matson. Penalty: J. Tourish.]
Referee: Mr. W. Houston