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  • The Brotherhood - latest news

    Season 13 League 14
    Lancaster Force 40 - 17 Ryde Celtics

    The Brotherhood's return to GRM began brighter than expected but soon turned sour leaving coach Danny McBride with little positive to say other than reminding the Brotherhood's faithful that "this is going to be a long haul".

    When Frannie Corr spotted a yawning gap on the right channel his oblique kick over the narrow Lancaster defence bounced perfectly for wing Dan Tasker to collect and cash-in for the Celtics first GRM try in just 57 seconds. Kev Beckett's conversion sealed the most perfect of beginnings but it all went horribly wrong less than five minutes later just as the Celtics were pressing hard on the edge of the Force's twenty-two. Wayne Jones fired an accurate long pass to the right from the seat of the ruck, Corr and full-back Jamie Tredwell kept the ball moving further right where the team had three players over. It was all looking so good until Cliff Patton, under pressure from the incoming fly-half Beale, the Force's last defender with three Celtics beyond, fumbled the ball. Beale collected gratefully and made an unchallenged 70 yard dash to shatter the Exile clubs opening gambit. Six minutes later Force caught the Celtics honey-potting and Butler scooted over for an unchallenged try and the hosts took the lead.

    The Celtics, opening with just 14 pro's and a volunteer at prop, began to suffer more injuries. Although the volunteer both unexpectedly and quite brilliantly set up Wayne Jones for a score in the twentieth minute, the Force were dominating 33-12 by half-time. Both sides suffered further losses through injury in a grinding second half with neither commanding the contest or a exhibiting a coherent game plan. Prop Aden Thomson, Man of the Match, clawed back a 66th minute consolation from an audacious intercept while the Force were nonchalantly fondling the ball from side to side too deep in their own defence but it was too late to pose any serious threat to the outcome.

    Last edited by Chunty; 04-11-2020, 06:44 PM.

  • #2
    Hard luck Chunty. Looking forward to seeing how the Celtics build this season.


    • #3
      A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step ... or something like that. Hard luck, Chunty. The good news is that there’s always next week in GRM.


      • #4
        Danny McBride's spent an intense time since Saturday's entirely predictable opening flop and has secured funding to place several bids on the transfer market - now he's crossing all fingers for a fruitful return! In the meantime ad-hoc prop Fortunato Cilliers, a 20-year-old South African, has joined the club as a free agent which at least enables the team that starts the game against Tauranga Barbarians next weekend to comprise fifteen professionals. However eight of them are carrying injuries. Should replacements be needed, which they inevitably will, the bench is staffed by nothing more than a bunch of keen volunteers.

        From among the original fourteen players the coach has lengthened the contracts of three including 21-year-old Irish No.8 Leon Marshall who McBride has tipped for a great future at the club. 36-year-old Alex Boirand maintains the captaincy and some encouragement has been found in that four of the Celtics were selected for the League 14 team of the week. Strongest among them was hooker Aden Thomson with a PR of 70.3 who showed he possesses potential to be far more enterprising both within and without the tight five - shame he's already 34. Despite fumbling the ball that turned the tide against Lancaster, flanker Cliff Patton also appeared in the team of the week with a 55.9 PR. But perhaps the clubs greatest all-round strength presently lies in Dan Tasker, the robust wing who sits in 13th place in the league MVP votes. His try last Saturday capped off an encouraging individual performance.


        • James
          James commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm always looking forward to the latest news of your teams Chunty. Knowing your quality, you'll have this team winning in no time.

      • #5
        Season 13 League 14 - Round 4
        Tauranga Barbarians 48 - 13 Ryde Celtics

        Last week the Celtics opened their GRM debut with a try in 57 seconds and looked like bagging a score even earlier in Tauranga until Jamie Tredwell's offload, five yards from the Barbarians try line wasn't so much intercepted but just clattered into the side of an out of position defender allowing home prop Stevens to scoop up the ball and release it to fly-half Tuati who streaked the entire length of the field to touch down in the 37th second. It was a cruel piece of bad luck for Danny McBride's team but one which, to be frank, was little more than a precursor for the remainder of the game.
        Neat hands between Thomson, Marshall and Tasker enabled the former to give the Celtics a glimmer of hope before half-time but the Barbarians proved too powerful and pulled away for a decisive victory.

        As McBride awaits the outcome of bids made on some quality potential signings he made the shock announcement that other than Tredwell, Marshall and Tasker, the remainder of the squad were to be released when their contracts expire. Speaking to the Brotherhood media team he stated "I can feel no personal responsibility for these players, we inherited them from the previous franchise and it's no surprise they were struggling. I'm not apologising for releasing men that can't play. If it's any consolation the guy that swabs the bogs in the clubhouse doesn't do it so well either so he's going too - shame of it is though that he's probably got a better chance of gaining employment elsewhere compared to some of our current squad."

        McBride, a protege of former Brotherhood RD legend Christian Kelly who was well known for his outspoken opinions, has shown himself to be a chip off the block but the Brotherhood won't mind if he shows the same tenacity that Kelly did when he turned the RD club Ryde Fighting Irish into a side that even surpassed the London Irish Celtics back in the day.

        Brotherhood chairman Sean Kiley confirmed the position "Danny's got my backing to do what he needs to do. He'll maintain that status as long as we see both financial and on the field progress... or he'll be offered the bog swabbing job!"


        • #6
          Season 13 League 14 - Round 5
          Ryde Celtics 26 - 17 Cape Town Vortex

          When the Celtics lined up for their first home match since the franchise became a part of the Brotherhood, little excitement rippled through the crowd who leafed through the match programme and spotted the names of five local volunteers in the starting XV.

          When the hosts were penalised at the ruck and went behind to a penalty goal within three minutes the mood only darkened. But the lights brightened just five minutes later when a tight battering ram of emerald pummelled the Vortex defence which held firm until fly-half Kevin Beckett spotted full-back Jamie Tredwell making a flying run towards the opposite side of the danger zone and Beckett’s deft kick met his run to perfection. Beckett’s conversion put the icing on a timely and not to be underestimated reply to the early set back.

          It was a perfect weighted Beckett pass that allowed the soon-to-retire wing Dan Tasker to waltz into the corner in the thirty-first minute and suddenly the home crowd were on their feet baying for more. It came five minutes after the break, this time Tasker benefited from the approach work done by Steve Goodall of the second row to plant the ball in similar fashion to his first score. Tasker’s hat-trick came from another subtle Beckett chip six minutes later.

          The Celtics fitness was questioned as they faded in the last quarter, allowing the Vortex two tries but they proved little but consolation to some surprisingly good work by the beleaguered Ryde team who this week welcomed the arrival of Chas Dorfling from Hurstville Infantry and free agent Brandon O’Doherty. Fingers are crossed that over the next week the five offers made to other players, three transferees and two free agents, exceeding a potential spend of over $300,000, may allow the club to field fifteen full-time professionals before the end of the season.

          With a stadium upgrade in the build stage and investment in merchandising completed, things are looking a bit brighter for the Celtics from here on.


          • samuelrambo
            samuelrambo commented
            Editing a comment
            Well done on the club's first win, Chunty! The first of many, I am sure!
            Best of luck with your recruitment drive.

          • GrahamNZ
            GrahamNZ commented
            Editing a comment
            Will be following your progress.

        • #7
          Brotherhood News Flash

          In a sudden about-turn the Brotherhood have ditched Ryde Celtics and acquired the Brighton and Hove Bulls franchise, currently in debt and bottom of League 2, and have rebranded and hence relaunched the Ryde Fighting Irish... not seen since the dying days of RD.

          And once again at the helm, dragged out of coaching retirement is the sometimes controversial, often amusing but never boring, former LIC centre Christian Kelly.

          The Brotherhood launch RFI just in time for the inevitable relegation to League 3, but this isn't a concern for Brotherhood chairman Sean Kiley who looks forward to a new season in a new league but with the hope of reliving some of the former glories of the Fighting Irish who were on the cusp of promotion to the top tier when the RD league came to an abrupt end.

          This weekend the Smallbrook Arena re-opens for rugby to welcome the San Diego Stampede, who, like the RFI, are facing the drop - two desperate clubs eager to go out of a drab season with all guns blazing - sounds like just the job for Mr Kelly!

          Some of the Ryde Celtics squad have been transferred across (in name only, there's been no fishy behind the scenes swindling) and incredibly the rest of the Brighton and Hove Bulls squad acquired by the Brotherhood have all agreed to become naturalised Anglo/Irish and change their names by UK deed poll to fit in with their new homes on the Isle of Wight. Look out for half-back Danny Booth, 24--year-old son of former Belfast Bulls and LIC legend Alan Booth, and waiting in the background for his chance is 20-year-old Oliver Washington a sturdy prop who's the son of former LIC lock and long-time captain Ole Washington.

          Bheith ag iarraidh an lámh in uachtar a fháil!


          • #8
            I was wondering if Christian would get the call! Great to see him and the RFI back! The game is better for their return! Best of luck this weekend.


            • #9
              Season 13 Round 9 - League 2
              Ryde Fighting Irish 28 - 36 San Diego Stampede

              Even Christian Kelly was pragmatic enough to consider this initial home defeat little more than a taster of his new club and squad, although he never fails to notice areas for future improvement, most notably losing too much ball at the breakdown, missed tackles, handling errors under pressure and lineouts stolen.

              That list appears a damning indictment of the Fighting Irish's revival opener but in fact there were moments in possession when they showed promise both as individuals and for the system which Kelly wants them to adopt and work towards improving. That didn't stop the visitors romping ahead, the first try stunning the home crowd in just 35 seconds and the second in the twelfth minute. A lesser side might have crumbled from the disappointment of a 14 point deficit within 12 minutes, but that's not the Irish way and never has been.

              Stretching the attack into either corner of the Stampede's defence Anthony Williams and Jerry Parkinson spotted down and by the 28th minute of play the score was levelled at 14-14. Six minutes later Stampede's 32-year-old Moroccan wing Marama Subasic had reclaimed the lead for his club following a cunning defence splitting cross-field kick by fly-half Steph Botes, but the hosts were in no mood to go in down at half-time and the reply was almost instant. Irish's forwards colluded in tight bundles to create an opening deep in the Stampede's field from where No.8 Brandon O'Doherty steamed through for a score. With fly-half Chas Dorfling kicking impeccably the RFI ended the half leading 21-19.

              The narrow lead lasted only six minutes of the second half thanks to wing Charlie Stevens for Stampede and for the next twenty minutes the game swung back and forth, with the visitors edging in possession and territory, until Jerry Parkinson shifted thighs in a twisting burst that took him behind the last line of defence and down for his second try. Dorfling's continued expertise from the tee restored Irish to a 28-24 advantage.

              Stampede went on the offensive from there, pulling the RFI from side to side and baring threatening teeth and it came as little surprise when the home defence was caught narrow and Subasic was able to restore their lead in the 76th minute. With Botes suffering a fifty-percent efficiency with the kicks the lead narrowed to a single point as the final minutes ticked on. At 77:51 RFI's centre Anthony Williams prepared to catch a high ball just inside the Stampede's half but defending counterpart Antonio Phillips timed his challenge to perfection, slamming Williams to the floor and squirting the ball from his grasp. Scrum-half Shurochka Lapasa was first to react, scooping up the loose ball and legging it all the way to the points and a 36-28 victory for the visitors, and deservedly so with a dominance in all areas.

              Man of the match was Stampede's full-back Sebastian Gerard with a PR of 59.0 with Jerry Parkinson registering RFI's best at 49.8.

              Season 14 beckons in League 3 but unfortunately with no cash to invest in new players or youths Christian Kelly needs to plan wisely for the future of both the playing squad and the club's facilities.


              • GrahamNZ
                GrahamNZ commented
                Editing a comment
                This was one of the most entertaining games that I watched.

              • danielw
                danielw commented
                Editing a comment
                Yep, it was an entertaining match, teams are more or less equal strength with a slight advantage to the Stampede, especially among the forwards (also considering the number of injuries to first-choice players). I was somewhat relieved the Stampede could pulled it off towards the end. In fairness, it is a bitter pill for the Fighting Irish leaving the park with only one league point, but then again I would have been the more disappointed manager if the Stampede did not finish strongly to clinch the match. Looking forward to it how the teams will go in League 3, although I suspect it is still a league or two above their pay grade at the moment.

              • ceejay
                ceejay commented
                Editing a comment
                The hit that knocked the high ball loose was perfectly timed and looked brutal. Also a couple of great flick offload tries. It was a great game to watch.

            • #10
              Time for the bean counters...

              With the full backing of the Brotherhood management committee, RFI's coach Christian Kelly feels he's had no option but to recruit the services of a team of financial wizards to study how the acquired franchise got in the financial muddle they were in when they were brought into the Brotherhood, and how to get back in the black!

              Mathematically with the stadium and merchandising options running at level 2 and a seasonal wage bill of just under one million dollars, the club have the potential to run at a seasonal surplus of just over half a million, but not with home crowd attendances running at 27% of the stadium's capacity (as they did for the last two home games of the season). Although Kelly aspires to on-the-field improvements in League 3 next season, he is considered enough to suggest that the playing squad is a long way from the sustained success that reaps the benefit of drawing in the absent thousands of Ryde's rugby loving public.

              Cuts are the only option, and with the club's deficit disabling the option to pay for a stadium downgrade the axe can fall in only one place - the squad!

              Once the retirement of the players highest rated player Colm O'Connell is concluded at the seasons end, the clubs projected wage bill for Season 14 rolls in just under $1,000,000. In the league season now completed, the average crowd attendance, which ranged from 12,406 to 3,318, was 7,163, representing a little over 57% of capacity, somewhere around $180,00 dollars per home game or nearly $900,000 per season. Assuming a similar average next season, the wage bill needs to drop substantially below that figure in order to make any inroads on the substantial overdraught the club are existing on.

              As a result Christian has had the difficult task of choosing his 22-man match day squad and lining up the rest for contract expiry and/or placing them on the transfer market.

              It's been a difficult choice, particularly when it comes to older players who would ordinarily dominate their regular position but are likely to retire in the imminent future. Where this is the case Kelly has opted to keep the younger men that evidence above average rates of improvement, physically and/or technically dependent on their current skills and attributes.

              Sadly as a result the following players will either be sold (hopefully) or depart when their current contracts expire...
              • Arnold Makinde (30) (OVR 82) (Number 8)
              • Oliver Washington (20) (OVR 82) (Prop)
              • Jeremy Small (20) (OVR 82) (Hooker)
              • Martin Parry (20) (OVR 83) (Inside Centre)
              • Terry McQueen (31) (OVR 85) (Fly Half)
              Loss of these six players, plus the retirement of Colm O'Connell, will add $18,586 a week to the clawback. It is hopeful that if on the field results can at least maintain and hopefully improve the 57% attendance rate, there will be no further need for losses from the playing squad, only time will tell.


              • #11
                Season 14 Round 1 - League 3
                Harare Blizzard 34 - 34 Ryde Fighting Irish

                You can have 37% possession and 33% territory and still come close to winning a game and had RFI’s season opener ended 27 seconds earlier, victory would have been theirs.

                On balance even Christian Kelly gave a deferential nod to the drawn result and whilst his side, opening up in their first full season since returning to GRM, shed a load of points and missed opportunities to expand on their own, he can’t be too unhappy with the outcome of a thrilling encounter at Harare.

                RFI’s five tries to the Blizzard’s four seemed a long way from coming when the hosts shot to a 14-0 lead inside of seven minutes. Kelly’s apoplectic reaction from beyond touch may have reminded his men of the Fighting element of the club name and an immediate reaction was induced. Danny Booth received the ball after a driving maul that took play deep into Harare’s twenty-two and planted in the left corner at 07:25. Seventeen minutes later, during which RFI fans held their breath every time the hosts approached with ball in hand, another maul delivered Jim Kelly to touch down in similar fashion – Dorfling converted and the score was levelled.

                Following an RFI penalty and Blizzard drop-goal the game appeared to be drifting towards half-time at 17-each, until a sudden breakaway seconds after the fortieth minutes was passed saw Anthony Williams spot down for the Irish, again to the left of the goal. Dorfling missed the conversion and it was this miss that ensured that when Jason Peterson converted his own try in the fiftieth minute, Harare retook the lead by two points. But the competition was far from over.

                Weathering the storm, largely down to Buchanan Booth’s tenacious tackling which earned him the man of the match award, RFI managed to thread a move from the jaws of defeat that ended when Billy Fowler popped an offload to Will Blessed and the 126kg prop thundered the few necessary yards to score. Dorfling sliced another conversion allowing Harare to draw level again when the Irish collapsed a maul and Peterson planted the penalty to perfection, 27-27.

                As the game entered the final ten-minutes it could have gone either way, Blizzard dominated possession but Irish showed they were dangerous when in attack. In the seventy-third minute Williams offloaded and full-back Colin Weeks flew in for a score, this time converted by Dorfling to give the Irish a potential winning 34-27 lead.

                The ball barely left the Irish half for the remaining seven minutes of play and the visiting crowd gasped as the host lock Christian Machabeli appeared to have scored but was literally inches from the line. In effect his near miss was but one phase of an attack that resulted in success for Harare, finished off by Peterson’s daring looping pass across the face of the try-line that set up Jesse King for the easiest but most critical try of the day at 79:33. Peterson converted easily to settle the 34-all draw.

                A thrilling return to total-GRM for the Fighting Irish!


                • zagrijs
                  zagrijs commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good game Chunty, both teams had chances to win this one.

                • Chunty
                  Chunty commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It was truly a cliff-hanger. Got a very tough game coming up against Border Invasion this weekend. They out-class RFI in all areas of the field with the exception of the second row, I'll be happy just to keep the score to a sensible level in this match.

              • #12
                Season 14 - Round 2 - League 3
                Ryde Fighting Irish 0 - 38 Border Invasion

                Christian Kelly intimated earlier in the week that a result against the Invasion would have been a near impossible dream, but even he was gutted to see his squad shut-out in-front of a dwindling home crowd. There were times when bursts of flair promised moments of relief for RFI, but they were too few and lacked the sting to make it past the lines of a solid Invasion defence. Repeated errors across the field were punished, quite rightly, by the visitors who proved that their theoretical dominance on paper can be transferred seamlessly to the field of play.

                Kelly could only summarise with a typically pragmatic "nothing's wasted, defeat, whilst anticipated, only sows the seeds of hunger and the harder you go down the more determined you are to come back fighting."

                The Invasion are congratulated for a comprehensive display.

                Next week RFI visit Hawkes Bay, whose typical first XV have a statistical edge on RFI but are much more closely matched. But with Charlie Mottistone still in the middle of a three-week injury recovery the Irish will continue with an under strength side although Joseph Ndonyo can return as hooker next week.


                • samuelrambo
                  samuelrambo commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I saw good signs from the Fighting Irish. The Invasion had a lot of luck defensively ... and on attack, too. This meant the Irish had very little - quite unlike what is supposed to happen. I thought they fought very hard and the scoreline flattered Border.
                  The game against the Sharks next week will be a beauty!

              • #13
                Crossing my fingers for this weekend that RFI can avoid more injuries. Sadly we've lost Charlie Mottistone and Colin Weeks, two of the clubs brightest stars, and first choice Number 8 Billy Fowler. Despite carrying injuries requiring 3, 2 and 1 weeks rest respectively, all three are required to take a seat on the replacements bench as unfavourable economics, as revealed in May, forced the despatching of a handful of players over the 22-man match day squad in order to cut costs.

                A quick match-up comparison for this weekends visit to Hawkes Bay suggests our hosts are more evenly matched compared to those we faced from the Invasion last weekend. But they have the edge in the front row, loose forwards and backs line. Key for RFI is the decision making and execution by Danny Booth (scrum half) and Chas Dorfling (fly half), if they can keep the ball in the preferable areas of the field we might have a chance of some points. Our own backs will sorely miss the presence of Mottistone and Weeks, but replacements Gerry O'Keefe and David Bronson are primed for their role and ready to keep up the Fighting spirit!

                One good bit of news. A home crowd last weekend of 99.9% of capacity made a substantial dent in the clubs debts, unfortunately the sound thrashing received won't encourage a similar response when we're next at home in Round 4 to welcome Auckland Fear to the Lane but some sort of result this weekend in Hawkes Bay could be worth as much if not more than the points on the table.


                • samuelrambo
                  samuelrambo commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Best of luck, Chunty. The RFI are more than capable of providing stern resistance and making life extremely uncomfortable for the Sharks. Injuries certainly don't help, but they do provide opportunities for guys who might not otherwise have had the chance to shine. Border have had one such player emerge from obscurity in second-year lock Angelo Ledesma, who doesn't look like much, but seems to have taken a real liking to the Invasion game plan and has produced some very encouraging performances in his limited appearances since getting a chance late last season when injuries struck (and I sold several locking prospects higher than him in the pecking order).

                • GrahamNZ
                  GrahamNZ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Should be another interesting game.

                • ceejay
                  ceejay commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Best of luck for this one Chunty. It is a must win game for both of us I think. We are carrying a couple of injuries with our starting right wing out, and our 12 Lavalla playing with a niggle. Hopefully the home town crowd can get behind us and make the difference on the night.

              • #14
                Season 14 Round 3 - League 3
                Hawkes Bay Sharks 40 - 7 Ryde Fighting Irish

                Nobody likes a whinger” stated Christian Kelly when he began his post-match interview immediately following RFI’s appalling performance at Hawkes Bay – “when it comes to strategy the players were pretty tight to what I’d dictated but it’s apparent that our current crop of skills isn’t compatible with the way I want us to play… back to the drawing board.”

                Kelly has never been slow to point the finger where blame lies but this week he’s pointing back firmly at himself as the architect of a game that showed early promise for the Fighting Irish but slowly fizzled away to a dour end, including the 76th minute loss of scrum-half Danny Booth which made little difference to the result but means the club are without him due to injury for the next two weeks.

                Eight opening minutes of hope turned to sorrow after a knock-on followed by a failed scrum on the edge of RFI’s twenty-two. The Sharks deep attacking line-out was perfectly executed and like a hot knife through butter the Sharks cut a seamless line through the Irish defence to open the scoring. Buchanan Brown spotted a gap in the Sharks defences in the seventeenth minute and timed his run to collect Danny Booth’s ruck distribution cleanly to give the visiting Irish a sense of competition but it wasn’t to last long as the hosts showed skill and opportunism, of which there was sufficient number given the basic errors in RFI’s gameplay, and steadily pulled away to a 33-point winning margin for which they can only be congratulated.

                Whilst it would be easy for the Irish to get down in the dumps coming directly after last weeks thrashing by the Invasion, pragmatic Kelly is quick to remind everyone that the club are three weeks into its first season, unable to invest on any front until the outstanding debt is cancelled, and remaining in League 3 at the end of this season will be an accomplishment in itself. However the Fighting spirit remains and Kelly has plans to make a few key changes to player positions out of the 19 fit players left at his disposal, plus a strategy tweak that has shown substantial improvement against Training Team ‘A’ in two matches held since the weekend.

                Next week RFI host Auckland Fear at Smallbrook Stadium where Christian Kelly has promised a less rigid strategy to encourage his most talented to show their flair. We wait with baited breath!


                • samuelrambo
                  samuelrambo commented
                  Editing a comment
                  We have faith in Christian. He will turn the club's fortunes around!

              • #15
                Season 14 - Round 4 - League 3
                Ryde Fighting Irish 15 - 7 Auckland Fear

                The luck of the Irish is the only way to summarise the result of a match dominated by Auckland Fear yet showing an eight-point win for the home side.

                RFI club captain Willy Featherstone was bashful in his post-match interview, claiming that he was proud of his colleague’s defensive efforts and that “we were a bit lucky to be honest”. Featherstone is correct in both aspects – RFI were very fortunate and the fact that Auckland’s possession and territorial dominance produced only a single try says nothing of the pattern of the game except perhaps that with their backs to the wall in the dirty trench fighting of the red zone the Irish showed, if nothing else, a resolute commitment to throw their bodies on the line.

                The Fear were typically magnanimous in defeat but walking away from Smallbrook Lane without a single point after putting on the display they did must hurt hard.

                In the third minute RFI centre Teddy Cross punched out the telling pass that opened up Fear’s defence as Irish swung from right to left across the field. As Bert Dewey prepared to be hit he offloaded inside where Cross followed up and crossed an unopposed twenty-two to score. Dorfling uncharacteristically pulled the conversion (and continued to miss all goal kicks throughout the game) but the hosts led 5-0.

                From there the game reverted to wave after wave of Fear attacks thrown upon the Irish like a high-tide in a storm. It was no surprise that in the twenty-fourth minute a defensive lapse finally occurred that allowed George Tiran to storm through from close range and equalise the scoreboard. William Fraser’s conversion edged the Fear ahead 7-5.

                And that’s how the score stayed for a lengthy period whilst Fear did everything possible to increase their majority. Irish had a few moments of attacking interest, most notably when Jerry Parkinson was bundled out of the in-goal within inches of touching down, but it was against the run of play and as time ticked away even the home crowd couldn’t believe there remained only two points separating the teams. Parkinson’s silky genius on RFI’s right wing was to prove a heartbreaker as the game advanced into the final quarter – the 29-year-old ducked and swerved past three tackle attempts before spotting the ball in the corner. Dorfling fluffed his kick again but somehow the Irish led 10-7.

                But the cruellest blow was yet to come. The Fear went into overdrive to recover the game at the same time the Irish realised that defending their line wasn’t just about damage-limitation – a tantalising chance of a first League 3 victory hung in the wake of their oppositions flurry. When Auckland’s full-back Johnstone made a probing run down the right it was only a tackle from behind that prevented his progress, but the Fear were firmly planted within the twenty-two and firing on all cylinders. Even Christian Kelly later admitted that the event, on the cusp of 78 minutes, he fully expected to result the Fear scoring a match winning try. Irish were able to clear their lines and when Dorfling received the ball with the clock showing 80 minutes there were gasps around the stadium when he kicked not to the stands but straight down the middle of the park, keeping the ball, and the game, alive. Johnstone collected and launched the forlorn hope, until a pass was dropped just inside their own half, Parkinson reacted swiftly, scooped up and sprinted an unopposed 45 metres to score his second try and the Irish third: 15-7.

                With humility Kelly admitted “arguably an undeserved win for us, and an undeserved loss for Fear”.

                GrahamNZ – unlucky day mate, I’m almost embarrassed to take the points.


                • GrahamNZ
                  GrahamNZ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  These things happen from time to time.
                  Congrats on the win.
                  I was immensely proud of the Fear effort. On another day, things could easily have turned out differently.
                  All the best for your remaining games.

                • samuelrambo
                  samuelrambo commented
                  Editing a comment
                  A titanic struggle between two very proud sides. I expected nothing less. Congratulations to Ryde for finally breaking through - you take whatever fate deals you at this level. Hard luck to the Fear - nowadays your hands are so, so important, and reactions are so fast that any errors can be costly. It was just unfortunate that the timing was so late in the match with the game in the balance. That's rugby. Some days you win, some days you don't.