Barker Old Boys Rugby Club supplied a strong line-up against Lindfield Rugby Club in the first grade clash at Soldiers Memorial Oval in East Lindfield on Saturday. The only grade not to to go the way of the home team so far this afternoon had been the Fourth grade, so Lindfield took to the field full of confidence, with the home ground advantage and the backing of a vocal crowd of supporters.
Before the game commenced there was a minutes silence to remember Toby Crisp of Balmain who passed away on May 9th.
Prior games in the afternoon had been solid, well matched contests with good wins by Lindfield in the Colts and second grade setting the atmosphere for a great game to be battled out by both teams.
The game kicked off with the Bobs asserting strong, controlling defensive structure holding the Lindfield attack at bay. Ruck infringements by Bobs resulted in a penalty and Lindfield capitalised with a penalty goal getting them on to the scoreboard early.
The Bobs returned with a surge of intensity at the restart but good defence from Lindfield meant Bobs could not penetrate the defensive line easily. However a hole was finally found by the Bobs inside centre, Hillard, who was able to offload to Tom Williamson for a try on the wing.
The Bobs had worked up a good momentum and returned play immediately from the Lindfield kick off, Bobs number 8 Scott England making a break and offloading to Hugh Doran for a long run to the line. A second conversion from the side-line showed that Hillard was on fire, taking the score to 14-3.
Lindfield were able to rectify their mistakes and hold the game in the centre for an age. Only the inside centre, Andrew Geldens, managing to make a solid break. Elliot Stuntz, second row, was winning the much needed lineout possession to give his team the edge of momentum required.
A long break for injury was incurred but the Bobs were able to return with the same intensity until the ball was turned over.
Lindfield’s Andrew McWhannell pushed inside from his wing position and then had a commanding run in which he broke 4 tackles through the middle of the field. Once he was subdued, further overzealous defence from the Bobs resulted in another penalty call from the referee, allowing Lindfield to get on the scoreboard again.
The kick off was returned once again with enthusiasm and intensity, Sam Jenkins running the ball well before linking up with Chris Hickey. The ball was then swung to the opposite side of the field, Hillard getting over on the opposite wing and converting.
Before half time was called, Lindfield had some great attacking play, 13 Christopher Brown showing his worth with good line running.
Half-time score: 21-6 in Bobs favour.
A fresh looking Lindfield team returned to the field, performing well off the kick off but were stopped by strong Bob’s defensive structure. Hayden Burns putting in some hefty shoulder work, hitting hard and shutting down play.
An optimistic chip made the ball go dead, the Bobs returning off the 22 dropout with Hillard able to not only consolidate possession but also weave his way all the way up the field for yet another try.
Lindfield quickly hit back with a try in the far corner, bringing the score up to 28-11 but it was starting to be too little too late for the home team.
A Penalty in the Bobs favour for offside gave Hillard the chance to go for a penalty goal. Successfully scoring, the game was now out of reach of Lindfield at 31-11 with only about 5 minutes left to play.
Andrew McWhannell was still fighting for the Lindfield team, making a solid break up the right wing off dead ball play. However the ball was then stripped by Bobs and given to Doran for another full field break, a flawless sidestep putting the opposition full back on his back.
With only a minute left, the Bobs were assured a win but Lindfield were not going down without a fight. Andrew Geldens made a solid break through the defensive line and scored the final try of the game for Lindfield.