For the second time in 7 days, Bruff RFC bested the senior XV, but we managed to do enough to come away with a losing bonus point on both occasions. Last weekend (2nd December) the final scoreline in Bruff was 17-13 to the homeside, Midleton points coming from the boot of Stuart Lee and a try from Aidan Ware. While Rob Smyth’s men fought to the end, it was not to be enough to come out with the full complement of points. This weekend (9th December) was a similar affair, with it going right to the end, with an impressive defensive effort from the travelling Bruff contingent.
Bruff had a dream start to the game when a out of hand kick in the middle of the pitch was knocked on close to the home side’s line, giving them a good platform in a scrum that was impressive seven days earlier. The solid platform gave the backs a chance to attack straight off the scrum, stepping inside the cover defence to go over from 10 yards out. The ensuing chance to add on the extras drifted wide of the mark, 5 nil to the travellers with only 5 minutes played.
Midleton calmed down and started putting the phases together, giving Stuart Lee a good opportunity to launch some wide attacks, exploiting a tight defence. This was helped by a strong set piece where young Denis Broderick shon, claiming a number of line outs against the head and frustrating many more. However, one handling error after another gifted the ball and the majority of possession to the travelling Bruff side.
Good defense in the opposition 22 from Midleton caused a turn over, and then a penalty which Stu Lee added, after failing an earlier attempt. However, it was to be the handling and un forced errors that were to be the story of the day, neither team with a perfect record, yet Midleton’s was considerably worse. 15 minutes in and the score is 3-5, in favour of the visitors. Rob Smyth was using his men well, with big carries from the forwards before providing clean quick ball for Lee to exploit the gaps. This resulted in a number of half breaks from second centre, Dan Murray, which would put Midleton in the driving seat. However, the errors kept coming with either a knock on or an infringement at the breakdown.
A strong passage of play where forwards and backs interlinked nicely gave Lee a chance to chip over the top of the rush defence, letting Dan Murray run onto it and get to within 5 of the line after stepping two covering defenders. The ball was moved wide quick to where the space is, however, Bruff got a hand to it and put the ball into touch on their own 22. The packs accuracy at the lineout continued, giving Lee the platform he needed to attack from. The result was another defensive infringement for not rolling away after the tackle, and another 3 points from the boot of Lee.
It was Bruff’s turn to put the pressure on now, with a scrum that didn’t falter all day they had a good opportunity to attack from, which they did from the centre of the pitch. Good carries from forwards coming around the corner and then the backs whipping back blind side, trying to catch the defense unawares put them into the Home side’s 22. However, handling errors again as Midleton turned over the ball and relieved the pressure. The tackling from the young Bruff side was immense all day and did not give the big Midleton ball carriers the chance to exploit the gaps which inevitably turn up after a number of phases. And so finished the first half, 6-5.
Midleton got points on the board early, with a turnover from the kick off, giving Lee the chance to make it 9-5, which he took. The story of the second went much the same as the first, with handling errors and mistakes ruling the game. Unfortunately these handling errors were to prove very costly, as they led to two tries for the visitors. One try came from a dropped ball in the backs off a scrum, which was hacked ahead by the Bruff defence to dive on it under the posts. This came after some great play from both sides, putting immense pressure on each other and constantly forcing the errors. 9-14 to Bruff.
This got the visitors tails up and they started attacking with more ferocity as well as guile, finding the space where there was none. The second try came from a penalty for a high tackle, this was kicked to the corner and then mauled forward. The home side appeared to get the push on, however, Bruff managed to slip down the blindside and over the line. 9-19 in favour of the visitors.
A huge attacking effort from Midleton resulted in a huge defensive effort from Bruff, as the home side were camped on the 5 metre line for much of the remaining 15 minutes. All that was to come of this was another penalty from Lee to make the scores 12-19, as they would finish.
Taking the positives from the game was the set piece, especially at lineout time where a number of wins against the head stopped Bruff’s momentum at key moments. The backs looked menacing when the ball went to hand, and the defense looked strong despite one or two lapses of concentration. The next game is not until the 6th of January, away to Malahide. With 8 games left, Midleton need to win as many as possible, and having come so close in so many (two draws and five losing bonus points) it is clear to see that we are so close to getting on top, and if the bounce of the ball had gone our way in those games we would be table toppers!
SAVE THE DATE!! 18th of March 2018 Midleton RFC are teaming up with Midleton GAA for a Lip Sync extravaganza! However, this will not be possible without volunteers, we need acts to take part! Please, if you or anyone you know is interested get in contact with John Silke on 087 798 3357