RUGBY: The Redboys restore some pride by beating Queens' to regain the league title.
John’s have reclaimed their league crown this week, securing the top spot in Division One. Fresh from their shock defeat in Cuppers, the Redboys have ensured that some silverware will be returning to the trophy cabinet.
They faced a Queens’ team who had yet to win in the league, but were determined to prove a point. In a game reflective of their year, John’s produced a confident performance to consign Queens’ to a winless season.
The drive in both teams produced a competitive start, but the signs were already there that John’s had the edge. Up front, John’s carried a greater punch. The forwards made good yardage with the ball in hand, in particular Chemerton had success in breaking the gain line. However, coherence was missing in their attack, which allowed the scores to stay level for the opening phases of the games.
Queens’ were pushing hard, with several probing kicks from Griffiths pushing John’s back. Roberts, who had elected to play wing, displayed his utility in the back line. Queens’ showed signs of troubling John’s, but competition at the lineout revealed one of the key battles of the game as John’s were dominant from the start. It meant Queens’ struggled to build momentum as they were unable to convert good field position into territory. John’s finally compounded this by putting the first score on the board. Poole picked up from the back of a ruck and there was no stopping him as he headed over the whitewash. If rumour be true, it will have done his captaincy chances no harm.
John’s now looked to take charge and it was their opponent’s weakness at the lineout which allowed them to score again. It was Chemerton again who popped up to finish off a nice rolling maul. The score line of 12-0 at halftime was a fair reflection of both team’s efforts during the half.
In the second half John’s had an even greater stranglehold on the game as they started to bring their backs into play. In particular, Winfield showed moments of brilliance as he unlocked the Queens’ defence, but couldn’t find a way to the try line. However, the backs soon got their reward as Crinion was on hand to score in the corner after a fine move. A negative to the John’s performance was the amount of penalties they conceded – Griffiths landed two penalties to get Queens’ on the score board.
The Redboys went on to extend their advantage as the backs began to play with freedom. Jamie Day got himself on the score board before it was left to TPJ to round off the scoring and spark the celebrations.
John’s may have finally lost their Cuppers crown, but regaining the league title will be no small consolation.