By CHESLEY DANIELS
St Marks Alicedale 1st XV narrowly defeated Paterson Lions by 6-0 in a low scoring friendly encounter in Alicedale on Saturday. The home side were 3-0 in front at halftime.
The two arch-rivals came head to head in front of a large crowd in a sloppy affair in hot weather conditions. Both teams were ill-disciplined on the day, but the home side edged Lions in the end. St Marks bigger forwards dominated matters up front and took the game to Lions. Both teams were rusty and unfit as it was the season’s first game for both sides.
The first half was closely contested as both teams failed to score tries with numerous handling errors and lost chances. Captain Cameron Jewell scored the only points in the first half with a penalty to take his side into a narrow 3-0 lead.
The second half didn’t improve either for both teams, and too many errors occurred. Although the home side’s forwards dominated scrum time, they couldn’t convert the pressure into points. The Lions looked dangerous with the ball in hand in the backline but again couldn’t score any points. Both teams, however, disappointed with their ill discipline in off-the-ball incidents. Neither team scored a try in the entire 80 minutes. Ettienne Blou slotted the final penalty for St Mark’s to hand his side a narrow but rather disappointing 6-0 win.
Donovan Williams, St Mark’s director of coaching, said the game was not played in a good spirit as both teams were too ill-disciplined.
“The players lacked fitness and didn’t play to their full potential. Also, poor decision making and lack of fitness almost cost us the game. We can improve our decision-making on attack, defence, and fitness levels. Today, Cole Kirkwood was good on attack and Gragon Gouza on defence. Our strengths were in the rucks, mauls and scrums. It’s now back to the drawing board for us, although it was only our first match. We need to up our game and discipline if we want to be a force to be reckoned with,” he said.