Shottery 8 West Midlands Police 6
FOR the first time in years, the boys in blue took on the boys in blue in a floodlit encounter at Pearcecroft last Friday.
The police team set out their tactics in the opening play of the game when Shottery fly half Steffan Pandar was hit late after shipping the ball from the kick-off.
Shottery immediately went on the front foot, driving the ball deep into opposition territory, and a quick tap penalty was offloaded just short of the line to Rupert Ruffen who scored his first try for the club and the only try of the game.
Thereafter the game developed into a war of attrition and the soft pitch meant the usually dominant Shottery pack was unable to get sufficient grip in the scrum and any chance of clean ball in the loose was snuffed out by largely illegal means.
As tempers started to fray, Shottery skipper Eugene Hickey and police number 8 Andy Sweeney were shown the yellow card. Almost as soon as both teams were back to full strength, Pandar was also carded for two offences in as many minutes.
The second penalty gave Paul Rozza the chance to put three points on the board for the police team and it was 5-3 to Shottery at half time.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with neither side making any real progress, until the police centre Keith Holmes burst through the middle of the park.
It looked as through he was going to go the length of the pitch, until evergreen full back Stu Watson flew across the pitch, triggering several speed traps, to make a try-saving tackle.
Time and time again the police team killed the ball at the breakdown and eventually Shottery scrum half Mike Pyman saw red in his attempts to clear the offender out of the way and was sent to the stands.
The ensuing penalty in front of the posts was duly converted by Rozza to give the police side the lead with just seven minutes left.
Shottery, sensing they were being robbed of a game they deserved to win, dug deep and were finally able to put some phases of play together.
Andy Houghton took the ball on, ably supported by Harry Watts and Huw George and, with the police back line penalised for offside, Shottery had their chance.
Up stepped Jamie Randall who, undaunted by the wind and rain, slotted over the tricky kick to put Shottery back in front – a lead they were not going to relinquish.
Shottery skipper Hickey said: “It was tough out there. They literally threw everything at us, but we stayed strong and warranted the win.”
Shottery’s next outing is at Kenilworth on Saturday.