Saturday 18th February, a misty Nederland winters day, and BSN Juniors clash with Gouda. Due to the half-term break turnout was limited with only 15 players available on the day, which in the face of a Gouda squad sporting 22 players, was to ultimately prove a decisive factor in what turned out to be an exciting and heroically fought game.
BSN and Gouda huddle for last minute coaching before the game
However looking on the bright side, the choice of the starting 15 was considerably eased, and even better on this occassion BSN supplied the referee. The match kicked-off on schedule and initially Gouda dominated, scoring tries at 3 and 7mins. It seemed at first that the day was not to go well for BSN.
BSN forwards were up for the encounter
At 15mins, against the tide of play, BSN broke though Gouda on their own 20m line, and with a fantastic turn of speed Seb C charged down the wing to the cheers of the crowd clustered nearby.
BSN winger breaks through the Gouda line in own half to the cheers of spectators to setup first BSN score
At first it looked liked a stunning try was on the cards but slowly and steadily the Gouda backs started to close in. Realising that he was unlikely to make the line he powered on waiting until the last second, drawing the Gouda defence to the side-line opening up the centre of their defence, before deftly kicking forward. The ball bounced kindly and rolled towards the Gouda try line as the BSN captain sprinted forwards in a race for the ball. Dashing over the line BSN touched down for a great try that surprised the opposition and inspired the rest of the team to greater efforts.
Great individual performances from the forwards and backs made this a bruising match on the pitch but an exciting match to watch from the comfort of the side-line
The match was well balanced and hard fought for the rest of the half with Gouda scoring at 20mins and BSN closing the points gap determinedly scoring a second try in the last action of the half.
BSN score 2nd try in the dying seconds of the first half
Two weeks efforts on the training pitch really shone through with some powerful and aggressive rucking action by the forwards
The second half started well for BSN who dominated Gouda from the re-start. Following good forward action the BSN no. 8 broke away scoring an equalising try at 4mins. A successful conversion by Stuart took the lead (BSN 17:15 Gouda) and now we really had a game on our hands. Following the re-start Gouda were fierce in their response and scored their 4th try to regain the lead at 8mins, followed by a successful conversion, taking the score line to BSN 17:22 Gouda.
BSN no.8 powers away from the maul following the re-start
Undaunted BSN fought back and after a few minutes of to and fro play the forwards drove down the left wing in multiple phases of play. The ball was then released from the ruck and spun-down the line across the width of the pitch with impressive speed, catching Gouda by surprise. Great interplay and understanding between the BSN captain and winger saw the ball carried to the corner where it was stopped agonisingly short of the try line by desperate Gouda defence and eventually forced in to touch.
Great interplay between the BSN captain and winger ended in a try to level the match and take the lead following successful conversion by Stuart
Following the lineout a great team effort kept the ball pinned in the Gouda corner. Then slowly but surely, and with great determination, the ball was slowly migrated towards the centre of the pitch, opening up the option of breakouts to either side of the BSN ruck.
BSN pin Gouda in the corner following a narrowly missed try attempt
The ball was then released, moved to the right and handed to Williams, now at full momentum, who jinxed inside to force over the line by sheer force of will, levelling the scores once again after 13mins. The following confrontation between BSN and Gouda players on the Gouda try line only illustrated the passion of both teams and it was now clear neither was going to back down without a fight.
A successful conversion regained the lead (BSN 24:22 Gouda) with 10mins left to play and tensions running high. Following calming words by the referee and an invitation to both captains to talk to their respective teams, the game re-started. The BSN lead was short lived as only seconds after the restart Gouda powered down the BSN right to score a try and narrowly regain the lead with less than 8mins to play.
Run Forest! Run! – Gouda winger narrowly escapes to score
The conversion was missed taking the score line to (BSN 24:27 Gouda).
BSN scrum-half kicks from behind the scrum to set up a great scoring chance in a tense and exciting last few minutes
With customary courage BSN refused to give in but now the tiredness started to inexorably play a part as Gouda deployed fresh players from the bench. At 19mins Gouda scored again increasing their lead (BSN 24:32 Gouda). BSN fought to the end, which turned out to be another breakout by Gouda. Tackled at full speed by the BSN winger there was initially concern that another opposition player had met his nemesis. Happily after some attention he was OK to continue but by this time the game was over and the final whistle was blown before any restart.
Another one bites the dust – Gouda player suffers the all too familiar effects of an encounter with Williams
Despite a few colourful exchanges during tense moments in the second half both teams congratulated each after the whistle
Of course the result was disappointing, especially after the dominant performance earlier in the second half, but the 15 BSN team members played their hearts out and, as congratulated by the coaching staff in the team huddle afterwards, there was a wonderful mixture of great individual performances and a great team performance that they should be soundly proud of.
Game stats: courtesy Neville ‘stato’ Conway:
1st Half – Tries BSN 2 : 3 Gouda, Conversions BSN 0 : 0 Gouda
Half time score: BSN 10 : 15 Gouda
2nd Half – Tries BSN 2 : 2 Gouda, Conversions BSN 2 : 1 Gouda
Full time score: BSN 24 : 32 Gouda
Backs – Jay, Eduardo, Sam, Seb C, Seb CL, Williams
Forwards: Stuart, Mika, Kieran, Elliot, Hector, Sandy, Laurens, Dennis, Peter