Southend in the deep end
What if the conditions had been firm and dry?
The first try was scored within 90 seconds of Southend's kick-off; it came from a charged down up-and-under just inside the visitors’ 22 then a break at centre. The second came after 6 minutes from a penalty then a line-out and drive. The third followed from a penalty at a dropped up-and-under, then from the line-out a lateral kick to the wing at 9 minutes. Next at 14 minutes Barnes' backs ran from a quickly taken line-out and the outside centre passed the ball. After that there was a long period of stalemate then the fullback got bored with being left out of things and after one go at deceiving the opposition followed by 4 recycles he escaped several defenders to sneak through to the posts after 26 minutes.
After the restart Barnes regained an up-and-under and attacked well again before being penalised for not releasing 5 metres out. Another attack was started by the same wing then recycled over but adjudged held-up. From the scrum the pack drove over before the half hour. The next started with running a penalty at the visitors’ 10 metre line; after several passes a second row touched down not far from the posts after 35 minutes. Barnes ran the restart laterally and were soon penalised for not releasing 2 metres inside their half. Southend kicked for a line-out at the 22 after which Barnes got loose ball and kicked ahead. The ball was hacked on and regained for a try by the other wing wide-out after 33 minutes. A very good conversion followed (there had been other easier conversions and two misses). Barnes threw an attacking line-out not-straight before halftime.
Early in the second half the visitors recovered from having a kick charged down then Barnes forced an error to get a scrum put-in just inside the opposition 22. From that they attacked at centre to get a penalty 13 metres out. They chose a scrum from which the no. 8 picked up and sold a dummy before going to the posts after 2 minutes. After the next restart Southend got an attack going with some good retention and recycling then the no. 8 intercepted and ran near 80 minutes to touch down after 8 minutes. Next, following errors by both teams Barnes had to work hard with some recycling and retention before getting to their line-out 12 metres out. From that a chip over to the line was overrun by a replacement three-quarter who had to turn round and touch down after 14 minutes.
After the following restart and some kicks Barnes were intercepted while attacking; Southend recycled 4 times before an error was forced. From the scrum 30 metres out a well-timed pass from the fullback, having moved up to replace the injured fly-half, sent the left wing away on a deceptive run for this third before 18 minutes. Next the visitors got a good attack going until turned over in the opposition 22. A line-out was stolen and Barnes next try came from 10 phases with the inside centre finishing wide-out at the start of the final quarter. After another restart and several errors, with Southend having an equal share of possession, another error gave Barnes the ball and a diagonal kick was regained and the left wing sent the outside centre to the posts after the half hour. Within 75 seconds of that try there was another at the posts.
An error after the restart gave the visitors a scrum 14 metres into the opposition half. After two phases Barnes forced an error and kicked to the other half. Southend ran the ball but only to a scrum for Barnes 11 metres from halfway. After that a poor pass gave Southend a put-in near halfway. This was soon followed by another a couple of metres back. Next a Barnes' line-out near halfway was stolen then after a couple of errors Barnes were penalised for not releasing near halfway. Southend ran the ball and recycled three times before chipping over; Barnes were forced into touch 12 metres out. From the line-out the visitors advanced with 4 close phases and lock Maggiolo got over in the final minute near the posts. Fullback Barton added.
Light rain or drizzle for most of the game, totally overcast; the pitch soft.