Wild Geese stay in the red zone

On Saturday 11th March the Wild Geese played Worthing at Hazelwood in National League 2 South but, mainly due to a disastrous first half, ended up on the wrong end of a 34-39 score-line.  While Worthing eased themselves away from the relegation zone, the relegation zone placement of the Wild Geese was confirmed for the second week running. If there was any consolation to be gained, it was the fact that the Wild Geese secured 2 bonus points.

John S Hunter reports

The Wild Geese started so well it gave no indication of what was to happen later. After a good break by hooker Karl Gibson in the 1st minute, lock and captain Scott Moore went in for a try, converted by full-back Ollie Turner to take a 7-0 lead. The first 15 minutes were incident-packed, with Worthing losing two forwards to injury, and – ominously – the Wild Geese losing centre Sean Cunningham. In the 15th minute, Worthing scored a simple try through a midfield intercept. In the 22nd minute their left-wing scored a great try, for them to go ahead 10-7. The Wild Geese hit back in the 25th minute with a try by centre Brad Meeson, again converted by Turner, to retake the lead 14-10. It was short-lived, however, as their left-wing scored again and it was converted in the 28th minute. The same player broke the Wild Geese line again to set up a try, again converted, in the 40th minute. To round off the half, in injury time, another Wild Geese error – too many of these contributed to their first-half performance – led to another breakaway try, again converted, to give Worthing a crushing 31-14 lead, and a try-scoring bonus point as well.

The Wild Geese threatened a comeback in the early stages of the 2nd half, with flanker Tyler Bush scoring, converted by out-half Ben Kitching, in the 3rd minute. Two minutes later, replacement scrum-half Tom Barker scored the bonus point try to reduce the deficit to manageable proportions at 26-31. However, Worthing hit back with a try in the 9th minute to make it 26-36. There followed a lull period, probably occasioned by injuries and replacements to both sides, before Gibson scored a try to give the Wild Geese hope in the 26th minute. Worthing replied in the 35th minute with a penalty goal to give them a two-score advantage at 39-31, but the Wild Geese could only score via a penalty goal in the 6th minute of stoppage time to salvage a losing bonus point.

This was a deeply disappointing performance by the Wild Geese, particularly in the number of errors that were made, particularly in handling and defence. This was where the early loss of Sean Cunningham was important. Also, the constant reorganisation of the back-line in the 2nd half did them no favours. One Wild Geese player who did come out on the credit side was starting scrum-half Dan Grant-Adamson; he had to move to the right wing where he kept their outstanding player from scoring, and he subsequently had to fill in at out-half with injuries mounting. Finally, returning to the team, two bonus points was much less than was expected from the game and to have a struggling team do ‘the double’ over the Wild Geese was far from what was hoped for. Credit to Worthing for their victory and the good contingent of supporters they brought with them, ignoring some game or other at Twickenham.