Rams suffer close defeat to old rivals Thunder!
After putting a real shift in with a weakened team against Nottingham Scorpions the week before, the Rams were out to spoil Sheffield’s good start to the season. This always had the making for a great day of footy, Rams vs Thunder, Yorkshire derby day!!
Before the game got underway both teams agreed that a minutes silence should be given to the recent loss of a fellow Yorkshire sports man, Danny Jones of the Keighley Cougars RL. Who tragically suffered a heart attack only several minutes into their game against London Skalors the week previous. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.
Rams started the first quarter stronger out of the two teams applying plenty of pressure on the opposition. The midfield trio of Alex Overton, Luke Booth and Graham Bickerdike swamped the ball up contest making it difficult for the well-established thunder play makers to have any joy. This quarter was a typical ‘arm wrestle’ with both teams trying to assert their dominance early on. A couple of quick goals from thunders midfielder Mark Ireland and their full forward would prove to be a thorn in the Rams side all afternoon. Booth soon put a stop to Ireland’s Dominance, tagging him around the pitch and spoiling good ball at every opportunity. Huddersfield respond with 2 goals of their own from Josh Kenny and Ross shirtliffe and few behinds to go in at quarter time 20-15 down.
The second quarter continued as the first one ended. Pressure, pressure, pressure! Like a pack of Hyenas hunting the ball as group, bodies in the contest, head over the footy. In steps the Rams pocket rocket, Frank Chiarella. The cool headed experienced Aussie seemed to glide to contests getting his hands on plenty of ball and great disposals linking up with Overton and Shirtliffe on many occasions. Shirtliffe, not long back from a long layoff with a bad back was lively all day, making big leads and supplying the forward line with good clean ball. Rams founder Karl Haigh had a bit of an off day with the boot but proved to be a real headache at full forward contesting everything. Goal kicking accuracy would be the major stand out factor in this quarter…thunder kicking 6 goals, 4 behinds to Huddersfield’s 3 goals, 6 behinds. Shirtliffe, Haigh and Josh Kenny were beneficiaries of the teams’ hard work with 1 goal each in this term. Sheffield went in at half time 60-39 up.
After the team talk and some tactical adjustments the Rams were ready for business. Matt Whitely and Jakob Garside marshalled the half back line with intelligence, finding plenty of ball in the loose for the majority of the second half. With this Whitely was hungry, picking Booth out on four occasions resulting in 4 quick goals in as many minutes. The pendulum swung and Sheffield came back firing, flooding the midfield Huddersfield just couldn’t match them. Stephen Hall and Robbie ‘worm’ Wilson spoilt all day in the back line but there was nothing they could do on the many occasions they were severely out numbered. A further couple of goals from Bickerdike and Shirtliffe reduced the deficit of the quarter. At 3 quarter time the rams trail 106-78 leaving themselves a tough final term if a win was going to be achievable.
The 4th quarter was possibly the best one of the day for the Huddersfield side. Winning contests, calm accurate kicking and keeping that ‘never give up’ attitude they kept going until the final siren. With Chiarella and Booth picking up niggles in the previous quarter, the job in hand got harder but the boys stuck to it. Sam Gill kept things ticking over with him and Bickerdike sharing the load in the ruck. This had been a great battle all game. Clean ball into the forwards line allowed Booth to grab another 2 goals giving him a personal tally of 6 for the day. Wilson had the goal of the day, kicking forwards from full back, following up in support and finding himself in the thunder goal square to score his 1st of the day. As with most of the game the Sheffield side stepped it up again, this time it would be too big a gap to rescue. A further 2 goals from Ross reduced the losing margin for a final score of Sheffield Thunder 130-107 Huddersfield Rams. A fair reflection on the events of the day. The Rams next play 23rd May against the Birmingham Bears in Birmingham, a must win game if they are to have any hopes of making the play-offs.
Stephen Hall, Jakob Garside, Matt Whitely, Graham Bickerdike (1), Alex Overton, Luke Booth (6), Regan Hargreaves, Ross Shirtliffe (4), Karl Haigh (1), Matthew Peckett, Josh Kenny (2), Robbie Wilson (1), Sam Gill, Frank Chiarella.
Luke Booth - 3 votes
Frank Chiarella - 2 votes
Sam Gill - 1 vote