Round 9 of the Barraclough cup was cancelled for all teams except Lindfield and Forest, due to the dismal weather. Old Soldier Memorial oval was a muddy mess, but both teams still managed to assemble on the day for another intense match up, one team only getting away by a whisker.
Lindfield looked to be missing some of their usual faces upfront, but remained as determined as ever for another home game.
Forest utilised their forwards immediately off the kick off to work into the Lindfield half, using consistent, rolling phase play to push the defence back. Flanker, Craig Thomas made a good short break out of nowhere, offloading the ball perfectly to second rower, Mitchell Leggett for the first try of the day, in the corner.
The Old Soldiers returned immediately, using similar rolling ruck work to maintain consistent pressure. Forest was picked up for offside and penalised after a long term spent in defence, Lindfield’s fly-half Josh Rickard-Ford slotting his first penalty of the day.
But Forest returned the favour quickly, enforcing their own game-style again. Forests winger, Nicholas Wong made a short break before shooting off a beautifully placed grubber inside, into the arms of fullback, Thomas Carruthers running on hard and gaining another try.
The score was 12-3 and both teams looked intent on strong back-and-forth between them all day.
The half was then carried out by both teams bringing the heat, but the wet and a certain demeanour of disorganisation made the game remain fairly static in the centre of the field.
This was finally broken by a penalty for offside against the Lindfield forwards; Forest used this attempt to go for goal, and was successful.
The score at half time was 15-3.
The Soldiers returned to the field in typical Lindfield style, more fired up than in the first half. Replacement fullback, Damien Rockall, looked fresh and managed to make a solid impact on the first few minutes of the half.
Rockall broke one tackle and chipped and chased deep from the Forest 10, Ryan Butcher, placing the ball in an awkward position for opposition outside back, Sam Farahar. Running the ball down hard, he regathered before carrying the player over his own try line, with help from second rower, Christopher Morrow.
Winning the ball back, the Forest forwards (Craig Thomas, Mitchell Leggett and David Krajancic) consolidated possession well, frustrating Lindfield to the point of another penalty.
The attempt at goal was good as Ryan Butcher managed to slot yet another shot at goal.
At this stage, Forest looked set to run away with the victory, leading 18-3.
But Lindfield pulled another united surge from their forces again, working the game back into the Forest half. The Forest defence held strong yet again, holding Lindfield out, even after losing prop Michael Conroy to a yellow card – their scrums suffering as a product.
Off the next scrum attempt, Lindfield try to dive over the line, throwing anything and everything at the opposition.
Twice in a row, Flanker Myles Docker and then halfback Daniel Miller got over the line, but ridiculously strong defence held them up both times.
Finally, Forest still lacking their starting prop, Lindfield strung together a concerted effort to drive the entire scrum over the line, before number-eight Jonathan Broome dived on the ball for their first try.
The boys in green kept their heads up, using star fullback Thomas Carruthers for a very quick break down the wing for another try.
But as was fashion for the game, Lindfield summoned up the strength on return for a quick break down the right wing from centre, Andrew Geldens.
The ball was then spread to the opposite wing off Geldens’ offload, to winger, Anton Wright who broke three tackles for a try.
The score was now 25-17 and time was running short for a Lindfield comeback.
A solid five minutes was then characterised by Lindfield phase play, and Forest hanging on by a thread defensively.
The Soldiers efforts paid off with a minute or two remaining, replacement hooker Cameron Gray busting over the line for a try.
The remaining time was spent with Lindfield trying to capitalise in any way possible, as they now trailed by only one point.
But yet again, Forest’s defence paid off, holding them out until the final whistle.
The final score was 25-24.