The Matthew & Co Senior Bs rugby team headed to Yarrows Stadium to play their final game of the season against Southern on Saturday.
Stratford scored first with a penalty in front. Moments later Southern scored a try out wide, but it wasn't long before Gray Old replied scoring next to the posts, then another penalty saw Stratford take an eight point lead into half time 13-5.
We started the second half a bit flat and it's a safe bet Stratford centre Kurt Patterson will not slap a rugby ball dead again in his career.
While impressive with the rest of his work in the division one final against Southern, Kurt's decision to get the ball over the dead ball line as the opposition attacked proved costly. After receiving a yellow card and jogging the length of the field to spend 10 minutes behind our posts, Southern were awarded a controversial penalty try. During Kurt's cooling off period, the opposition also managed to rack up an additional 17 points.
Aside from this incident, we played a fierce 80 minutes and the seven point margin really didn't reflect the closeness of the battle. We felt gutted to walk off second, but only had ourselves to blame as ill-discipline cost us dearly, not only with the yellow card but some needless backchat when we were only four points behind. With time running out, it resulted in a penalty and Southern took that opportunity to push their lead out further.
Matt Arnold had a big game, with a massive work-rate and proved hard to stop.
It was taking two or three defenders to bring him down, often taking them with him over the advantage line. Halfback and captain Gary Old played a quality game and showed his experience and rugby brains, and Kurt impacted the game with a try and huge work rate, after his time reflecting in the bin.
Sam Vanner picked up player of the day with his huge effort in defence, Zack Taitoko also tackled hard and ran hard when he was given the ball.
While the first half was riddled with errors, the second half more than made up for it, as the two sides went toe-to-toe before the referee finally whistled full time.
Southern took the honours 28-21.
The team acknowledges all the supporters that came to watch and a huge thanks to the two coaches Maka and Hori for giving up their time this season.