Karlstad V Göteborg
Saturday saw the sun shine after nearly a week of torrential rain. The pitch was still in immaculate condition as we now benefit firmly from being the only active club on the grass.
Gothenburg like us travel with a lot less players than at home, but still came with a full team and a couple of subs and were gracious in coming early in order to facilitate watching the world cup and also Olof was fantastic in agreeing to come earlier to ref the game
Prior to kick off there was very little focus on the 10 point difference the focus was on fielding a team that could compensate for some player losses, we knew Andy was going to be missing but another big loss closing in on game day was losing a fit Eric Ceder to personal reasons. A guy who has been pivotal to our success this season
We were spoiled for choice front row with 4 viable props and not many clubs at this level have such a luxury. But all in all with Jamie coming back from holidays and replacing Eric at scrum half we fielded a pretty decent side and a side we felt confident of winning the game with.
We started sharply and put Gothenburg on the backfoot but Gothenburg even if they are short on numbers no how to play ball and are never a team associated with shirking their responsibilities, you also know they will put up a real battle in the first 8.
In the opening exchanges we were definitely the more effective at scrum time but we weren’t settled and were playing some silly balls and not taking control of the game
We then slipped off the wheel even further and lost our momentum this wasn’t helped with a sinbin to surprisingly Anthon but no complaints ref was right. But unfortunately for us we not only conceded 3 trys in a short space of time we also managed to lose Jamie to another sinbin, again Jamie has no complaints he lost the head and the only tiny black mark on an all-round fantastic game for a guy who was just back from holidays at 3 am and suffering the flu.
Gothenburg also were gifted a try during this period when their player blatantly knocked forward and as we stood still a Gothenburg player proceeded to gather the knocked on ball and trot over the line this injustice would be is some ways rectified later as our final try was potentially contentious as the Gothenburg linesman felt the ball was lost on the way to ground, swings and roundabouts it’s not easy be a ref out there alone and considering the linesmen are usually reserve players or partisan so probably more consumed watching their own team then the game as a whole.
So from the side-line we were trailing 21-5 (Jamie scored )at home to a team who travelled with the bare 16 and one got the feeling the sizeable home crowd was maybe starting to drift to the gates or at least head to the café for some refreshment. We had a sinbin which finished just after half time and we actually managed to claw a try back with 13 against 15. Then Gothenburg finally got punished for collapsing the maul and one could argue a long overdue yellow but again taken with good grace we were 14 a side at this point and our sinbin would be over while they had 6 mins left on theirs.
We capitalised during this period and put Gothenburg under constant pressure and the crowd could feel a comeback on the cards, we crossed the line via tjakko and big Björn restored my faith in humanity by crossing the line for his first ever try. I will take a moment to heap some praise on this guy, björn came here about 4 years ago as a guy who had lost interest in sport put his name forward to one of the most fierce positions on the pitch took every bit of advice Eamonn and other coaches gave him without question and worked tirelessly to improve, he never complains, never bitches and will never be heard to say a bad word about anyone, a pure and proper rugby player something for us all to emulate. Maka sealed the kicks and we found ourselves at 19-21 with about ten on the clock then of course the talk of the ten point margin seeped in, I personally felt this effected our good work as many a player got white line fever and some obvious offloads and easy passes were ignored in pursuit of crossing the line. We camped in their 22 for a while and some substitutions were made to cover some tired legs, Sven replaced Anthony and was not fully in the game to capitalise on space left open by an inexperienced winger and then 2 minutes later was robbed on a horrible highball that refused to come down. We battled on but still we failed to capitalise on the space with experienced heads choosing to try beat all comers instead of feeding the easy ball to our backs who supported tirelessly. We got a penalty and Maka duly dispatched putting the score at 22-21 in our favour with 7 minutes on the clock. We then kept the ball with the forwards and were held at bay by excellent committed defence by Gothenburg but eventually we crossed the line in the corner through Ragges endeavour). We didn’t make the kick and spend the last 3 minutes pressing for the line to get us the other score and ensure we won the game over the two legs but alas it wasn’t to be and the score finished 27-21 to us.
From a neutral perspective and a club perspective a great home win against a quality opposition and we would take it any day of the week, so heads weren’t too down for the after game festivities but all in all we have a had a season of very decent rugby with only one home game falling far below our standards and that was the first leg against exiles.
The season ended as well Saturday and I suppose a lot of our older players will take a wee break before seeing where they are at for next season. I will write a season review in the coming weeks but it’s been a good season the hard work of the last few years coming to fruition with some extra effort this year and some quality new additions giving us stronger line ups and a better standard of rugby, but especially in the context of how match day preparations bit for on the field and off field are no longer the duties of one or two individuals has been better and better and something that will remain a constant going forward. But alas we still had the same issues post summer of scraping a team for away games and poor turnouts for training and of course the odd bit of drama to keep me on my toes. Big thank you to the Orebro crew for ensuring we field a team most weeks and your constant commitment doesn’t go unnoticed, a thanks to the coaching team (including Eamonn who had to leave for personal reasons) and of course to the players for their commitment and last but not least to the supporters who come hail rain or snow to watch us battle it out at Orrholmen IP