Things improved slightly in the second stanza. BBC came out hungrier and some sustained early pressure earned a deserved early penalty. The joy was short-lived however, with TGS 2. David Harris making a great bust from 28 metres out to score next to the posts in the first phase after the restart (showing up BBC 15. Josh Bowyer’s soft defence in the process). 31-13.
BBC then, finally, started to play rugby. Spurred by 10. Bryce Brown, the men in green suddenly started to take on the line and ask questions of the defence. 10. Brown himself made a number of solid runs, with many others including 12. Russell and 14. Brodie Collins finally finding some space around the fringes.
Camped on the Ipswich line for many minutes, College were looking a vastly improved side when 8. Tauakipulu and 9. Dyring combined for a basic try from the scrumbase in the 20th minute. 31-18.
The score, and match generally, proceeded unchanged to full time. There were few bright lights for either side, with both playing well below their best. BBC will take consolation from their success at keeping Ipswich scoreless for the bulk of the second half.
Ipswich will be looking forward to their fixture against the underperforming Churchie side next week, while BBC will need to do a lot to have any hope of unseating TSS away from home.
Gregory Terrace v. Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie)
Churchie and Terrace each took to the field with points to prove for this fixture. Despite being well out of the title race, both teams sought to make some amends and play out one of the bigger rivalries in the GPS.
Though Terrace with their first touches threw the ball around, the early play was all Churchie. The men in blue and grey were looking good early, playing tight, and had all the territory and possession to show for it. Points, however, were harder to come by.
Churchie 10. Darcy Eason was regularly putting boot to ball for the receipt of both his own wingers and the Terrace back three. It certainly kept things interesting, though with neither team showing too great a propensity to score, it was all academic.
Slowly getting more ball, Terrace began to look the goods. The combination of 10. Tom Given and 12. James Dalgleish gave them great width to their attack which opened up a number of half opportunities – opportunities that were either not readily taken or well stifled by the Churchie defence.
This Churchie defence was forming well, by and large, with good spacing and organisation – 9. Vinnie Quigley was marshalling well. At times, however, some men had a tendency to rush up and open holes in the line which were never fully pounced upon – Terrace needed to start turning the ball back inside.
Despite Churchie’s two quick penalties midway through the half, it wasn’t until the 28th minute that a try was scored, with Terrace 11. Joseph Jenkins making the most of a 4-on-3 and some lazy defence by Churchie. Exhibiting good support play, 2. Tom Mellor and 15. Lachlan O’Rourke combined well to set Jenkins on the way to the line. 7-6 to Terrace at half time.
The lack of excitement in the match seemed largely due to each side’s inability to pull the trigger. Both were contesting well up front and generally using good structures. Churchie 2. Joe Warriner continued his good form around the park, as did 7. Digger MacMillan. 5. Luke Shepherd also got through some work.
For Terrace, props Kasch and Green were throwing their weight around, with 5. Will Ovenden and 15. O’Rourke also impressing.
The second half was a better spectacle than the first. Both teams played some quality rugby. Despite at times shirking the contact at the coal face, that both sides played in the same manner allowed for an open contest.
In the 46th minute and having been in the red zone for only a handful of phases, Churchie scored their first (and only) try. From a midfield ruck, 6. Michael Gunn lumbered up as an apparent decoy runner headed straight for Terrace 4. Isaac French. Accelerating and stepping off his left at the last minute, he received a flat bullet pass from 9. Quigley and had little work to do to get to the line. 13-7 to Churchie.
Things slowly got more pressing for Terrace. Working the ball into Churchie’s half, they began seriously pressuring the Churchie defence for many phases before an error or indiscretion would disrupt their progress. Soon, they’d seem to rapidly find themselves back in Churchie’s half and be pressuring again.
As the match wound closer to full time, Terrace got closer and closer to the Churchie line, until for an eight minute period at the end of the half they sat metres out for minutes on end. A try seemed inevitable; Churchie were absorbing plenty of intense pressure.
Finally, something gave. A strong run from Terrace 3. Green bent the line and drew men in, and a fumbled pass on the subsequent phase meant that Churchie’s 10. Eason mistimed his tackle. At the clutch moment, on full time, Terrace scored out wide. 13-12 to Churchie, kick to come.
12. Dalgleish stepped up to the tee, but the ball sailed well left of the sticks. 13-12 to Churchie, full time.
Finally, and after his missed kick, Churchie 3. Jack Leamon and 13. Jaidon Schafer immediately went to console Dalgleish, embracing him in a genuine hug. It was an impressive display of sportsmanship.
In the other main fixture of the round, Brisbane Grammar School underlined their title credentials with a 26-23 home victory over The Southport School in what was, by all reports, an exhilarating and high-class match. See Sam’s review here.
Peace with Inches
The title of this week’s blog, referencing the often minuscule margins that plot the course of a season, comes from a speech delivered by Al Pacino in the 1999 American Football film Any Given Sunday.