A tough lesson learnt on the road
By Niel Kenny
PJF need to understand it and learn it and move on
JFS travelled to Old Blues on Saturday. On arriving at the ground we learnt that kick off was to be at 14.00 and not 14.15 giving the lads very limited time to warm up. Due to assorted circumstances there were a number of changes from the Cranleigh game. The weather was damp, grey and dreary and although the rain held off the ground underfoot was wet. Blues adapted to these conditions quickly and were able to open the scoring early in the half and this was followed by another quick try. PJF on the other hand, unlike previous weeks in the season, were disorganised and shell shocked. Blues had pace on their wing and their pack operated as a cohesive unit driving up the middle and retaining and recycling the ball well. PJF on the other hand were turned over too frequently so could not establish any pattern of play. PJF conceded another 3 tries in the first half giving them a mountain to climb despite clawing one back I the dying moment of the half. Discipline started to slip and PJF conceded additional yards at a free kick which this season has been uncharacteristic
The second half started better with PJF establishing some pressure but unforced mistakes allowed Blues to increase their lead which was added to 20 minutes later. In the last 10minutes PJF snatched a try back when a great solo effort by Declan Williams went in under the posts. Possibly the only bright spot on a dreary afternoon. The final result being Blues 43 PJF 14. Blues had played the conditions well and played to their strengths whereas PJF did not. That is not to say that the lads didn’t try. The front row presented Blues with problems throughout the afternoon with Luca Bellavia, Shane van der Schiff and Callum Law all putting in a shift. Sam Arnold put in an enormous effort to win the man of the match award. Iain Greenwood led from the front putting in telling tackles all afternoon and carrying the ball into contact.
So how do we put this game into context? In terms of our development, the good news is that five players played their first league game for the club this season and now have a better idea of the standard they need to achieve to compete successfully at this level. The result also reflected on where we are as a club. We have some excellent players, and those that stepped in on Saturday all have the potential to be very good players at this level, but the players need more time on the training paddock with one another to fully appreciate how the side aspires to play and what role they can play in the free flowing style that has been the inspiration behind our recent results. If anything was really poor on Saturday, it was the communication between players during the game. The players who come in must have the confidence and permission to call things as they see it. Particularly in defence.
Talking to the lads after the game, there was a great feeling of disappointment in their performance as much as the result, but more encouragingly a determination to not to let it happen again. The players who came in all have the talent they need to be assimilated into the squad and team but to become successful at anything in this world work also has to be put in to reap the rewards. The gap between competing successfully and failing from the top of Surrey 2 to half way up the London Division 2 is very narrow. It is the depth of squads that differentiates sides across the four divisions. We are growing slowly, but we do need to nurture the growth to develop the depth we need to compete at the level the club aspires to. Understand and learn the lessons of Saturday and we can all move on and put it behind us.