Strong Defence won this
assisted by counter-attacks and line-out steals
Recently on Telly Jamie Oliver was persuading people of the advantage of free-range chicken over that raised in batteries. The Guildford fixture reminded me of this as the home team's game was all about battering the opposition and Barnes' was free-range. Guildford's Grunters tried to batter the opposition throughout the match and there were several injuries to each team. When the Grunters made mistakes the visitors freely ran off with the ball to score mostly at the posts. One could see how Guildford had beaten Guernsey, whose game is also essentially battery, and Westcliff home and away. Yet in recent games they have lost to three teams below them in the table and drawn with the one at the bottom of the table. Clearly their natural style works against some but not others. They worked hard at it and deserved their three tries in this match, while only one came from their battering tactics. In their previous game they were beaten 64 - 0 by Shelford; does that score have implications for other teams in the league including Barnes? Yet Shelford’s next game was back to average. Against Guildford, Barnes won because their defence was very good; it was supplemented by their ability to swiftly counter-attack and several line-out steals.
Barnes replied to the home team's shortish kick-off with an up-and-under; Guildford got the ball from that and then kept the visitors deep in their half for the next 11 minutes. A stolen line-out got Barnes out of their half then soon after another Guildford line-out Barnes forced a turnover. After two recycles, the first very wide, scrumhalf Franklin broke clear through then passed to wing Murray who made more yards before feeding no. 8 Hind who got over out wide and ran into the posts at 18 minutes. The fullback added.
From the restart the visitors were again kept within their half and Guildford had most of the possession for the next 6 minutes and got to their line-out 5 metres from the Barnes' line-out. They were forced back then turned over; they regained from an up-and-under then soon after lost possession in a tackle. Barnes then ran off with lock Cody-Owen feeding Franklin who also came in to touch down behind the posts at 28 minutes. Wicks added again.
After the second restart and two kicks Barnes defended their line-out 26 metres from their line. This resulted in a scrum for their opponents nearby; from it Guildford had the ball for 6 phases without advance before the defence forced an error to get their put-in. From that the visitors kicked out on the full giving Guildford a line-out not far outside the 22. From that they broke blind before being forced into touch 17 metres out. Barnes, without their hooker who had had to go off injured, threw the line-out too long and Guildford got the ball and advanced to 6 metres out. They recycled three times to put their big fly-half Fee over at 34 minutes. Fullback Hooper converted.
The home team cleared the restart to touch 2 minutes past halfway; Barnes line-out was thrown not-straight giving the opposition a scrum. After it and their scrumhalf having been caught behind it they recycled and kicked ahead. The visitors cleared to touch 14 metres from halfway. This line-out was stolen but Barnes were soon turned over. Guildford went wide then recycled 4 times then advanced into the 22 where they recycled once more, wide and blind, before being forced into touch 6 metres out. After their line-out the visitors first kept the ball in then put it into touch for the halftime whistle. There were more than 12 minutes of injury time in the half.
Barnes 2nd half kick-off was followed by six more kicks with little retention in between, with the play in the visitors' half. After those Barnes put together a handful of phases then broke out to the other half. Guildford got back and regained possession then had to clear to touch 17 metres from their line. From the line-out Barnes put together 10 phases to get to the line where being held up over they got a 5 metre scrum. From it they went wide and recycled 4 times, the last one wide to fullback O'Toole. He put wing Martey through a hole and followed up to take a return pass and touch down half way out at 10 minutes. Wicks added.
After the visitors kicked back the restart Guildford regained an up-and-under and advanced with 2 phases to get a scrum 10 metres into the opposition half. Under pressure in that Barnes were penalised and the home team kicked for a line-out 29 metres from the opposition line. That was stolen and Guildford intercepted the first pass but were offside. The next kick took the visitors to 5 metres past halfway where their line-out was thrown not-straight. Again the home team got a penalty in the scrum when pushing their opponents back a couple of metres. They ran this one and got another when the visitors had not retreated. This time they kicked for a line-out 13 metres out and had that stolen. The clearance gave Guilford another line-out 17 metres from halfway. Next they set up a good driving maul and advanced into the 22. Then breaking off and recycling once they got another penalty 12 metres out where they chose to have another scrum. The defending scrum held and Guildford released wide then put together 10 good close phases then recycled wide. Barnes forced an error and got the loose ball; wing Murray sent outside centre Cornish off to the posts after the end of the third quarter. Wicks made the score 7 - 28.
The visitors cleared the restart to touch near halfway; Guildford threw the line-out too long and Barnes got the ball. They advanced with 4 close phases then went wide to break through. After recycling once in the 22 they dropped the ball in a tackle giving the home team a scrum 11 metres from their line. The Ref. went back to penalise Barnes after they were pushed back and Guildford had broken off and recycled wide once. The kick took the home team to 3 metres from halfway; they got a free-kick at the line-out. They ran that and got another penalty and a man advantage for 10 minutes 14 metres into the other half. The kick took them to 17 metres out and from their line-out tapped ball, one pass and one recycle sent flanker Millward to the posts after 25 minutes. Hooper added.
Guilford replied to the restart with an up-and-under; the visitors put together 8 good phases advancing strongly then chipping over into the 22 where a defender caught and marked. Barnes offended their and were penalised. Guildford ran the ball and recycled wide. Another penalty for not 10 metres was kicked for a line-out 16 metres from halfway. The ball was kept in from that and they got a third for a deliberate knock-down. The kick only took them to halfway where their line-out was stolen. The visitors recycled 3 time then kicked to touch in the opposition 22. Guildford took a quick line-out and another infringement gave them a free-kick 5 metres out. They cleared to touch 15 metres from halfway. From their line-out Barnes kept the ball in and advanced to get a penalty 28 metres out. The kick for the 3 points missed. They ran back the long 22 drop-out, recycled twice then kicked to a wing. Guildford got the ball then the visitors forced an error to get it back. The recycled one then chipped laterally and recycled once, passed then recycled wide to advance further. Guildford now lost a man for 10 minutes, this 6 metres out; Barnes forwards ran the ball and recycled close three times then once more to Wicks who chipped through the defence with Cornish on his shoulder. The latter went through to touch down near the posts at 32 minutes. The former added.
The restart resulted in a penalty for the home team and they kicked for a line-out 12 metres from the opposition line. Their pack set for a drive and advanced to get another penalty 5 metres out which they ran. After 4 recycles Barnes held up a ball carrier to get a scrum 12 metres out. From that they went wide then an error gave possession back to Guildford who ran to go over wide out at 37 minutes. The conversion missed.
Guildford secured the long restart and recycled 8 times before losing possession. Barnes got the ball and Martey ran off with it to the posts. The fly-half added before the final whistle.
Sunny, 50% blue sky, dry, cool mostly but at times warmer; some wind mostly across the fairly good pitch.