Ipswich pay for scrum weakness
RUGBY UNION: Ipswich 12 Bishops Stortford 15. This was an exciting encounter with everything for the spectators, including a nail-biting finish, but Ipswich let another opportunity slip by, despite a valiant effort.
Ipswich 12 Bishops Stortford 15
THIS was an exciting encounter with everything for the spectators, including a nail-biting finish, but Ipswich let another opportunity slip by, despite a valiant effort.
Ipswich were soon on the back foot, when from a quick tap penalty they knocked the ball on, giving the powerful visiting pack good field position from which to apply pressure. They drove the Ipswich pack back, and touched down for an early lead.
Halfway through the first period Bishop's drove from a lineout, and Ipswich could not stop the momentum as Bishop's claimed their second try of the half. It could have been a lot worse, as Bishop's turned down three kicks at goal, instead electing to kick for the corner, trying to drive their way over the line.
Late in the half Bishop's once again attacked in the Ipswich 22-metre zone and as the pressure mounted, Ipswich conceded a scrum five metres out. They held the initial drive, but as the Bishop's number eight picked up and drove for the line, desperate defence stopped him inches short, Bishop's scrum half moved the ball blind, giving just enough room for the hooker to crash over for a try.
At half time 0-15 did not seem an insurmountable total and Ipswich set about the task with enthusiasm. They pushed the ball into the visitors' half and pressurised the defenders, keeping them penned in their 22-metre area.
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With 10 minutes played, Ipswich finally got the breakthrough they had been searching for. From a lineout 10 metres out, they set up a maul and drove relentlessly forward, but there was nothing Bishop's could do to hold them out and Hughes converted in difficult conditions.
Finally Ipswich won some possession and good ball at the lineout was moved into midfield. Quick ruck ball provided Van Heerden with some quality possession; he moved the ball to Hinds, who accelerated through the gap, releasing the ball to Hughes, who in turn fed Johnson.
The centre cut back inside and glided over for the try of the game. Hughes missed the conversion, but Ipswich had closed the gap to three points.
Three or four times in the last 10 minutes Ipswich drove the ball towards the Bishop's line, but each time they managed to hold the drive, or the maul collapsed, and Ipswich found themselves under pressure once again in the scrum.
Late in the game, another penalty was awarded, but Ipswich decided to tap and run. They set up a drive, Bishop's held them out, the ball was moved to the blind side and Kerr fed Briggenshaw. Again the maul was set, and Ipswich edged closer, but again Bishop's held them out. Captain Searle broke open, driving for the line, and as Ipswich looked to ruck the ball, the referee decided it was buried, and blew full time.