Firsts lose out after poor opening

Firsts lose out after poor opening

By Alex McIntosh
25th May 2014
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A deflated first half performance from the Dragons's 1sts gifted Mississauga 19 points, with a second half comeback not enough as they go down 35-26.


Having ran well in training the week prior, with all starting XV players in attendance, this should have been the game that kickstarted the season. Englishman Ryan Drage joined youngster Rich Lynch alongside Jim Quattrociocchi in the front row, with David Baillie in the back row together with Irish duo Cian Kerley and captain Jay O'Callaghan. In the backs, Nick Hails was paired with new boy Alex Godsmark at half-back, with veterans Donny Mac and Orlando Jones in the centres. Denzel Brown was also making his 1st team debut on the wing.

The game started well for the Dragons, with Ryan Drage making inroads through some hard running, but a lack of composure meant they rarely got close to the Blues 22. Mississauga quickly began to take charge, with their talented back line causing the Dragons' defence problems out wide. It was from a long, rangy break that they got the opening try, as from the resulting breakdown their scrum-half saw space down the blind-side before feeding his flanker who ran in from close range.

The Dragons were luckily not to concede further points sooner after when a penalty attempt was missed, but the Blues quickly made them pay for another mistake, after panic in midfield resulted in a well taken interception try to make it 14-0 inside the first twenty minutes.

By now the Blues had control of the game, with the forwards providing a decent platform for their backs to continually pose a threat. The Dragons were able to hold out until close to half time, when the Blues ran through several phases of play before feeding the ball wide to the right for their winger to touch down. Half time score 21-0.

After several weeks of waiting to play their first home league game this should have been a mental no-brainer for the Dragons's 1sts. But heads weren't clearly in the game, and skipper O'Callaghan called for them to come out fighting in the second forty minutes. They answered with gusto. Replacement No.8 Elliott Taylor led the way with some fierce running, which opened up a gap for Nick Hails to scampered through, beating the cover defence to score beneath the posts.

Not long after the restart, yet another drive into the Blues 22 allowed Taylor to pile over for the Dragons second try, and when Alex Godsmark beat his opposing number and rounded the defence to make it 21-19 after less than 15 minutes in, it looked like the Dragons would storm away with the win.

But it was not to be. The Blues hit back, first through a try from the fullback after turning the ball over in mid-field, and then again through their outside centre after outflanking the Dragon's defence. With the conversions, this stretched the lead to 35-15. This again took the wind from the Dragons' sails, but they stuck to the task and with less than 10 minutes to go, an attacking error by Mississauga allowed replacement wing Kenny Walker to hack the ball downfield, before being tackled without the ball as the line beckoned leading to a penalty try.

This wasn't enough to swing the momentum back in their favour however, as the game petered out, leaving the Dragons down 35-26 at the final whistle. The Blues were deserved winners on the day, and could have possibly put more points on the board had it not been for the Dragon's early second half turnaround. The home side left the field knowing they have homework to do in midweek to turn thing around for the next game against the Saracens.

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