Gritty Armidale regains top spot

ARMIDALE survived a fierce challenge from Barbarians on Saturday to get the points in their New England clash and reclaim the competition lead from Robb.

Five-eighth Luke Battenborough scores for Barbarians against Armidale on Saturday. 
Photo: www.pixonline.com.au

Five-eighth Luke Battenborough scores for Barbarians against Armidale on Saturday. Photo: www.pixonline.com.au

The Blues were missing over a third of their side and took a while to get going but got home in the end 21-12.

“We slowly ground it out and got over the top of them and got a good result,” Blues co-coach Anthony McMillan said.

He said at one stage it could have gone either way.

At half-time there was only a point in it, with the Blues just in front.

“It wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that that we really clicked into gear,” McMillan said.

Up until then they didn’t really play smart football.

They were hardest hit in the backs and it didn’t quite gel there.

“At half-time I said to the  boys we need to sort out our structure. We were getting in each other’s way,” McMillan said.

“It took us 60 minutes to iron all that out.”

Once they got into the groove they were hard to stop.

Richard Cummings had been one of their most consistent performers and had a great game in the second row.

“He really had some inroads and had three or four blokes hanging off him at times,” McMillan said.

Ed Hiscox and Alex Waters took the other points.

For Baa Baas,, it was another game they were in but couldn’t get the points from.

The game was definitely there to be won, coach Sam Piddington said.

“We haven’t learnt how to win yet.”

“We’re so close but we just can’t seem to win.

“We’re improving every game and a lot of the stuff we’ve been working on at training it’s good to see the fellas doing it on the field.”

He said the forward pack got them a lot of go-forward with their pick and drive game.

“We’re probably just missing that x-factor out wide,” he said.

The lineout performed well for them on Saturday. 

“The lineout went well,” Piddington said.

“We’ve been working on it pretty hard.”

They did, however, have a few issues in the scrums.

Their depth was already pushed there before kick-off and even more when they lost prop Morgan Martin during the game.

“We lost one or two crucial scrums at crucial times,” Piddington said.

One the Blues scored a try off.

There was also “just a tackle here or there we missed” that hurt them.

On top of Martin, breakaway Sam Noakes was also forced off with concussion after a head clash in the first 20 minutes of the game, which was a setback.

Breakaway turned half-back Will Chapman was their best followed by Robbie Barnett and Sam Myers.

He’s back after playing in Japan for a couple of years.

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