From Head Coach Dan Green:
HURT VS KATY – NOV, 23
Two days of heavy rain had left the pitch in Katy soaked as HURT arrived to open their season against the Lions. After winning the toss HURT Captain Chris Scott elected to run with a strong wind in the first half and the ref blew his whistle to commence HURT’s 2013/14 campaign.
After just four minutes the HURT backline broke through and put fullback Scott over for the first score of the day. Winger, Tyler Jurney converted the try and HURT was out to an early 7-0 lead. Shortly after the restart fly-half Matthew Echezabal capitalized on some flimsy defense around the ruck and scored HURT’s second try. Converted by Jurney it pushed the score out to 14-0. Ten minutes of fierce attack and defense ensued until Justin Blocker scored on the end of a HURT counter attack taking advantage of a Katy drop ball. Converted it took HURT out to a quick 21-0 lead.
The slick conditions made it a tough forwards tussle but the HURT pack was able to take control of the breakdown and enabled the backs to get clean ball. An advantage the HURT center pairing of Dennis Walker and Keegan Mukabana made the most of. In the eighteenth minute Mukabana took a short pass from Echezabal and crashed over for his first try. The next ten minutes were a bonanza for the pairing, with Walker scoring first then Mukabana scoring two more tries in the space of four minutes. The half ended with Jurney scoring his second and finishing the half with a perfect kicking record the score was 56-0 at the break.
Predictably, and with the strong wind at their backs the Lions came out with a renewed sense of vigor in the second half but strong work in the forwards from lock Derek Chaplin, hooker Jonathan Schnacke and new recruit Rob Campbell kept the opposition in check. Some more crisp short passing from the backs put Chris Scott over six minutes into the half. Jurney lasered the conversion, 63-0. As the conditions deteriorated the game turned into more of a ruck and maul struggle, with that came the heavy shots that come with a close in game. After soaking up many of those shots, big Welshman Gavin Boak crashed over to reply in the best way possible and with Jurney adding the extras 70-0.
Two minutes later wing Justin Blocker made another raid down the right touchline and scored in the corner setting Jurney a challenge to keep his perfect kicking record. Sabotage accomplished as the kick sailed wide. Katy fought hard the entire game and it was rewarded in the sixtieth minute when their winger crashed over in the corner capitalizing on a HURT lapse in concentration. Re-awoken HURT responded with a quick counter as Carl Newman barged over for a well earned try.
The last twenty minutes was a scrappy affair as both teams fatigued by the heavy surface lost concentration and dropped a lot of ball. Katy regained composure and their hard working lock set up a consolation try with ten minutes left. HURT got its defense together and closed out the game with a mauling try to replacement prop Blake Horn. Final Score HURT 89 Katy 12.
A solid start to HURT’s regular season with many positives to build on. Great games from BARC transplant Keegan Mukabana, super-rook Brian Flynn and a Man of the Match performance from fly half Matthew Echezabal stood out in particular.
Special thank you to Charlie Brown and the Katy Lions for being fantastic hosts at the after-match social at Bryant Ice House.
Next match is the HURT Home Opener against Bay Area on Dec 14.
HURT 89 (TRIES: MUKABANA 3, BLOCKER 2, SCOTT 2, JURNEY, BOAK, ECHEZABAL, HORN, NEWMAN, WALKER. CONVERSIONS: JURNEY 12/13)
KATY 12 (TRIES: FRENCH, BUIST. CONVERSIONS: BUIST 1/2)