Saturday 2 March 2019
A feisty derby on the first league game of the season between two teams packed with new players didn’t disappoint the watching fans.
The home fans were a little apprehensive before the game due to Blackbrook’s impressive performance in the cup at Siddall last week having had a disrupted pre-season with no warm up matches to prepare them but right from the off they powered into a fast and furious start getting into the faces of Blackbrook who looked more structured and better set up but were put under pressure early on and the impressive Josh Ainsworth forced his way over for a try on 10 minutes to give finch the lead.
The more polished Brook struggled to hold Finch who were a lot more rough around the edges but lacked a little in execution. They will improve after this opener when they get to know each other a little better.
The conversion was missed and Brook hit back after 16 minutes with a try from Dan Parkes. Aaron Hewitt who had an assured game added the extra’s.
Blackbrook started to get a foothold in the game with experienced hooker Ian Honey pulling the strings and winger Matty Johnston went in at the corner after a fine move to push Brook out to a 10-4 lead midway through the first half. Alex Johnson replied before half time for Finch with a try in the corner to make it 8-10 but again the conversion was missed giving Blackbrook a 2 point advantage at half time.
The game was in the balance and a mention must go to referee Gareth Palmer who without the assistance of linesmen kept the game under control. He must have been doing something right because both sets of supporters complained equally about him.
With the skies getting darker the second half got off to a fine start with a huge prop Highcock powering over from a short ball to give Finch the lead 12-10. Sadly Finch were unable to convert and hopefully kicking will not be a problem for them this season. Blackbrook whilst still looking organised and composed were clearly rattled at this point and coach Ant Walker looked decidedly unhappy on the touchlines.
Finch however at this point were getting on top to be fair to them with Ainsworth, Highcock and Morris all having influential games. Hudson was grafting away keeping Finch in the game although it seemed that Blackbrooks better preparation and fitness was slowly beginning to have an effect on the game.
Tries from Aaron Hewitt and Lewis Martin either side of a 20 man shemozzle in the middle of the pitch put Blackbrook back into the lead before Finch hit back with an excellent try from the impressive Morris following a great inside pass that flatfooted the Brook Defence. Ainsworth goaled to make it 18 points to 20 half way through the second half.
With a couple of players in the sin bin following the handbags perhaps the turning point of the game came from the kick off when Finch fumbled the ball and Parkes picked up the loose ball to feed Bobby Williams to extend the lead. Hewitt added the extra’s and Blackbrook edged out to 26-18.
Jordan Darwin the Blackbrook full back got himself on the end of a flowing move to score under the sticks 5 minutes from time and Hewitt completed the scoring from in front of the posts.
Fitness and preparation proved the game breaker in the end for the Royals with some noteable performances from Liam Jones, Ian Honey and Aaron Hewitt. Mike Wynn looked promising at 7 for Brook and with half back partner Dan Parkes they have the makings of a fine pairing.
Not all doom and gloom for Finch who performed well and competed for an hour before running out of steam towards the end.
Ant Walker was a little disappointed with his sides execution after a terrific performance against Siddall but was not shy in giving credit to Haresfinch who made it difficult for Blackbrook and will be better for the run out but will need to get their kicking sorted as that would have kept them in the game in this fierce local derby.