Shelford bring an end to Guernsey’s unbeaten run
PUBLISHED: 22:03 24 September 2016 | UPDATED: 15:53 28 September 2016
Lea try seals victory
Aki Lea touched down the final try as Shelford produced a dominant performance to beat Guernsey Raiders 22-17.
The visitors arrived at the Davey Field with three wins from three in National League Three London & SE, while Shelford had one win from their three games.
But you could have been forgiven for thinking that it was Shelford that had made the better start to the campaign, given their performance.
It was a solid display where little was given by either side in the scrum, but Shelford’s better continuity in possession, in particular at the start of the second half, and workrate at the breakdown gave them the edge.
Guernsey had arrived late after a hold up on the M11, and Simon Hrbek wasted no time in landing an eighth-minute penalty for the hosts.
But Ken Hellier did not leave it long in levelling the scores with a penalty for the hosts.
Hrbek was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on the 22, and Hellier booted his side in front from the resulting penalty.
However, there was very little between the sides as they contested the match in the middle third of the pitch, with few forays into either 22s as line breaks were being well countered by some tight defending.
And Shelford were unable to land two penalties as the scored remained 6-3 to the visitors at half time.
The hosts started the second half stronger, keeping the ball alive to force their opponents back, and Guernsey’s Matt Thomas was sin-binned in his efforts to help repel the threat.
It was a great line break from fly-half Mike Gillick, who alongside scrum-half Jack Harvey helped control the game, that led to the breakthrough as his disguised pass put in Tom Lucas to dart through to score, with Hrbek’s conversion making it 10-6.
Three minutes later, Shelford worked the ball through the phases, keeping the ball alive and stretching play across the pitch before Jamie Beswick made the line break to pass to debutant Ben Matalau who powered clear to touch down, and Hrbek’s conversion stretched the lead to 17-6.
Hellier landed another penalty for Guernsey to reduce the arrears and they then carved open a good try on the wing, with Anthony Armstrong’s final pass putting in Luke Jones to touch down in the corner.
Beswick was yellow carded for Shelford, and then Nick Merrien followed three minutes later for Guernsey, and with time running out, there was only three points separating the sides.
But the winning try came from a power play by Shelford.
On the Guernsey line, they drove the visitors off their own scrum and as the ball rolled out of the set piece, Lea pounced to touch down to make it 22-14.
Guernsey did get some reward for their long trip with a losing bonus point after Hellier’s penalty, but the day belonged to Shelford.
Shelford: Hrbek; Matalau, Anderson, Wessels, Lucas; Gillick, Harvey; Winter, Gardner, Cutts, Newberry, Hill, Beswick, Walker, McIver.
Replacements: Gregerson, Lea, Redmayne.
Guernsey: Armstrong; Challinor, Jones, Brown, Davies; Hellier, Nixon; Steventon, Ceillam, Bataste, Skovronek, Merrien, Hillier, Hill, Thomas.
Replacements: Collenette, AShplant, Thomas.
Referee: Ken Morgan.
Sin bin: Shelford – Hrbek (foul play) 15, Beswick (foul play) 71; Guernsey – Thomas (technical offence) 45, Merrien (foul play) 78.
Stats: 8min Hrbek pen (3-0), 12 Hellier pen (3-3), 15 Hellier pen (3-6), 46 Lucas try – Hrbek con (10-6), 49 Matalau try – Hrbek con (17-6), 53 Hellier pen (17-9), 61 Jones try (17-14), 80+5 Lea try (22-14), 80+10 Hellier pen (22-17).
*In National League One, Cambridge lost 37-12 at Darlington Mowden Park, with Mike Ayrton and Matt Meek getting their tries.