Kyle Lovell outstanding in Berkshire’s narrow victory over Buckinghamshire
by David Bolton
The listing was posted by Berkshire County RFU
Result: Buckinghamshire 24 – 27 Berkshire. Phew!! This, or words to that effect, was the reaction of Berkshire President, Roy Mears, at the end of a nail-biting contest at Marlow RFC won by Berkshire’s try and conversion in the final minutes.
The tone for the match was set in the first few minutes. Berkshire kicked off and secured the ball. After a number of phases and with quick possession skipper Stewart MacKay touched down for a try after two minutes. This was not converted. From the restart, Berkshire secured the ball and looked to be building an attack from their own half only to knock-on. In the scrum that followed the Buckinghamshire forwards destroyed Berkshire and from the ensuing melee scored a try, again unconverted.
So after five minutes with the score five all it was clear that the contest was Buckinghamshire muscular pack versus Berkshire’s quick backs. For the next ten minutes Buckinghamshire were parked in Berkshire’s territory, dominating the set pieces with a number of rolling mauls thwarted close to the line. Berkshire’s defence was led by Kyle Lovell with aggressive tackling, and a number of turnovers helping to weather the storm.
Berkshire now began to get some possession and just before halftime were rewarded by a try from Luke Carter, converted by Will Clarke to leave the score 5 – 12.
The second half started with the Buckinghamshire forwards again dominating, resulting in a try to take the score to 10 – 12. Berkshire recovered and with good possession increased their lead to 10 points through a converted try and a penalty. Although neither team dominated at this stage, Berkshire were in the driving seat untill Berkshire hooker, Matt Surman, was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle. With Berkshire pack depleted, the Bucks forwards ran riot. Kyle Lovell was again outstanding in leading the Berkshire defence, giving a massive presence to the back row. In spite of the spirited defence by the time Berkshire were back to full strength, Buckinghamshire had taken the lead 24 – 20. The yellow card penalty, officially 10 minutes, was extended to nearer 15 minutes due to a collective failure of the timepieces of the officials. Back to full strength, Berkshire scored a converted try with 2 minutes to go to full time. From the restart, Buckinghamshire gained possession and knowing the clock was running down tried to use their forward muscle to breach the Berkshire line. Again Lovell was in the forefront of Berkshire defence and the game ended without a further score.
Berkshire Cox; Lynch, Yates; Mackay (Capt.); Manupenu; Williams-Paul; W Clarke; Carter, Webb; Mirza; Surman; Harvey; Bailey; Aiono; Lovell; Keeley,Abbott; Britton; M Clarke; Frost; Webb, Thomas