Keith vs New Brighton - 6th August 2011
Saturday, 06 August 2011
Ground: Bob Deans 3
Points: 0-3, 5-3, 5-8, 5-10, 10-10, 15-10, 17-10, 17-15, 17-17, 22-17, 24-17, 24-22, 24-27, 29-27, 29-30, 34-30
Tries: Brendyn LAWSON (2), Greg BROWN, Gary RICHARDS, George PHILIP, Phil HUGHES
Conv: Nick BROWN (2)
Player of the Day: Ian COWAN
IS IT A TROPHY? IS IT A PLAQUE? IS IT A PLATE? WHATEVER IT IS, WE'VE WON IT.
Six years, eleven months and three weeks ago Keith did beat Merivale / Lincoln University to win the Division Six Championship Trophy. I cried.
Today, that countdown clock was reset after the closest sewsawiest nervewrackingest game of rugby I've ever witnessed.
Finals rugby is all about selecting the right team, which can mean some team members don't get to start or come on as a reserve, and giving your all and leaving it totally spent on the paddock. Trouty and Lars selected their starting team, leaving 14 Keiths on the sideline. But both Trout and Lars will tell you all of the 14 were fully capable of taking the positions of the starting 15.
With a slightly changed New Brighton side from earlier in the season putting their stamp on procedings early, we knew that there was a fight on our hands to come out on top. Not an actual fight, just a tough uncomprimising battle between two teams deserving to be there.
The graph below will show you exactly how the score changed from behind to in front to equal to in front behind in front. But as Unit said after the game, when New Brighton moved in front with two minutes to go, they all thought they'd won the game. We knew that there was still two minutes remaining and that we had not yet lost. Not until the ref blew his whistle.
Unit, much to Uli's chargrin, continued his scoring run, with Gaz, followed by Lars making the halftime break close, but us ahead by 7 points. The first half was a half of attrition with gaps in the defences of both teams providing the space to score. We seemed to have them in the scrums, but our lineouts and our ability to clean up loose ball was not up to par and consequently we suffered and often were penalised for it. At the break, we were remined that it still wasn't over and wouldn't be for another 40 minutes so every single one us would have to step up a notch and bust our guts or break a leg.
Second half was almost a repeat of the first, except during the course of the half, there were a few personnel changes. Each one proving equal to the task.
The closeness between the teams became even more apparant with each try being matched by an opposition try. The sideline of reserves and supporters alike at times couldn't watch but then like a car crash, couldn't turn away.
This game was literally a cliffhanger of a match with the lead changing four times in the final 10 minutes.
I've said it before, that I don't mind losing to a team that deserves to win as long as we've given our all, but even with the closeness and the changing lead, I never thought we'd loose. A whole season's effort was being portrayed out on the field and that effort was too much to waste. The outcome was inevitable. We would triumph. We just didn't know how.
And then, 104 games later, Sonny Phil Hughes had nothing else to do except hold on to the pass and fall over the line. And avoid being tackled and pushed into the sideline. And he did, becoming a genuine Keith Hero.
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