The last weekend saw some great rugby being played at the Premiership level which began with a pulsating match of the round on Friday night where the Wanderers met Bucks at YCK Stadium. Weather and field conditions were perfect for the game, and the pitch was looking usually pristine after the Christmas break. Bucks have had an inconsistent season to date with a mixed bag of results so far and came into this game fresh from a 3 weeks break. Wanderers had the opportunity to blow off some cobwebs and Christmas ham the week before and looked prime to maintain their unbeaten run.
Wanderers started off strongly with a dominant scrummaging performance, but were kept pinned down in their half with some great tactical kicking from the Bucks backline. A great catch and drive from a lineout saw the Bucks forwards rumble over to score on the 20 minute mark and saw Bucks lead 10 – 0 at that stage. That seemed to spur Wanderers on, and 10 minutes later found themselves back in opposition territory and some great interplay between the forwards and the backs saw a score in the corner to narrow the gap as both teams headed into the sheds. The Wanderers pack, led by David Gull and Murray Campbell started to dominate the forward battle and scored just after play resumed from a rolling maul of their own. That evened up the score and the battle of attrition continued. The Bucks backline led by Johnny Barber and Charlie Lambert were able to break through when given the ball, but supply was not constant with the Wanderers pack present. Another clinical line out take and drive set the platform for the Wanderers backs to show their stuff and Tom Child scored in the corner to gain the lead for the first time in the game. Lambert was forced off the field in the middle of the half, but that did not seem to deter Bucks, who audaciously started a move in their own 22 that led to a brilliant score to once again gain the lead. It was a brilliant move that seemed to echo the Wanderer’s earlier score, with forwards and backs interplay and Barber at the core of that move. The game seemed to be one long chess game, and as the time ticked away, it did look as if Bucks would come away with a famous win. Great defence from Bucks seemed to cement that notion, but a lapse in focus saw them concede a penalty within range and the converted penalty almost at the death resulted in a collective sigh of relief being heard around YCK Stadium. It was indeed fitting of the match of the round, with great tries and flowing rugby. In the end, Wanderers held on to the thinnest of wins, 18 – 17 and their run continues.
Saturday saw one Premiership game being played on the equally immaculate Padang, and an earlier passing shower resulted in another perfect afternoon for rugby. SCC 1sts hosted Saints RFC at home, with both teams well rested after the Christmas break. The teams played each other to open the season and it was a close encounter then, with Saints RFC actually leading the game at the half then. The return fixture was a different affair as the SCC 1sts certainly looking fitter and leaner despite the Christmas Turkey season. It took them 10 minutes to open accounts from a trademark Dom Morrison forward run. SCC’s Taylor Haynes was featuring in the centres and his speed in attack and defence caused trouble for National 7s squad members Tee Liang Sheng and Maurice Wong. Saints did get their defence together and had some spattering of possession to launch attacks and young winger Tim Pan combined well with Jay Heikel to break the line. SCC’s speed around the rucks and hard hitting game was matched by some stout defence, but the half ended with SCC up by 4 tries. The second half saw some resolute defending continue from Saints, with the backrow in particular putting increased pressure at the breakdown. SCC were rolling on though, and a brace of scores seemed to close out the game. Saints were not done yet though, and a great steal at the breakdown and reading of the game from Tim Pan led to a break with Kelvin Yau scoring. That closed the game out at 43 -5 to SCC 1sts.
SCC are certainly looking set for this weekend’s top of the table matchup against Wanderers, with only 3 games left in the season this game will be crucial for both teams. This is the first time this season both sides will face each other with their earlier matchup postponed so it will be an interesting one to watch on the Padang.
Premiership Fixtures: http://www.singaporerugby.com/calendar/2017-premiership-fixtures/
Championship Fixtures: http://www.singaporerugby.com/calendar/2017-championship-fixtures/
Womens League Fixtures: http://www.singaporerugby.com/calendar/2017-womens-fixtures/
WEEK 7 RESULTS
Wanderers RFC 18:17 Bucks RFC
SCC 43:5 Saints RFC
Bucks 2nd 17:6 Wanderers 3rd
Oldham Blue 26:31 Bedok Kings 2nd
Blacks RFC 0:20 SCC Tankards
SCC Lions 48:0 Saints 2nd
Skyllas 2 10:22 NTU
Skyllas 1 12:20 Blacks
NTU 5:7 Bucks