Sharks spoil Old Reds' party
Old Redcliffians 2nds 16 pts Gordano Sharks 24 pts - GORDANO ended Reds promotion double dreams.
Old Redcliffians 2nds 16 pts
Gordano Sharks 24 pts
GORDANO ended Reds promotion double dreams. With their first team already promoted, Reds Seconds needed to win this game to set up a promotion decider, with second placed Imperial next week.
Gordano played down the slope in the first half, and put the home side under early pressure and had three tries refused, before Joe Harris crashed over and Ed Whittaker converted.
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Reds gained regular ground, with Sharks defence unusually sloppy under the high ball, and forced the visitors into conceding penalties at scrum time. This gave the kicker two successful shots at goal.
Despite good first-half performances from Aaron French, Josh Richards and Harris in particular, Gordano could not extend their half time
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lead, turning round just a point ahead at 7-6.
The high ball again proved costly for the visitors, conceding an early second-half try, when Reds recovered their own kick to go over in the corner.
Gordano's Mike Bell was introduced, and soon made an impact. Receiving the final pass of a flowing attack, he scored out wide, and then converted his own try from the touchline.
Reds kept themselves in the hunt with an unconverted try, but the fitness of the league champions showed with two late scores.
Good breaks from Alex Underwood and Tim Statton took play deep into the Reds' half. From a resulting five-metre scrum, Gordano powered towards the line, allowing Marcus Stratton to pick up and power over.
The Sharks pack performed well in the set pieces, taking four scrums against the head. The back row, with Drongo Yandell in his last league game before a spell in Australia, secured more than their share of loose ball.
Reds pushed hard for another score but the back line double tackled anything that moved.
Dan Martin ended any hopes of a late Reds comeback, intercepting a pass just inside the Reds half, and showing a good turn of speed to claim the last five points.
This win hands Imperial the second promotion spot, ahead of their clash with Reds next week.
Aaron French won the Black Horse man of the match award, with his outstanding all-round game.
Next Saturday sees the season's finale, the annual Unders v Overs match, 2.30pm kick-off.