Barnes' defence stronger than Guernsey's in key game
Barnes deserved their 16 point lead achieved early in the second half, after also having scored early in the first, and until then were able to play mostly in the opposition half.
Guernsey’s change of tactics in the second half gave them dominance in possession and territory but wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit, although Barnes’ response to the opposition’s 4th try was crucial.
Barnes failed to deal with the kick-off and Guernsey regained the bouncing ball. They varied their recycling through 5 phases before chipping through the defensive line in the 22 to get their line-out 5 metres out. From that their pack drove to the line but failed to score. The defence got the first scrum put-in, again 5 metres out, then a penalty at that. This was kicked to touch just outside their 22 and from the line-out Barnes' pack started a rolling maul then broke blind, gaining much ground. After two recycles they Ref. went back to award a penalty at the opposition 10 metre line. This was put in to touch 13 metres out and another drive was started after the line-out. It broke up 3 metres out and then the ball was recycled tight twice before being released to the three-quarters with fullback Clark coming into the line to go over not far from the posts at 6 minutes. He added.
Barnes secured the restart and got a third penalty immediately after. The kick took them just inside the other half. The ball was released to centre from the line-out. After a couple of recycles Guernsey forced a turnover then kicked not far to touch into the opposition half. They got the over-long thrown ball and put together an excellent sequence of 13 phases before an isolated forward was turned over in the defence's 22. Barnes ran the ball out of their 22 then kicks were exchanged to the home team's advantage. Barnes kicked over the line then forced an error to get a scrum at halfway and a free-kick at that. They ran this and fly-half Wicks put centre Hersey through and he got a good pass away; the ball was recycled a couple of times before the defence forced an error 5 metres out. Guernsey cleared to touch after the scrum still inside their 22. From this line-out Barnes immediately went wide but were turned over. The ball was cleared to touch at the 22. The line-out ball wasn't secured and the visitors got a scrum there. Soon after they kicked out on the full giving the opposition another line-out, just outside of the 22.
Guernsey won another turnover soon after the throw and kicked ahead. Barnes dealt with this and got a penalty at the next breakdown and this was kicked for another line-out close to where the previous 3 had been. This one was thrown not-straight. From the scrum Guernsey advanced to their 10 metre line where the defence forced an error. Pressure at the scrum gained the visitors a penalty that they kicked to touch 27 metres from the opposition line. From their line-out Guernsey at first kept the ball close then released for a half-break to be made a centre. There were 9 recycles without much advance before the defence forced an error to get a put-in just inside their 22. After a no. 8 pick-up the opposition were penalised and the kick took Barnes just into the other half. The visitors stole the line-out but immediately lost the ball into touch 7 metres inside their half. From this line-out Barnes released to centre then recycled 7 times before being turned over. Guernsey kicked ahead then Barnes ran the ball with the second pass going to no one and into touch 17 metres into their own half. From their line-out Guernsey set up a drive and got a penalty 26 metres out. They kicked for a line-out 10 metres out and set up another drive. When this broke up they went blind and no. 8 Barton touched down at the corner at the half hour. The conversion was wide.
The visitors secured the restart and kicked for territory; Barnes ran the ball back to get a penalty at the next breakdown. They ran this and were soon intercepted at the opposition 22 but Guernsey were penalised just after getting out of their 22. They also lost a man for 10 minutes; Barnes chose to go for the points but missed. The visitors kicked the 22 drop-out long; Barnes kicked back then Guernsey's backs ran the ball and made a break at inside centre before kicking again. Barnes dealt with this and wing Wilde and centre Jones ran back strongly to put the visitors on the back foot again. The defence got the next put-in in their 22. Guernsey tried an up-and-under after recycling twice after their scrum. This resulted in a their getting a penalty plus 10 more metres then their kick took them to an attacking line-out 15 metres out. At first the pack kept ball tight but it was dropped when released to centre after no advance. From their scrum Barnes released to centre then kicked high after recycling. They quickly forced a turnover and sent the ball wide, breaking through all the way into the opposition 22. The ball was recycled blind then to lock Collins; a defender came out of the line and Collins went towards the gap then through to score near the posts at 39 minutes. Clark added. Barnes kicked back the restart; the visitors ran the ball recycling well before kicking towards their opponents' line. The defence touched down just before the halftime whistle.
The second half restart was long; the visitors ran out of their 22 before an error gave the opposition a scrum 11 metres inside Guernsey's half. Pressure at that got the visitors another put-in at about the same place. After that scrum they recycled 4 times without advancing before the opposition forced an error to get another scrum then a free-kick at that. The forwards ran this then a recycle and an offload that was released wide to Hersey helped lock Williams to make yards. The ball was recycled wide again for Clark to get his second not far from the corner after 4 minutes. He added again. After the long restart Barnes had a kick half charged down but they got a line-out 14 metres out and after keeping the ball tight cleared to touch 9 metres from halfway. From that far out their pack started a rolling maul and made good yards before letting the ball out but still kept close. They advanced to the line to get a 5 metre scrum and soon after that the defence was penalised. Guernsey were restored to 15 men and chose another scrum then recycled tight 5 times before releasing wide. The ball went swiftly through the hands advancing towards the corner for wing Taylor to score at 14 minutes. The conversion was wide.
The restart was invalid giving the visitors a scrum back and from it they used wide ball again and got a penalty 12 metres into the opposition half that they kicked, not far, for a line-out 21 metres out. Their pack set for a drive and got a penalty 12 metres out which they ran; the defence held to get a scrum 5 metres out from which Wicks cleared to touch 29 metres out. Guernsey tried wider ball this time then recycled 10 times to get to the line but held up. An error at their scrum gave the defence a put-in but Barnes were penalised at that. This time Guernsey opted for a line-out after which the opposition lost a man for 10 minutes then after a second line-out the pack rumbled over from it at 27 minutes with flanker Le Cocq on the ball. The conversion missed. The visitors secured the high and long restart but were penalised right after. This at their 22 in centre field and Clark kicked the points. Guernsey regained their restart but were soon turned over; Barnes kicked out on the full giving the opposition a line-out just outside the 22. From that they varied their recycling before being forced into touch 5 metres out. They stole the line-out then quickly released wide for a three-quarter try almost identical to their 2nd one, creating a man over at the corner. This was touched down by centre McDougall at 32 minutes and a very good conversion from Whitehead followed reducing the deficit to 2 points.
Guernsey secured the high restart and soon got ball wide to McDougall who made yards before kicking ahead. A defender was caught in possession at the goal line giving the attack a 5 metre put-in. Again Guernsey went wide but the defence held and got the next line-out 5 metres out and were restored to 15 men. After the line-out Barnes' pack kept the ball in a drive then the visitors were penalised. This was kicked for another line-out near halfway and again a rolling maul was used then the ball was chipped over for wing Lewis to run onto. The defence got a line-out 15 metres out but threw it not-straight. Barnes chose another line-out and started a rolling maul from it. After advancing, nearly breaking up but going again the Ref. gave a penalty try with 4 minutes to go and Clark added. The visitors again regained their restart and sent ball wide but soon passed forward. From the scrum Barnes kicked for territory. Guernsey ran the ball wide and after 4 recycles were awarded a penalty 5 metres into the opposition half in centre field then the opposition were sent 10 metres further back and the decision was made to go for the 3 points in order to secure an additional losing bonus point. Whitehead's kick hit a post and stayed out. The ball was put into touch for the final whistle.