On a cold but sunny morning in Ledbury, the Old Pats Barbarian squad played their first match of what promises to be an exciting 2022.
New rules are now in place which allow hooking in the scrum, two players in the ruck, kick offs and kicks in open play. While these introductions are likely to take a little longer than ‘Match 1′ to perfect, the team were quick to explore their possibilities. Indeed, three scrums were won against the head by the rotating Old Pats front row, with the first of these leading to a try following some good passing down the line and an outside run to score.
The Barbarians’ second try came in a period of play following a defensive kick over the top by Ledbury, skilfully gathered by Old Pats and returned to the mid-field. Possession then moved between the two teams amid fiercely contested rucks, before a determined rip and break to the line registered OP’s second try.
Ledbury responded well and began to find their footing after the Barbarians’ fast start. A couple of poor kicks from Old Pats were returned by Ledbury’s speedsters and these, plus two other tries saw Ledbury in the ascendancy as the first half drew to a close – a half of 20 minutes as we now move to 40 minute matches.
The coaching team rallied the players and reminded everyone that a team cannot score unless it is in possession of the ball! From this point, the use of the boot was more judiciously employed and this contributed to a fairly balanced second half. Ledbury perhaps had a little more possession, but the Barbarians really did show how much their contact skills have come on in recent months. There were some crunching tackles on Ledbury players and some very determined Barbarian maul play with some important ball steals. The Barbarian’s also showed good post-contact yardage with some very strong running from various members of the team.
Overall, it was brilliant to see the sharp handling skills from the Barbarians, the commitment in defence and the understanding that the team is building as they continue to play more together.
Plenty of positives to take from today’s match and one or two things to leave in Ledbury.
Thanks to Ledbury for their hospitality and all the best for the rest of your season.