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An historic day for CI as our Centenary Dinner was set for later that evening.

As fate would have it, we had to play a re-arranged league game against our near neighbours, and derby rivals, Grosvenor. The weather for the occasion did not smile on our birthday… heavy rain and a stiff breeze blowing straight down the pitch.

CI played against the elements in the first half.

From the KO we moved forward and won a lineout deep in the visitor’s half. However a handling mistake led to a turnover and allowed Grosvenor to use the elements and gain field position deep in the CI half. From there a half break and a missed tackle gave them a soft score, which they duly converted.

0 : 7 5 mins.

The pattern of the game was established.. periods of strong carries for the home side, into the wind, followed by positional kicking to ease the pressure. However, the ball invariably came back with interest and we started again. The game was played, for the most part, in the CI half. Grosvenor had lots of good field position and ran hard at their opponents, but CI’s defence stood firm for the rest of the half, apart from a penalty conceded midway through the period.

0 : 10 20 minutes.

Home tackling, defence close to the breakdown, and in midfield, was outstanding. The pack also turned over 4 or 5 opposition lineouts, which proved costly for the visitors, as did their discipline, and the penalty count began to rise. Close to half time CI made a rare excursion into the opponents half. Another penalty gave Lawton a tricky opportunity to put some points on the board. He duly obliged for the home team 3 : 10. 35 mins.
Despite some pressure late in the half, we held out for a very creditable first half deficit.

Half Time: 3 : 10.

2nd half, and the tide turned.  Just like the first, almost all the play was at the carpark end. CI attacked the Grosvenor line from the start. Another penalty, in a very kickable position but we had the momentum, and kicked to the corner. The subsequent maul went over the line but possession was lost and the chance was gone. Relief for the visitors was only temporary, another infringement, this time we took the kick and Lawton didn’t miss.

6 : 10. 50 mins.

Whilst our first phase continued to be strong, Grosvenor’s lineout improved and gave them some ball but progress into the wind was difficult, especially trying to carry through midfield. Both CI centres made crunching tackle after tackle.

Another discretion, penalty to CI, but for the only time that afternoon, Lawton missed a kick. Pressure was mounting again.. good carries, line breaks and a further kick to the corner. From the ensuing lineout our maul drove forward at pace. Acheson crashed over but the referee was blindsided and the try was disallowed. Time ticked quickly by…65 mins.

The pressure on the Grosvenor line was intense. A crunching tackle from Haldane led to a turnover. Good field position, the forwards carried close to the line and a driving maul carried “man of the match” Ross Todd over in the far corner. 11 : 10. CI led for the first time. Lawton did the honours again from out wide. 13 : 10.
The visitors regained possession from the KO and recycled through a few phases, but as soon as the ball was lost, the boot of Lawton sent them deep into their own half again. Another penalty, and it seemed a yellow card must happen. It didn’t, but Lawton added the 3 points.

16 : 10. 75 mins.

Whilst CI had almost all the territorial advantage, Grosvenor remained determined throughout. A penalty to the away side, kick for position just outside the CI 20 metre line. The lineout was won but stout defence led to a knock on. A steady scrum, 2 carries and a kick, got CI back in the opponents half. From the restart Grosvenor lost the ball… 2, 3 carries from the forwards and Beverland kicked it dead… game over.

As Saint & Greavesie often said… this was a game of 2 halfs.

CIs discipline, first phase, and defence proved decisive. The visitor’s lineout and penalty count led to defeat.
Given the pressure of the occasion, the performance was beyond excellent and one on which to build. ” Oh the Lads”, our decades old anthem, rang out from the changing room and around the ground.

A big party was looming.