Match Report Baa Baas V KRK 23rd Aug –
Karlstad Win 15-24 in Stockholm-
Some may detract from the victory with statements akin to it was their second team and so on, but to paint a picture, Baa Baas are potentially one of the top 5 teams in the entire country but are not entitled to play premier division as a second string outfit. Add to the fact we are a regional team with a lucky partnership with Orebro allowing us just enough players to put a half decent squad together and the reality is it’s an ageing squad. One more point at the second tier level this team has gone 3 years undefeated, even including current premiership opposition. So this was a major scalp for a club like us made all the more impressive by the fact they handed us our arses the week previous on our own home turf. Add to this on game day we lost tervell to a bad back and travelled with 16 players
We took the game to them from the start and they were slow to start but this is not uncommon Baa Baas rarely start well against us but tend to find their feet around the 20 mark as we are searching for second wind from our first intense pressure. We got a kickable penalty during the first phase of the game and Eric Ceder slotted home with ease the first of his 9 point tally for the day. The game was pretty sloppy after this, lots of basic errors from both sides our lineout was poor and we conceded possession on two of our throws and the scrums were pretty evenly matched but still there was no real sign of a try or anything to ignite the game. At about the 15’ mark exiles number 4 was carded for taking a man out without the ball and as we were so evenly matched there was an expectancy for us to kick on and use the extra man advantage but exiles regrouped well and held us at bay we got some reward by forcing a penalty but a little wider out and Eric just missed. Our pack was putting in a real shift at this point with Alex, Andrew and Micke blom putting in some sterling tackles but we were holding them at bay as opposed to playing. We did have some decent spells but we didn’t put any points on the board and their sinbin ended with the score still 0-3.
As they say there is a price to pay for not using the advantage and it wasn’t many minutes later that exiles found a gap through our otherwise superb defence and crossed the line but they missed the kick from wide. The score stood at 5-3 at this point. This began our poorest period of the game and we got sloppy focusing on decisions and other peripheries and losing site of the task at hand. So no surprise we were duly punished again and exiles crossed the line but were to rue missing such a kickable conversion chance. 3-10. Memories of the previous week were fresh and although I felt we were so solid that we wouldn’t capitulate a little bit thought it was possible. From the kick off we closed them down and from here set a marker about the scale of pressure we were going to put on them when they had ball in hand. Tackle after tackle, from 1-15 every man stood tall and our just reward for this pressure was forcing exiles into regular basic errors. We turned the ball over and some excellent pack work created space and our new flying Dutchman Tjakko Bruer cut a beautiful line to go over for his first try. Eric duly dispatched a front and centre kick 10-10 and this was the score going to the second half
A good discussion at half time and the vibe was they were there for the taking but everyone would have to put in the biggest shift they could muster as with Tobbe Johansson out for the game we had no subs. So the message was suck it up and unless something falls off you are expected to stay on the pitch. We started on the back foot, but again our defence was excellent no gaps no mistakes from 1-15 we put up a wall and they tried to force their way through switching pretty well from rolling mauls to decent backline play. But the first 20 minutes of the second half was uneventful in scoring context but if you are rugby man who likes to see some good defence then it was a pretty decent spectacle to watch the battle in the heat.
We did finally get some reward for our relentless pressure and some smart play led to our second try. The second try was a joy to behold, this try was not the product of our opponents mistakes or negligence it was simple the perfect combination of graft, timing, passing and running. Our forwards were driving and Andy picked and went on a direct line, Tjakko spotted the gap and came haring through broadcasting perfectly to Andy who popped a lovely ball to his onrushing hands. Nothing exiles could do about it, under the posts two handy points for Ceder and the score stood at 10-17 with 17 minutes on the clock. Our backline also began to throw some shapes and Kevin broke free but lost the ball backwards in the tackle but Anthon in true sniper fashion made an impossible angle to put the ball over the line. However after some discussion the try was not awarded. Possibly a deflating moment but the lads were having none of it and the last 17 minutes will live with me for a while as the passion, the tenacity, the drive and all the things you can expect/want from players was on display at a point where we are notoriously at our worst. Some dug very deep to find the gas to get them to 80 minutes They kicked off and the hits were coming thick and fast a few of our boys battle through some ferocious stuff but stayed on their feet to see out the game. A bit of another sloppy 10 minutes lay ahead with both exiles and us failing to find touch with clearance balls and through this we found our way to the line for the second time. This time some excellent hands and an overlap saw Anthony take the ball out wide and showed great nouse to keep going under the post to touch down. Eric Ceder obliged with two more from the tee. 10-24 with 7 mins left. Unbelievable tension at the sidelines can we keep it up some lads were needing direct oxygen they were so tired out there and within 2 minutes exiles broke our line, I won’t say sloppy, I won’t say silly I will say tired men make mistakes. Exiles failed to convert again and the score line stood at 15-24 and so it would remain as Karlstad saw out the last remaining tense minutes on the back foot but Exiles failed to find a way through. I jumped for joy I have been part of this club for a long time now as player, general dogsbody, kassör and now president and although the cup final of 2011 was immense it leaves a bitter taste as we had it for the taking. Yesterday was by far and away the most remarkable and memorable performance by this team all the more so for playing such a physical contest with the bare bones 15 man squad.
Some credit to the two young flankers and the scrumhalf at exiles all put in a real good shift and the defeat was handled with grace including a much appreciated kind word or two from Hunter Snr who took the time to congratulate the lads. One other word of praise must go to the lady who puts out the food at exiles, just unbelievably good stuff
Thanks to Kent for coming and filling many roles on the day and to the ref Jacob Bäverstam who had a decent game in the heat
It’s a long report but I want to mark the occasion by doing a piece per player because how do you name a man of the match on such a day.
- Björn Larsson: Björn is the silent assassin, a gentleman who just cracks on with his game without complaint or even a hint of dirt and it’s a commendable thing as his opponents still always rate him and he tirelessly worked yesterday doing his job and then some.
- Kjell Hope: Quality name, quality player. Kjell’s debut was top class, his throwing was as described by a man in the know at the side-line as, arrow straight and our jumping needed to match it. But his in game performance was superb making tackles, making runs and making a nuisance of himself for the opposition
- Martin Petersson: the elder statesman of the front row and he played the role with aplomb yesterday, he carried more than in recent years and was equally as effective going forward as in defence and our front row were exceptional as a unit at scrum time .
- Mattias “ragge” Karlsson: ragge was superb, tireless both in defence and going forward. Came in to his own as the first jumper in the second half claiming all our lineouts and some of theirs for good measure.
- Alex Durand: Our most outstanding player by a country mile last week was kept in good company this week as in the second 40 it looked like everyone was taking a claim for the title, so it goes to show the effort of the team that Alex was as excellent again this Saturday and the same pure nightmare for the opposition.
- Tobbe Johansson: Started at flanker usual stuff defying his years getting about the park like a teenager chasing skirt, but took a fierce hit from their winger who seemed unaware of the concept of using his hands to tackle and got a dead arm that put him out of the game he was replaced by Kevin Andersson
- Micke Blom: Another man in the frame of Björn Larsson just gets on with his game without fuss or complaint. He was excellent and still got to be one of our best tacklers whether we put him flanker, centre or wing adaptable and still not missed a single game for this club since arriving 5 years ago. Faultless game.
- Andrew Martin (capt), chief instagrammer Andy was due to start at flanker but moved to Number 8 as Tervell was unavailable. A decent first half was followed by a flawless second, made excellent direct lines turned over a few balls and filled the captains roll well, he was swift to remind me of the offload for the second try, credit where due it was tidy. Fine game all-round.
- Eric Ceder: the man was ridiculous yesterday, in the tackle, with ball in hand and from the boot. The lad got around more than a std on college campus. A class performance from start to finish and again his tackling is a joy to behold the phrase punching above his weight sprang to mind all day.
- Chris McIlgrew : Chris produced the goods yesterday, by doing the simple stuff right and its so effective at this level, calm and collected far outweighs throwing shapes. Chris also stepped up his defensive game yesterday making some very noteworthy tackles and some solid hands made for a fine performance.
- Robin Klemets: Started out on the wing but was moved to flanker within 16 minutes due to tobbes injury and he was excellent, robin has always been a strong tackler but the wing can soften even the best of us, he stepped up and was a rock in defence and his backline ball abilities shone through when he got space.
- Marcus Nyrén: the lad took more hits than Chris Browns girlfriends, but kept on trucking. On a water run he commented I think my nose is bust I can’t see up. I said vision is overrated. But again another consistent performance in defence showing 12 is where he belongs but his attacking game was superb nearly a guarantee of 10 metres gain when he got the ball in hand. A very impressive shift from a guy who will eventually be a KRK legend
- Anthon Johansson: Another of the Örebro famous 5 crew. I remember Anthon coming to play for us about 3 years back and playing against him before that with no offence intended it was handy days shift if he was on the wing. But never have I seen a guy improve at the scale Anthon has to now finally cementing himself as a real talented player and yesterday I can be damn sure it would never be an easy shift against this guy again, he has improved all aspects of his game, his running, his hands but yesterday I saw the next level of his defensive game when on numerous occasions he was in amongst the big boys and coming out on top. Top drawer stuff and long may he continue in the KRK colours
- Anthony De Kock: Anthony was beginning the wing after a summer of dropping kilos he is now finally a back and although he was unsteady in his new position he did eventually settle and made a good account of himself. He stuck at it the whole game and was constantly improving and when called upon he was there to take the ball over the line for the decisive 3rd try and have the wherewithal to use the space to make erics kick as easy as possible
- Tjakko Bruer: Carlsberg don’t do debuts but if they did…. I have been at sport for a long time and this club has welcomed many a self-confessed genius who turned out to be as handy as a bag of forks in a soup kitchen. So I have a new theory that the more humble a man is about his talents usually the more talented he is. That is the case here, a gentleman. A real bit of class and I can imagine the exiles defence will agree an absolute nightmare to mark as his runs are sharp and smart and very hard to counter act. Fantastic communication the whole game as well
- Kevin Anderson: what can I say, Kevs physique may not be becoming of a lad who can handle 80 minutes rugby (I say that very aware I have the frame of a man who got a lock in at willy wonkas chocolate factory for the last 5 years). But no one can doubt his willingness after the last two weeks. Involved in the disallowed try and some fine catches from high balls showing he has not lost his aussie rules touch.