Ark­low lose their way af­ter su­per open­ing

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -


IN the early stages of this first fix­ture of the New Year, Ark­low promised much, and for 20 min­utes de­liv­ered a su­perb per­for­mance.

Ark­low scored a penalty from the con­stant pres­sure they were ap­ply­ing to Edenderry. The vis­i­tors were win­ning all pos­ses­sion from their own scrums and from the home side scrum.

Ark­low were win­ning penal­ties and one of these was kicked to the Edenderry cor­ner flag. Even­tu­ally Ark­low had a five-me­ter scrum and were awarded a penalty try one of many that they have won this sea­son.

Seven added points and Ark­low were on song, ten points to the good and 20 min­utes gone. Now as if by telepa­thy all the Ark­low team de­cided that this game was a for­mal­ity and did not re­quire max­i­mum ef­fort to win.

Ark­low’s pas­sion and con­cen­tra­tion waned vis­i­bly, and the home side came more and more into the game play­ing to a sim­ple but ag­gres­sive game plan.

Edenderry af­ter a long time got them­selves a penalty in front of the posts which was eas­ily con­verted. This seemed to en­er­gise the home team and within a few more min­utes added a try which was not con­verted.

But the home sides now had the taste for win­ning and were ea­ger to con­tinue with their game plan. With their backs and pack ev­ery ball was con­tested fiercely and Ark­low must have been dazed by the ruck­ing and maul­ing of their op­po­nents but reached half time ahead ten points to eight.

Ark­low need a good open­ing to the se­cond half to try and get a foothold in the game. Things went from bad to worse for Ark­low with poor pass­ing and gen­er­ally be­ing se­cond best at ruck and maul and open play.

Edenderry again ap­plied pres­sure on Ark­low whose ef­forts al­ways ended up with a penalty to the home side. The home side had learned the pre­dictabil­ity of the Ark­low play and waited for the right mo­ment to tackle and then con­test ag­gres­sively for the ball.

Ark­low didn’t have enough vari­a­tion or sur­prises in their game plan. Then the Co. Wick­low side’s dis­ci­pline im­ploded giv­ing the home side four kick­able shots on goal all of these penal­ties were all within Ark­low’s 22-me­ter area so were not too dif­fi­cult.

Due to an un­for­tu­nate ac­ci­dent the game had to be moved to an­other pitch dur­ing the se­cond half. Ark­low re­ceived two yel­low cards and one red plus a yel­low from the first half. By now the ref­eree had de­cided that Ark­low were con­tin­u­ously foul­ing and gave most de­ci­sions against Ark­low.

Ark­low never man­aged to score af­ter the first 20 min­utes. This is in­dica­tive of their style of play; it is too pre­dictable. Even­tu­ally this game fiz­zled out with Edenderry the league lead­ers win­ning 20 points to ten. Ark­low were play­ing for 40y min­utes of the 80 with 13 or 14 play­ers. This is not the kind of dis­ci­pline that wins games like these.

Ark­low started this game with all guns blaz­ing but for some un­known rea­son suf­fered a melt down af­ter the first quar­ter and there af­ter their ef­fort was never enough to win this game.

They won the first quar­ter but lost the next three quar­ters. An­other tough game is on the hori­zon next week with an away match to Athy. This game will be even tougher but sim­i­lar to to­day. Ark­low must roll up their col­lec­tive sleeves and play as they did to­day for the first 20 min­utes but for the whole game. It won’t be easy, but it is pos­si­ble to travel and win.

Ark­low RFC: 1. Ben Byrne Di­a­per, 2. Cathal Louth (C), 3. An­thony O’Don­nell, 4. Jack Joyce,

5. Joe Bul­mer, 6. John Fur­long,

8. Richard Mur­phy, 7. Tom Scarff,

10. Micheal O Scan­nail, 11. Paddy Phe­lan, 12. Joni But­ter­worth, 13. Paddy Ryan, 14. Tommy New, 15. Shane Nalty, 16. Eoin O Scan­nail,

17. John Louth, 18. Dean McCor­mac, 19. James Lam­bert, 20. Shane McAl­lis­ter.

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