Robinson v Queens

RUGBY: ANDY KIRK sees it is just as hot at the bottom of Division One as it at the top

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Robinson 27 – 13 Queens

Division One new boys Robinson continued to boost their growing reputation this week with a confident performance to overcome a lacklustre Queens’ side. With both sides missing key players, it was anyone’s game.

It was a tense start, as handling errors and solid defence meant both teams struggled to find their rhythm in the early stages. Queens’ eventually managed to put some phases together, resulting in a penalty opportunity just inside the Robinson 10m line, which Mike Griffith confidently slotted for 3 points.

Robinson’s nerves hindered their progress, and this was not helped when they were pinged for straying in front of the kicker from the restart. But Queens’ couldn’t capitalise and Robinson’s aggressive pack soon began to make inroads around the fringes.

Targeting Queens’ shaky set piece, Robinson soon had the boys in green under pressure in their own 22, eventually resulting in a successful penalty from Robinson fly-half Chris Sharman. At 3-3 the game was finely balanced.

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Robinson’s size advantage in the forwards gave them the lion’s share of possession and territory, but with the Queens’ back row still turning over plenty of ball in the loose, their backs still looked menacing on the counter.

After Robinson were penalised at a ruck for holding on, Griffith nailed another sweetly struck kick to make it 6-3. Robinson’s response was almost instant, and once more powered by their forwards, they found themselves deep in Queens’ territory. The pressure eventually told, and James Sandow managed to crash down for a critical score just before the interval. Sharman added the extras for 10-6 at half time.

The try seemed to have knocked the proverbial wind out of Queens’, and with the actual wind at their backs Robinson soon began to dominate the game. A strong maul from a lineout eventually set scrum-half Ryan Warnock free to touch down in the corner, and the gap was extended to 15-6.

The game was then turned on an individual moment of brilliance by Chris Sharman. Showing an impressive turn of pace, the Robinson fly-half burst through the midfield before flying 50m past the Queens’ defence to touch down under the posts. A successful conversion meant the deficit was now 16 points.

No one could fault the effort of the Queens’ boys, and after a quickly taken penalty centre Spike Strang crashed over to ensure a tense finish. Griffith duly converted the try, and the scene was set for a tense finish. Robinson were pushing for a 4-try bonus point while Queens’ desperately tried to claw back a losing one for being within 7 points.

After a superb ‘all-or-nothing’ touch finder from Robinson’s Warnock, the Queens’ forwards defended heroically to repel the drive which followed. There was nothing to be done the second time though, as a well marshalled push by the Robinson tight five sent Ben Hancock over for that vital bonus point.

The final score of 27-13 to Robinson reflected the monumental effort up-front by the boys in blue, and they will no doubt hope to use this platform in the return fixture next week. Queens’ will be looking for a great improvement after a sloppy performance, and will need their pack to be more aggressive both in the tight and the loose in order to get their dangerous backs more of a platform to attack from. Calum Roberts will also hoping for the luxury of having a squad to choose from.

However, there was plenty to suggest that the same result next week is far from a dead cert.

Photography by Rose Harvey