Match Report 05/03/16

Rutting Hell
Ipswich YM 2nd XV v Hadleigh 1st XV 5th March 2016 3.00pm Kick-off
Referee: Glenn Patullo

‘The first sign of rutting behaviour is often sparring among bucks. Sparring may take place between bucks of equal stature or between a dominant and subordinate buck. Initially, these are usually short-lived, low intensity, pushing and shoving matches. These sparring matches may help establish the dominance hierarchy among males. As the peak of the breeding season approaches, sparring matches may give way to full-blown antler fights. These generally take place between bucks of similar hierarchal status.’
Samuel Robert Noble Foundation

Snowdrops are not alone in marking the rising Spring sap as we witnessed an almost Narnia-like gathering of bucks in full must. As the game kicked off under heavy-laden, grey Ipswich skies, a pushing and shoving match of low intensity developed as Hadleigh got into the well worn rut of starting slowly, with phase after phase of defensive play. The connection between our Forwards and Backs seemed to have been severed for this first quarter as YM maintained its pressure in the Hadleigh half.

Once the testosterone had begun to flow, the Scrum started to power up enabling Glen to break through the line and releasing Granty to place the ball for the first Try, which was not converted: 0 : 5. The YM cranked themselves up and a sustained period of attack led to a penalty being awarded to them within kicking distance. At the 35 minute mark the score stood at 3 : 5. The first half ended with neither establishing their dominance of the park. Horns locked, as the naturalist would comment, both ‘pawing spots in the ground,’ perhaps ‘rub-urinating the spot in readiness’ for the second forty.

With the scrum punching hard as the game recommenced, Henri hammered through YM’s line to score the second Try: 3 : 10. The testosterone levels were beginning to hit their peak. Rob’s workrate was outstanding – the young buck did good. The captain’s tackling was a joy to watch – a red flash from his undershirt signalling hit after hit. Karl’s runs were really hurting YM. The game came into focus with Matt D’s territory gain, being built on by a Mikey chased kick that he wove through the opposition to score: 3 : 15. YM took advantage of the pause to regain breadth and hit back with their own try: 8 : 15. Their place at the bottom of the league a poor indication of a strong and determined team.

The head butting strength of the Hadleigh Scrum was imprinting itself on the game, their work releasing Mikey to run 50 metres to score: 8 : 22. Rydog was having a peach of a game, releasing Karl to break of of middle and running the ball half the pitch, skipping round the backs and placing the ball between the posts; with Ryan’s conversion, 8 : 27. As the game closed YM snuck another try leaving the final result 15 : 27.

The rut is primarily about display – complex visual, acoustic and olfactory posturing between rivals stags to gain dominance. Not always a pretty sight, but very watchable. The final bellow was Hadleigh’s cementing a solid finish towards the season.

Players: Oli Beckerlegge (Captain), Craig Thomas, Lee Wright, Karl Atherton, Cliff Hazelman, David Stiff, Mikey O’Halloran, Ryan Steer, Ray Seager, Adam Moore, Eddie Banks, Ali Heywood, Peter Grant, Rob Halls, Glen Reid
Substitutes (all used): Rob Davey, Henri Clements, Matt Davies.

Match Report by Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore
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