Buccaneers v Sharks Rugby match report
Thursday 17th Oct saw last season’s undefeated Champions, the InLine Framing Sharks, against the Ibex Buccaneers and, with both fielding near full strength teams, it was set for an epic battle for this seasons u-mee Gibraltar Rugby Championship. The Buccaneer forwards dominated the set piece in the first half, providing a great platform for their backs, and had earned their four try bonus point by the time the half time whistle went. However, the Sharks ‘never say die’ attitude provided the impetus for a second half come back, and in the end it was the Buccaneers who were hanging on and most grateful for referee Blackburn’s final whistle.
The Buccs started the game strongest, keeping the ball with the forwards and, with a penalty coming in the fourth minute, Buccs hooker Luke Payas, touched down. They continued to take the game to the Sharks, up front, winning the contest on the floor and disrupting the Sharks scrum. In fact, it was from the set piece that the Buccs scored their next two tries, with scrum half Eastwell going over, followed ten minutes later by Number 8, Richards. Without any conversions, the Buccs were 15-nil up and it wasn’t until the 38th minute that the Sharks hit back, with a lovely feint by new boy, Nic Bigham, wrong footing the defence to score under the posts. With the conversion, that brought the score back to 15-7, but the Buccs hadn’t finished their first half tally and Kellis rounded off a well worked move with a lovely try under the posts, converted by team Captain, Albert Loddo.
22-7 was the half time score, and there it stayed for a good part of the second half.
The Sharks were reduced to 13 men after the break, with injuries and a yellow card for their try scorer Bigham. That, however, only seemed to galvanise them and they became stronger as the Buccs began to tire. The Sharks opted to play a wider, running game, that seemed better suited to them and it eventually paid dividends with two tries from Dom Gregory and Nick Macquisten, which with conversions, brought them right back to within a score at 22-19. 12 unanswered points and in danger of losing their lead, the Buccs wrestled back control through their forwards. Pressure on the Sharks scrum, close to their line, brought about some respite through a penalty try. But the Sharks hadn’t finished and managed a final score in the dying minutes of the game from, who else, but Nic Bigham. Moments later, the final whistle ended an enthralling encounter and a hugely entertaining match, and allowed the Buccs to breathe a sigh of relief.