UNISON BARLA GREAT BRITAIN UNDER 21'S HEROIC BATTLING SPIRIT EARNS DRAW IN RUSSIA
Unison BARLA Great Britain U21’s. 16
The Unison BARLA Great Britain Under 21s had a cracker of a game in hand from the word go, the game originally scheduled for 18:00 was brought forward to 17:15 after the BARLA boys had just encountered a 3 hour bus journey from their base location.
The game got off to a very physical start with both packs testing each other out in defence and attack, with some huge hits on both sides, and a large Russian crowd enjoyed the arm wrestle in the middle.
10 minutes into the game Myton Warriors Kris Walker made an excellent break and chipped the ball over the full back, after a fumble in the 10 meter zone Walker collected his kick and scored under the posts. Tony Burns (Kells) converting 6-0 to BARLA.
2 minutes later a nice offload by Brett Phillips (Seaton Rangers) down the left flank enabled John Paul Brocklebank (Egremont Rangers) to race 20 meters and slip the ball inside to Jamie Devine (Wath Brow Hornets) to cross the whitewash in the corner. Burns missed the conversion from the corner 10-0 for BARLA.
BARLA looked like they were cruising to a comfortable victory however at this stage the penalty count was still 0-0 at the 30 minute stage things looked even better when again Phillips slipped a ball to Brocklebank who immediately put on a step to wrong foot the Vereya full back, and scored under the posts, Burns converting for 16-0 to BARLA.
Then a clever play by Vereya, and some sloppy defence allowed the Russians to score a great worked try, with the conversion slotted over it was 16-6 at half time.
At this point the Russians crowds were out in force with a good 1,800 Russians singing and chanting for the Russians, even a presence from the local police and fire engines were there. BARLA knew at this stage it was ‘Game On’.
Vereya done their home work on BARLA and not long into the second half Wath Brow Hornets Rich Huby was coming off with a badly broken nose, some 5 minutes later the ever sharp Dean Gamble (Sharlston Rovers) was taken from the field with a AC joint injury. BARLA were down to bare bones.
A good break down the right hand side from Jon Dawes (Maryport) released Skirlaugh’s James Tindall, who dropped the ball saving Vereya close to the line.
On the 65 minute mark Vereya put up a bomb which BARLA failed to deal with and they crossed in the corner, the try wasn’t converted 16-10 game on.
BARLA again pushed and pushed, and then the giant centre Richard Bostock (Thornhill Trojans) was helped from the field with an eye injury, soon to be followed by his room mate Mark Flynn from Dewsbury Moor with a broken hand.
This was now like the ‘Rocky IV’film, the Russians were singing, the crowd was shouting, they even had a fly over from a plane and the penalty count rose to 18-5 to Russia.
A break down the right hand side with 18 minutes to go saw Brocklebank chip forward and he just finger tipped his own effort forward for a knock on.
Then on 65 minutes Vereya’s clever scrum half broke the line and scored under the sticks and the try was converted 16-16, how much more action could this game bring.
Scott Mountain (Skirlaugh) who worked tirelessly retired with a groin problem. BARLA were now hanging on, or was it Vereya hanging on. With minutes to go BARLA players Adam Thomason (Leigh Miners Rangers), Dawes and Chris Jones (Shaw Cross Sharks) produced a creasing tackle and the Vereya fullback spilled the ball. BARLA collected and referee deemed ripped out, no try.
Some blustering running from Jones and Mountain held BARLA in good stead and with Wath Brow Hornets Ryan Amor created some 1-1 man on man tackles to prevent any further scoring. BARLA pressed and pressed, but at times they were playing 1800 people, plus the officials and the game ended in a draw. The atmosphere was electric and BARLA made some sure friends in Moscow.
Tony Burns collected the MOM for his tireless work in defence and his constant running at the line, with Thatto Heath Crusaders Scott Clarke running him close second with some darting runs from dummy half and a constant thorn in the Vereya defence, Brocklebank coming latter of the 1-2-3 for some excellent work with ball in hand.
Man of the tour was named as Johnny (Rambo) Goulding (Cockermouth) for his efforts both on and off the pitch.
Coaches Tony Spence and assistant Neil Horton were delighted with their wounded warriors,
“The penalty count destroyed our chance, we put out a pacey team to hit the floor and get a quick play the ball, which we weren’t allowed to get, but I thought considering the heat, the officials and the crowd we done great.
Spence also added,
“This will be a mental challenge for some of these guys, and we have seen these kids grow in stature both on and off the field and now hope they can take this experience through with them at club and county level, we done well.
The Unison BARLA Great Britain U21’s manager Phil Johnson also added,
“We arrived in Vereya to meet a very hostile patriotic Russian crowd, we had a great start to the game, but with some poor referee decisions and the intense heat and the conditions started to get to us and Vereya started to claw their way back. Hopefully knowing now what we had to face we could be better prepared, and get the boys mentally prepared better. However this will give some of these guys a taste of international RL, and maybe a push towards a career in Rugby.
“We were all proud to be part of this tour party from 1-30, and we will all take away some special moments and learn from this, this touring party was a special crew, with all the team, management and coaches not having a bad word. Even the guys who were unfortunate not to be included took this on the chin.
Phil was also keen to thank his management team
“Chris Parr and Sean High these boys chipped there hand into all areas and were a great help, Sean rubbing the boys down before games and myself Sean, Tony, Neil and Chris taking a training session with a Russian team in Moscow.
Johnson also added
“We have made some new comrades in Russia.”
Captain and MOM in Vereya match Tony Burns gave his thoughts,
“We had some good field position and should have killed the game off, however the officials seemed to start and sway the game also the heat and the ref letting them slow the play the ball down killed us. And we let Vereya back into the game, however I am proud of all the effort the guys put in, and would also like to thank the management on behalf of all the players on their efforts to make our tour a enjoyable tour.”
Man of the Match
BARLA Under 21s: Tony Burns (Kells)
Chris Jones tireless running and Brocklebank’s persistent prodding of the Vereya line.
Fullback Ryan Amor done some good one on one tackles to prevent certain tries , and Tindall, Jones and Dawes tackle that spilled the ball, when a rip out was given.
Unison BARLA U21s
1. Ryan Amor (Wath Brow Hornets)
2. James Tindall (Skirlaugh)
3. Jon Dawes (Maryport)
4. Richard Bostock (Thornhill Trojans)
5. Jamie Devine (Wath Brow Hornets)
6. John Paul Brocklebank (Egremont Rangers)
7. Kris Walker (Myton Warriors)
8. Chris Jones (Shaw Cross Sharks)
9. Scott Clarke (Thatto Heath Crusaders)
10. Rich Huby (Wath Brow Hornets)
11. Alex Trumper (Thatto Heath Crusaders)
12. Brett Phillips (Seaton Rangers)
13 Tony Burns Capt (Kells)
14. Dean Gamble (Sharlston Rovers)
15. John Goulding (Cockermouth)
16. Scott Mountain (Skirlaugh)
17. Adam Thomason (Leigh Miners Rangers)
18. Mark Flynn (Dewsbury Moor)
19. Mike Williams (Eastmoor Dragons)
Tries: Walker (10), Devine (12), Brocklebank (38)
Goals: Burns 2/3
Scoring sequence 0-6, 0-10, 0-16, 6-16, 10-16, 16-16
Unison BARLA Great Britain U21’s PRO
BARLA Media Manager