Au Revoir Arthur
By Ali Webley
If you had to pick a game to be your last at Bedians this one would probably be up there.
Our resident French full back was sadly returning to France and then on to the mountains of Canada. His last game was against Ormskirk who were riding high in second place in the league; Bedians themselves were in fourth a couple of points behind and on the back of a couple of home wins in the league. The game was also special as it saw the return to Millgate Lane of an ex 1st XV captain in the shape of feisty scrum half Gaz Prytherch.
It was clear form the start that the drizzle and strong winds would hamper Bedians strong back line and the slick ball resulted in numerous knock ons and dropped balls from both sides in a game that struggled to flow due to the conditions.
Both teams were fairly evenly matched in the early encounters. Strong running from the Ormskirk forwards was met with strong tackles especially from the flanker pair of James Gibbs and Ger Dempsey. Ormskirk ground their way up the pitch with a little help from several penalties given away by Bedians. The Bedians backs seemed to be on the edge of intercepting some ambitious passes from the Ormskirk backs but each time were a hair's breadth away, resulting in several knock-ons rather than interceptions and giving away several penalties and eventually a yellow card for repeated offences.
Ormskirk weren’t able to break the Bedians defence and opted to kick two of these penalties, the Ormskirk kicker having no problems in difficult conditions to give them a lead 0-6 lead.
Bedians remained calm and strong runs and kicks into the wind from Arthur Menard on his last appearance for Bedes finally got Bedians going forward and into the Ormskirk half.
A penalty calmly dispatched by Dafydd Roberts-Harry brought the scores to 3-6.
Then followed a period of even balanced rugby between the two teams. Bedians were on top as they often are in the line-outs but Ormskirk were probably stronger in the scrums. Bedians backs were starved a little of the ball but their defence was magnificent. Alex Rakowski and Ben Owens combining to hold up the opposition backs winning several scrums and Tom Lewis and James Gaffney smashing their opposite numbers several times getting fair more action then they are used to on the wings.
Eventually the hard work in defence pain off and Bedes started to get some possession and managed to drive forwards themselves. The interplay between forwards and backs we practice on a Tuesday paid off and strong runs from the forwards and backs results in some disarray in the usually organised Ormskirk defence and Dafydd Roberts Henry was able to find a small gap and sneak through to score the first try of the game putting Bedians 8-6 up at half time.
The second half continued in much the same fashion both teams matching each other blow for blow. Eventually Ormskirk managed to drive towards the Bedians line only to be met by some heroic defence. Dafydd Roberts-Harry put in one particularly huge hit on one of the Ormskirk forwards inspiring several more from other Bedians as they repelled wave after wave of Ormskirk froward runs. Eventually Ormskirk saw the space out wide that had developed and put the ball through the backs hands to score in the corner, with the excellent Ormskirk kicker converting the try to give them a 8-13 lead.
With about 15 minutes remaining, Bedians increased the pressure but were met with a resilient Ormskirk defence. Both teams traded blows but tiredness and the weather put pay to any significant moves until, following another strong run from Arthur Menard, Bedians found themselves in the opposition 22. This time it was Bedians turn to have several phases repelled by a strong defence but Ormskirk in desperation to keep the lead were giving away several penalties in the knowledge that a penalty kick would be no good to Bedians.
Finally, in a move we have seen many times in the past, Pat Willis took a quick tap to himself and wormed his way through the Ormskirk defence to touch down. Elation followed with some players thinking we had taken the lead with one minute to go. However, with the score at 13-13 Dafydd Roberts-Harry showed he had ice in his veins and converted a difficult kick in treacherous conditions to give Bedians the lead 15-13. From the ensuing kick off Ben Rogerson cleared the ball into touch for a hard fought victory for Bedians.
A perfect end to Arthur Menard’s time at Bedians.