Having secured a last-minute losing bonus point away to Barnhall the previous week, a home win was expected against Wanderers in the second match of the campaign. Seapoint left it late however, and once again it was the last play of the game that resulted in a try for captain Liam Forster to secure a welcome home victory.
Seapoint started brightly and exerted all the pressure in the first 10 minutes. Wanderers conceded several penalties under pressure within their own 22. Seapoint had dominance in the scrum, and it was only a matter of time before they scored. The first score arrived from a scrum on the 22, a good pass from Brindley allowed Manning to attack the gain line and produce an incisive flat pass to Cassidy who bust through and scored under the posts. Brindley converted and the home side took 7 points to nil advantage.
Seapoint didn’t get their own way for long, they failed to clear their lines decisively from the restart and Wanderers proceeded to apply some pressure of their own. Despite sustained pressure from Wanderers Seapoint defended resolutely and ultimate forced their way back into the Wanderers half. This time it was visitors turn to defend and they proved up to the task. Ultimately, they forced their way back into the Seapoint 22 and Seapoint conceded a penalty. Wanderers went to the corner and from the ensuing attacking maul a pass to the Wanderers tight head prop resulted in a try which they converted. 7 – 7 at the twenty-minute mark and a clear indication that this was going to be a contest.
The next 20 minutes was entertaining. Seapoint dominant in the scrums, however Wanderers had strong ball carriers, in particular the Number 8 and tight head prop making significant yards. Shortly before half time Seapoint were lucky not to go behind having conceded a penalty on their 22. Seapoint spent the last few minutes of the half defending resolutely before a line break by Forster and a Sonny Bill like one-handed offload to Eivers resulted in a 50-yard gain into the Wanderers half. Unfortunately, the half time whistle blew before Seapoint could build on this break out.
The second half was going to be a hard-fought contest and the size of the task got significantly bigger for Seapoint in the first play immediately after halftime. Wanderers collected the restart and missed tackles by Seapoint allowed a superb attacking move with strong running and exquisite passing culminating with the winger scoring under the posts. An easy conversion. The next 15 minutes was mostly Wanderers and more pressure resulted in a penalty that they converted. This left Seapoint trailing by 17 points to 7. Seapoint rallied just before the water-break and Lawlor was held up on the line after a superb break from Alex Lee put him into space. From the ensuing ruck, continued pressure resulted in a try for Jack Campbell which Brindley converted. Seapoint trailed by 3 points (17 to 14) at the 60-minute mark.
Manning had come off injured and Murray was introduced to the second row with Liam Forster moving to centre. Murray partnered well with Jack Campbell in generating go forward ball and Seapoint threw everything they had left into the last 20 minutes. A superb 20-yard break by Hugh Ross, and a scintillating interception by Cassidy were two moves that could have generated scores but frustratingly Wanderers managed to clear their lines time and time again as the referee continually penalized Seapoint at the breakdown. Wanderers had one last foray into the Seapoint half and gained a penalty which they kicked and missed – another let off for the home side. From the ensuing drop out, Seapoint gained possession and territory and through sustained pressure Forster managed to force his way over the line for the deciding score. Brindley converted with the last kick of the game.
Lots of good performances, Cassidy and Manning exceptional in attack, Lee looked dangerous every time he got the ball. Forster hugely influential and had a battle royal with his opposite number. Murray had a big impact for the last 20 minutes. [b]Man of the match awarded to Hugh Ross[/b] by the coaches for his untiring work in the loose, his defensive lineouts and his never say die attitude across the full 80 minutes. .
[b]Starting Team:[/b] 1 Eivers 2 Hempenstall 3 McCaul 4 Reynolds 5 Hand 6 Ross, 7 Finn 8 Forster 9 Whelan 10 Brindley 11 Whelan 12 Manning 13 Cassidy 14 Lawlor 15 Lee
[b]Substitutes: [/b]Campbell for Hand, O’Grady for Whelan, Turner for McCaul, Bourke for Manning, Murray for O’Grady.