Gardiner’s four try haul fells Forest
Wellingborough welcomed Leicester Forest to Cut Throat Lane.
Both teams had a similar record with three wins and a loss and both teams knew that a win could put pressure on Old Scouts at the top of the table. Changes to the Match Day squad included Dave Morgan starting in the front row, Ryan Mackie started in the 10 shirt and Dan Fitzhugh moved from the bench to full back. Those getting splinters this week were Tom Mair, Charlie Baker and a sober Jezz Brookes.
Boro kicked off up the hill to Forest, and after the initial opening scrappy moments Forest took full advantage of a lacklustre start by Boro, quick recycled ball saw a mismatch in numbers which Forest took full advantage of, Forest swung the ball to the left and opened the scoring with a well worked try (Boro 0v5 Forest). Straight from the kick off a penalty was awarded to Boro but the kick from Ryan Mackie just drifted wide. Not long after the drop out Boro were again awarded a penalty and this time opted for the kick to touch, from the lineout Boro made some thrusting runs to the Forest line and once the defence was stretched Ryan Mackie threw a miss pass to Luke Gardiner who raced in at the corner for a try which was then converted (Boro 7v5 Forest).
Boro received the kick off cleanly and a great box kick from Jack Bryan put Boro in a good position to pressurise Forest. It wasn’t long before Boro took possession of the ball, Steven Gall broke through the Forest defence on the left hand side and with the defence stretched the ball made its way over to the right hand side for Luke Gardiner to dot the ball down again, the conversion stretched the score out further (Boro 14v5 Forest). Again from the kick off Boro started to attack the Forest defence with the forwards, in particular Chris Shipman, Kyle Danns and Jon Cartwright carrying the ball over the gain line. However, a wrong option chosen when attacking coughed possession up to Forest who progressed into the Boro half and were awarded a penalty which was kicked to reduce the lead (Boro 14v8 Forest).
Immediately from the kick off Boro were awarded another penalty shot at goal which was pushed wide and Forest took full advantage to attack Boro and press for a try to take the lead. However, a great steal on the floor, from skipper Chris Shipman saw Boro get straight back on the attack with Dan Fitzhugh hitting the line at pace from full back. Eventually Boro made their way into the Forest 22 and made their way over the try line only to be held up.
It wasn’t long before Boro attacked again this time it was the front row’s turn to shine with Matt Ellson and Shaun Mackie passing between themselves to get into the Forest 22, however, as with any front row they tired after the interchange of passes and the ball was lost to Forest. An errant kick from Forest then saw the ball make its way to Paul Lambert who boshed, barged, handed off and sidestepped not one, not two, not three but four Forest players before stretching out his arm to score under the posts leaving Ryan Mackie with an easy conversion to extend the Boro lead (Boro 21v8 Forest).
Another loose kick from Boro saw the rampaging Matt Ellson field it before offloading out of the tackle to full back Dan Fitzhugh who ran it back into the heart of the Forest defence. Quick rucking from the Adam Lambert and Jon Cartwright saw the ball presented to Jack Bryan who fired it out to the left, and then at the last moment Tom Bryan cut a line back to the posts bamboozling the defence to score a try, the conversion was missed (Boro 26v8 Forest).
The final moments of the half saw a yellow card awarded to a Forest player for a late tackle on Ryan Mackie.
Half Time: Wellingborough 26 v 8 Leicester Forest
Forest kicked off to Boro and the kick fell short so Boro opted for the scrum, a solid scrum saw Chris Shipman pick the ball up and pass to Jack Bryan who drew the winger to put Luke Gardiner in space. He took full advantage rounding the full back to score in the corner leaving Ryan Mackie with a difficult conversion which he slotted over (Boro 33v8 Forest). Again from the kick off Boro went on the attack this time through Kyle Danns who broke through the Forest defence but strong Forest scrambling defence saw the attack thwarted.
However, another loose kick from Forest to the Boro back three saw the ball make its way to Steven Gall who managed to get past the wide Forest defence before passing inside to Tom Bryan who was caught by the scrambling Forest defence. Quick ruck ball saw Dave Morgan crash his way towards the Forest line but he was tackled with 5 yards to go, and then to demonstrate that he does listen at training, he offloaded off the deck to his fellow front row colleague Shaun Mackie who touched the ball under the posts to give his brother Ryan the chance to kick the extras (Boro 40v8 Forest).
The next period of play saw Forest attack Boro but some good defence saw the Forest patience with the ball unrewarded, the Boro line defence pressed up quickly and harassed the ball carrier resulting in a turnover but Luke Gardiner couldn’t collect his own kick to score the try. Forest came straight back to attack Boro but again the defence stood strong resulting in yet another turnover, however Boro were guilty of overplaying in their own 22 and it wasn’t until a penalty was awarded to Boro that they eventually cleared their way into the Forest half.
Then the controversial moment of the match occurred, some good passing in the backs saw Steven Gall released into space, he shot down the left hand touchline to score the try which the referee awarded. However, Steven hadn’t counted on eagle-eyed touch judge Andy Seaton who had spotted Steven’s small toe touching the white wash and had lifted his flag, the try was wiped off, Andy Seaton made a swift exit after the game!
It wasn’t long before Boro went on the attack but poor communication saw the wrong option chosen, again Boro came back but dogged Forest defence saw Boro denied a certain try as Kyle Danns was held up over the line. The positive play from Boro was being rewarded as Forest infringed and finally from a scrum some great hands in the backs from Steven Gall and Dan Fitzhugh released Luke Gardiner to score his fourth try of the game (Boro 45v8 Forest).
Some sloppy play from Boro saw the pressure on Forest relieved but a turnover from Boro saw another break by the backs into the Forest 22, Charlie Baker galloping up on the inside called for the ball and then promptly fumbled it with the line at his mercy. Forest gathered the ball and attempted to run it back from their own try line but this soon resulted in another turnover to Boro. This time the ball went wide to Steven Gall who fed it inside to Paul Lambert who then released Tom Bryan to score the final try of the game which was converted by Tom Mair (Boro 52v8 Forest)
Full Time: Wellingborough 52 v 8 Leicester Forest
Luke Gardiner 4 tries
Paul Lambert 1 try
Tom Bryan 2 tries
Shaun Mackie 1 try
Ryan Mackie 5 cons
Tom Mair 1 con
This was Wellingborough’s best performance of the season by far, but by no means was it perfect, a lacklustre start saw Boro caught on the hop but then it finally clicked. Some great attacking play and strong running saw Boro eventually run away with the game and results mean that Wellingborough now sit at the top of the table. With that comes its own risks as other teams in the division will look to knock us off the top spot which is why it is crucial that training this week is well attended with a focus on the next set of games.
Report by Matt Armstrong