The spoils shared in a scrappy contest on the Common.
By Alex Jacobs
Southwold RFC…26 v IPSWICH RFC …26
A scrappy but fairly evenly contested match on Southwold Common saw the home side manage to salvage a draw with the last play of the match after trailing 21-26.
IPSWICH started brightly on a small and bumpy playing surface in bright spring sunshine and a chilly easterly breeze.
After a series of drives IPSWICH in their white strip, scored through Jake Goodwin after 9 minutes following a charge to the line. Grimwood missed the conversion but a deserved lead nonetheless (0-5).
Thereafter, the penalties – what a lot of them there were - started to flow and Southwold were able to kick their way back into contention with a couple of efforts from Wallis - allowing a 6-5 lead.
Following such an energetic start, Ipswich suddenly appeared to be starved of possession - some wayward kicking did not help. But, it was the penalty count that was the problem for Ipswich and as such Southwold were repeatedly handed the ball time after time as the white shirted visitors continued to be penalised. Captain for the day Jim Clark was repeatedly summoned by the referee to take a regular slap on the wrist and on each occasion he turned away to his troops with a rather puzzled expression on his face.
Following a long penalty kick to touch, a line-out on the Ipswich ‘22’ was taken by the lanky Southwold second row Webb – with Ipswich standing off hesitantly. The Southwold forward was allowed to land and gallop over unopposed from 22 metres. The softest try that Ipswich may have conceded this year – what a kerfuffle….!
A couple of minutes later and Webb’s partner Jenner finished off following a series of ‘pick & go’s’ to score on the other side of the field with Wallis adding a conversion from 5 metres from touch (18-5).
Things were starting to look quite bleak for Ipswich – and still the penalties flowed for the benefit of Southwold.
Ipswich launched a series of attacks having secured some ball at last. Luke Uru blasted through from 15 metres out to score close to the posts after running a lovely straight line at pace, wrong-footing the Southwold drift defence. Tim Mann (casually) slotted the conversion via a drop-kick (in off the post) to bring Ipswich back in to the game (18-12).
Another penalty awarded to Southwold on the Ipswich ‘22’, and Wallis - on the whistle - gave Southwold a half time lead (21-12).
Ipswich tightened their defensive effort in the second half and reduced the number of infringements at the breakdown whilst virtually achieving the required shut-out.
A fluffed Ipswich ‘22’ was caught by Wallis – and with it Jake Goodwin (with a rather reckless, high tackle). Referee no choice – and the Ipswich player went to the bin for 10 minutes.
Two tries of real quality from Ipswich followed, Chris Kolapo-Ajala went through and scored what is for him a ‘trade-mark’ try – all power & pace. Barker converting (21-19).
Then a series of Southwold drives were thwarted by a resilient Ipswich defensive effort and having stolen the ball, Mann kicked a cross-field ‘kick-pass’ to winger Uru, who gathered the ball virtually on the touch-line at full tilt. He found ‘colt’ Dan Williams inside and the young Ipswich full-back ran 25 metres to score a beauty of a try – also converted by Barker - and Ipswich had taken the lead (21-26).
Ipswich were playing by far the more attractive & expansive rugby but, on what is an uneven & small pitch for Level 7 rugby, could not find enough space to take further advantage.
Southwold to their credit stuck to their game plan and, after a series of patient drives (more pick & go) attacked up the Ipswich right following a scrum. Slick hands from Wade and Wallis allowed English into space as Ipswich ran out of defenders on the short side. English scored in the corner but with a difficult conversion missed, the spoils were shared (26-26).
IPSWICH – unbeaten in March and with just one defeat in their last 7 games – picked up another three league points (2 for the draw and 1 BP for scoring four tries again) & have now secured their London 2 status for next season with over 50 league points.
With ‘relegation threatened’ Cantabrigians to visit Humber Doucy Lane for the final game of the season next week Ipswich will be looking to finish on a high – in front of 120 former players (liquid lunch). Southwold too, having picked up a couple of points, will be playing London 2 rugby again next season.