Tuesday, 17 June 2014 01:20
A week before the game, the Petes had been written off given their shoddy performance against RC and the lacklustre win over the Joes. They were dealt another blow when their skipper was ruled out of the game due to disciplinary reasons. It’s heartening to note that discipline takes pride of place even in this day and age. Within a few minutes of the start of the game, the Petes fly half limped off with an injury. In fact in most games he is unable to last the full tenure of the game and this really came as no surprise. However it is a surprise as to how the medical team passes him as fit to be in the starting line up, in the first instance.
Against this background, the odds were heavily in favour of the green army, who have been playing some quality and incisive rugby in almost all their games, except maybe for the first two games. The strength of the Petes is definitely not their forwards and they have scored when they have been willing to use their three quarters as well as the width of the pitch. Pathana has a classy and mobile set of forwards, together with two good centres and the wingers.
It may have the fact that the Petes felt that they had nothing to lose and hence decided that they would play a robust, carefree and expansive game. This obviously had the Pathana lads guessing as all those who had watched the Petes play prior to this game would never have imagined that their style could change so dramatically on the day. The set pieces of the Petes still need some intensive work especially the line out. Being awarded a penalty and kicking to touch would mean that the resultant line out must be won. Alas that was not to be as they lost many such line outs.
The Pathana # 8 is by far a class act and his incisive running gaining valuable metres is a treat to watch as is the number of players that are required to smother him in a tackle. His ability to retain possession at the breakdown point and his ability to make available quick ball are attributes that need to be perfected even further. It was obvious that the Petes were oblivious to his skill and it appeared that the Petes had not done their homework on him.
Without doubt, this match was eagerly anticipated by many as a game that would help Pathana to consolidate their grip at the top, but it turned out to be a defining moment for the Petes as despite all the odds they held firm. The Pete forwards put in a good steady and resolute performance thereby being able to contain the marauding Pathana forwards.
Pathana during the season have been a very tough side to contain in the second half especially in the last quarter as their superior fitness enables them to score at will and effectively running riot. The fact that the Petes were down by a score at half time and were the able to add 12 points in the second half as against 5 points by Pathana is testimony to their great resolve, self belief and a do or die effort.
However in the final analysis, Pathana played a far better game but were quite unlucky to fluff their chances to score as a result of poor handling skills at vital moments, decision making and intense Pete pressure that was quite unexpected even by the most diehard of Pete supporters. The Petes singing and enjoying the unexpected result, albeit a draw; was like a win. It brings to mind a line from their anthem; ‘Who will dare to point a finger when such joys are ours’?
The Petes will take on Trinity next week in the Lion’s den and if they rest on their laurels, they could be in for a nasty surprise.
(The writer can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.)