Bulldogs bite back in the Forest
Spitfires loss could cost play off place
The Spitfires travelled the long trip to the Forest of Dean knowing a win would secure a play-off spot, however the Bulldogs had plans of their own as this clash turned into one of the best games this summer.
Both sides made plenty of errors in the first half and both teams also squandered numerous opportunities to score in the opponents red zones. It was the Spitfires who broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with Mike McGrath crossing from close range to make it 4-0 to the Spitfires. The Spitfires defence then held intact until the 37 minute when the Bulldogs levelled the match leaving the half time score 4-4
HALF TIME- FOREST OF DEAN 4 – 4 SOUTHAMPTON SPITFIRES
The second half started badly for the Spitfires are more errors allowed the Bulldogs to spend lots of time in the visitors own half. The Spitfires eventually held out and scored against the run of play with Loose Forward Alex Hicken crossing from close range and adding the extras to make it 10-4 to the visitors.
The lead was short live as two minutes later the home side levelled the score at 10-10 going into the last quarter.
With the home sides running out of subs and collecting a few injuries the last 15 minutes were going to be a struggle and the Bulldogs took advantage of fresh legs to break through the Spitfires line to score on 66 minutes but missed the conversion making it 14-10 to the home team.
With the Bulldogs in full control and the Spitfires struggling to break down a resolute defence it was going to take something special to win the game until Hicken once again broke through to cross for his second to level the scores at 14-14 on 73 minutes. He then added the extras giving the Spitfires a 16-14 lead with just 6 minutes to go.
From the kick off the Spitfires played the perfect set and kicked to touch taking the game clock down to 4 minutes and the 2 points in the bag. However on the third tackle the Spitfires were penalised for offside allowing the home team to kick to touch and have a fresh set 20 meters out. From this set the home score to make it 18-16 and with the conversion sailing over the game was lost at 20-16.
The Bulldogs then managed to score one more converted try on 80 minutes ending the Spitfires chances of winning.
FULL TIME – FOREST OF DEAN 26 – 16 SOUTHAMTPON SPITFIRES
With just two games to go the Spitfires will need to win against the Somerset Vikings next weekend. Anything less could see the South Coast side not make the playoffs for only the second time in their history.