Play off winners! #playofffever #upsetcity
By Matt Armstrong
Game of the season Coalville Vs Wellingborough
So to the last game of the season, the play-off away at Coalville, at a ground and against a team that has not seen many happy moments in the history of Wellingborough RFC. With the backing of a coachload of vociferous and inebriated supporters the team knew that one final performance was needed. The warm up was completed and the team had that glint in the eye that something good was going to happen!!!
Boro kicked off with the slight wind at their backs, but rather than kick to the forwards the kick off was quickly switched to the backs on the right, the Coalville defence could only get the ball into touch which meant an attacking lineout in the Coalville 22. The lineout saw quick ball passed to the backs who set up a quick couple of rucks, the ball was fed left and to Adam Lambert who produced a sublime pass under pressure and the ball made its way to winger Ryan Mackie who squeezed over in the corner to give Boro the lead which was converted by Pete Vickers (Coal 0v7 Boro).
The kick off was cleanly collected by Boro who decided to build on this start, however an errant pass saw a Coalville forward intercept the pass and race to the Boro tryline, the refereeing team correctly spotted that another Coalville player was preventing the covering defence from getting over to make a tackle and the penalty was awarded to Boro. It wasn’t long before Coalville scored, a loose scrum on the Boro 22 saw the ball squirm free and were rewarded with a try in the corner (Coal 5v7 Boro).
Coalville sensing that the momentum had swung in their direction started to go through the phases but strong defence ensured that any progress was limited, then the ball was turned over with Paul Lambert making a break through the defence to pass to his quicker brother Adam only for the covering defence to make it back. It wasn’t long before a penalty was awarded to Boro with Shaun Mackie proving to be a nuisance at the ruck, the penalty was quickly tapped by Pete Vickers who passed the ball wide to Ryan Mackie to make progress down the left hand side, the ball was then moved right and Pete Vickers broke into the Coalville 22 but a knock on saw the chance of a try go begging.
Boro soon extended their lead, another attack wide saw Ryan Mackie pass the ball wide to Steven Gall on the right, Steven drew in his opposite number before offloading the ball to an onrushing Tom Mair who burst past the Coalville defence to score the try which was converted by Pete Vickers (Coal 5v14 Boro). Coalville responded quite quickly to the try and were awarded a kickable penalty which was converted (Coal 8v14).
This seemed to spur Boro on and another Boro attack saw Ryan Mackie step into the 1st receiver spot and plant a kick right into the Coalville 22. After Coalville had managed to clear their lines Boro came back on the attack and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. With the half time whistle due the sensible option would have been to take the 3 points on offer but Boro rolled the dice and gambled, Ryan Mackie and Pete Vickers had spotted the space out wide on the left and the penalty was tapped, the ball was then kicked to the corner, the defence were unable to gather the ball it bounced high and Ryan Mackie leapt like a Scottish salmon to claim the ball and the try with it, and to top it all off Pete Vickers slammed the ball through the upright to extend the Boro lead (Coal 8v21 Boro).
Half Time Score
Coalville 8 v 21 Wellingborough
As regular viewers of Boro will know there is always a patch in the game where things don’t go to plan and so it was after the half time chat. Coalville kicked off and straight away were awarded a series of penalties, some strong defence saw off a number of attacks but eventually Coalville broke through to score a try (Coal 13v21 Boro). Boro responded and a sliced kick into the Coalville half by Ryan Mackie was chased up by Andy Seaton who managed to retain the ball and zoom towards the Coalville 22. However, poor decision making from Boro saw Coalville kick over the Boro defence; the ball was collected by their winger who dotted down the ball for a try which was converted bringing Coalville back to within 1 point (Coal 20v21 Boro).
The attacking momentum was certainly with Coalville and Boro started to feel the pressure, unnecessary penalties were conceded as Boro sought to wrestle the game back. Coalville managed to get over the Boro try line but strong defence saw the attacker held up. Boro managed to clear their lines and the gain a foothold in the Coalville half, again strong defence from Boro harassed Coalville who struggled to get out of their half. As Coalville tried to clear their lines the ball was fielded by Ryan Mackie who shot off through the scrambling defence sidestepping and dummying his way past five tacklers to score a try which was then converted by Pete Vickers ensuring that Coalville would need two scores to win (Coal 20v28 Boro).
Coalville were awarded a penalty which they kicked to the corner but a poor lineout saw Shaun Mackie pounce on the ball. Sensing an opportunity the ball was passed to Steven Gall on his own 5 metre line- he spotted a gap in the defence and went through it racing to the halfway line. The full back was drawn into making the tackle and Steven passed the ball to Darrell Raynard who raced away to score in the corner and further extend the Boro lead (Coal 20v33 Boro).
With over 15 minutes to go Boro needed to ensure they closed the game out but a series of penalties saw Coalville pressurize Boro, another turnover saw Shaun Mackie show a turn of speed and burst through the Coalville defence on a 50 metre run into the Coalville 22 but the final pass went astray. Boro were soon rewarded for their positive play with a penalty kick at goal which Pete Vickers converted (Coal 20v36 Boro). Another penalty was awarded to Boro but this time the kick was missed.
The clock seemed to be running down really slowly and with fitness levels at a low Coalville started to take advantage, Boro’s desperation to get the ball saw them concede penalty after penalty. Eventually the referee’s patience ran out and Chris Shipman was sent to the sin bin for the 35th time this season. Coalville’s attacking play continued and a determined defence kept them out, even holding the ball up over the line, but with the final whistle looming Coalville squeezed over for the try (Coal 25v36 Boro). The try wasn’t enough and Boro were victorious earning the right to play in Midlands East 1 next season #proudandwinning.
Coalville 20 v 36 Wellingborough
Ryan Mackie 3 tries
Tom Mair 1 try
Darrell Raynard 1 try
Pete Vickers 1 pen, 4 cons
That’s it, all over, another roller coaster season but this time the season ended on a memorable high with an outstanding performance from a group of players that I’m proud to associate myself with.
Who would have thought that after the losses away at Lutterworth and Leicester Forest that we would find ourselves in this position? I had my doubts but as a group this team has dug deep and showed commitment and a willingness to apply themselves which has brought itself a major reward.
The playing staff and backroom staff have a number of people that we would like to thank but that would take up most of this report. However, the largest thanks goes to all the supporters that came along on Saturday, your support willing us on certainly spurred the team on to greater things especially when it became close.
As for the players enjoy the break, buy your tickets for the end of season do and get ready for pre-season!