Ipswich self-destruct again

RUGBY UNION: Ipswich 13 Woodford 17IPSWICH slumped to another loss at Humber Doucy Lane on Saturday as the players continued to press the self-destruct button on their 2001 season.

Ipswich 13 Woodford 17

IPSWICH slumped to another loss at Humber Doucy Lane on Saturday as the players continued to press the self-destruct button on their 2001 season.

Discipline was the key word coach Atherton emphasised before the game, and it was discipline that ultimately cost them the game.

After last week's romp away at Thurrock, the home supporters quite rightly turned up in expectation of an entertaining afternoon and to be fair to Ipswich, their loose play was exciting. The inter-passing and support work not could not be faulted. Despite starting slowly, Ipswich were the better side in the opening 20 minutes, and created opportunities to score, but failed to react quickly enough at the key moments.

Nevertheless, they were in control, and one felt it was only a matter of time before the pressure would start to tell, however, indiscipline at a lineout led to a Woodford penalty, and this seemed to disrupt the Ipswich concentration.

They started to query decisions, and the penalties started to mount. This opened a door of opportunity for Woodford and they took it. Penalties gave them good field position, the fly half slotted two, and aggressive running from the men of the match, Woodford's open side, and No 8 kept Ipswich on the back foot, and prised the crucial opening for Woodford when they crossed the line late in the half. With the score at 0-11 Ipswich had it all to do in the second half.

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Woodford's pack had the edge in the scrums, but Ipswich dominated line-outs, despite some unusual decisions from the referee in this area, so with honours even in the tight, and Ipswich in flamboyant mood in the loose, one felt the game could and should have been won.

Woodford never really threatened in the backs, and the second-half was mostly one-way traffic with Ipswich in the ascendancy. They scored an excellent try early in the half, when Goodhall broke through the centre to score under the posts, Hughes converted. Then they slotted two penalties to bring the scores to 13-14, but then Ipswich lost the plot again and concentrated more on helping the referee to run the game than working for each other.

This ill discipline allowed Woodford off the hook time and time again, and as the clock ran down, Woodford were given the opportunity to close the game out with a lovely 40-metre penalty goal struck by the talented fly-half.

Price made a significant contribution when he replaced Primmer in the second half and Rush and Searle again worked studiously, but one had to question the commitment of some of the other forwards, who seemed to drift in and out of the game, content to let others shoulder the brunt of the load.

"This was probably the most disappointing game of the season for me," said Atherton the Ipswich coach. "I emphasised the need to be disciplined before the game, and they let themselves down. The players have got to understand that they have a responsibility to each other, the spectators, and the club. The only way to influence a game and win respect is to play to your potential."

Ipswich travel to Hadleigh next week in the Intermediate Cup. A good cup run may be just the tonic they need and will give them something to play for this season.

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