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Match Report: Caldy 26 – Coventry 22

Match Report for The Rugby Paper
Saturday 3 February 2024
Caldy 26 Coventry 22

Three successive defeats had put Caldy on the back foot and with the very big guns from 3rd placed Coventry looking to maintain their challenge at the top of the Championship it was going to take a monumental effort from the Wirral side.

It wasn’t the best of starts for the Ravers when after just 5 minutes Coventry raced into an early lead at Paton field, with giant flanker Obinna Nkwocha smashing his 20 stone through three would be Caldy tacklers to score. Ten minutes later the powerful Coventry pack won another attacking line out, sending hooker Jordan Poole under the posts, giving Patrick Pellegrini the easiest of conversations.

Although Caldy were two tries down there was little to choose between the sides in terms of territory and possession. Both teams were clinical in the set piece although Caldy were shading the battle for the ball on the floor. A driven line out gave the opportunity for Caldy’s outside centre Connor Wilkinson to step his way through a crowded midfield to give the Ravers their first score and a foothold in the game.

Good defence from the Ravers with a crucial tackle by full back Kilcourse and a gymnastic clearance by winger Royle kept Coventry at bay until Rhys Anstey crashed over for a converted score to extend Coventry’s lead to 5-19
However in the last few minutes of the half the momentum shifted to the Ravers. Replacement hooker Matt Gallagher scored the first of his three tries from the base of a driving maul and striving for a five-metre lineout, Coventry playmaker Pellegrini over cooked a penalty into the dead ball area. At 12-19 the Ravers were only one score in arrears at the break.

The second half belonged to Caldy, they out thought and out fought their opponents. Two more tries from forward drives successfully converted by Lewis Barker gave Gallagher his hat trick and a 4 point lead for the home side.
With a sudden strong squall sweeping in behind Coventry they had the elements very much in their favour for the last twenty minutes but they couldn’t break the Caldy defence. Time and time again they thundered in only to be chopped down. Their sole second half reward was a penalty from Pellegrini’s boot.

This was a splendid effort with a 100% line out success providing the platform for all of Caldy’s scores. The pack went toe to toe with the Coventry behemoths coming out on top through grit, determination and no little skill.
It would be a time consuming job to list all the excellent performances and every player contributed but one facet should be mentioned. The replacements were pivotal.

Matt Gallagher nailed the throws and picked up a hat trick of tries, Joe Murray and Mike Cartmill fizzed and changed the point of attack, Nathan Rushton , Callum Ridgway and Sam Olyott continued the destructive effort up front, and Lewis Barker kicked the conversions from out wide.

Caldy’s Director of Rugby Gareth Davies was understandably pleased with the bonus point win and the Ravers’ first ever victory over Coventry. “That was a huge improvement over our last two performances. The lads were all fully committed and by and large they stuck to the game plan. We were far more accurate than we have been recently. It was a good performance by the whole squad”

Final score Caldy 26 Coventry 22

Super-sub Gallagher drives over for hat-trick

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