Manchester Village Spartans 2B’s welcomed a York Templars to Sale for their latest IGR adventure.
From the kick off the Templars experience was telling as they searched for a breakthrough, and had the Spartans defending early on with great bravery.
The breakthrough came from a set piece that was quickly released to the Templars left winger who broke two tackles and touched down infield, although the conversion was missed.
The Spartans had more defending to do as Templars pressed for a second, and did so admirably with big hits being laid out on the Templars forwards. Multiple phases of play brought Templars to the 5 metre line. From the resulting phase the scrum half broke through to the try line, only for winger Ian Stodart to hold it up superbly, and the Spartans were able to clear.
The Templars movement from the set piece was impressive and from a line out inside the Spartans half, they spread the play quickly and the number 8 broke through the line and touched down under the posts with the conversion successful.
The Templars continued to press but the Spartans – though inexperienced – were not without enthusiasm, and it showed by a wonderful tackle by Rob Barlett on the Scholars 8 that brought an attack to a halt. Minutes later the pressure told though as the Templars scored again to bring the score to 24-0.
The Spartans confidence in their attacks was beginning to grow, with the forwards causing problems for the Templars defensive line. Although they were able to clear with a big kick into space, the Spartans back 3 recovered the ball well, and won a penalty to clear their lines.
After another Templars unconverted try, the Spartans attacking pressure began to grow as breaks from scrum half James Anderson and fly half Chris Goodman took them to the Templars 5 metre line. From the breakdown, Anderson whipped down the blindside and scrambled over to get the Spartans off the mark at 5-29.
The Templars pressed back however, and their wide gameplay brought another try from the left winger.
Back came the Spartans, attacking not only with bravery, but with confidence that forced the Templars into being offside. From the scrum inside the 22, Anderson again peeled away and his momentum carried him over the line to bring the score to 36-10.
However the Templars then took control of the game, their experience and fitness beginning to tell as a flurry of tries in the third quarter took them further ahead.
The Spartans never wavered, even after the tries being scored. Some terrific carries from Chris Hobert and Nathan Colom caused the Templars headaches as they struggled to contain them. Debutant Gus Ihm’s outstanding carry from his own half brought huge cheers from the sidelines – and from himself!
Although the Templars scored another try to take them to 78-10 the Spartans fed off the positive energy and some beautiful teamwork between forwards and backs, as well as some ambitious kicking, saw a scrum at the Templars 5 metre line. Anderson again sped down the blindside and scored for his hat trick.
The Templars pressed back, but the Spartans continued to grow into this game, and huge hits aplenty from forwards and backs limited their experienced opponents to just two further tries. The referee blew the whistle with the final score 15-88 to the Templars.
The scoreline reflected little of the Spartans gameplay, bravery and clear improvement since being formed in the summer. The Spartans man of the match award went to Nathan Gostick with special mention to Gus Ihm for an outstanding first game for the Spartans!
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