ARKLOW RFC 11 EDENDERRY RFC 24 ARKLOW are finding the step up to a higher league a bit of a hard slog at the moment.
It's not that Arklow are short of courage of effort or commitment but the standard in this division is higher than expected with no weak sides and all teams capable of beating each other home or away.
Arklow have the team to play and beat most of their opponents but seem to lack confidence at the moment.
In this match Arklow quickly conceded two soft tries with conversions and this left them 14-0 behind after only 20 minutes of play.
These were not great scores but poor tackling made the crossing of the try line so much easier.
After each try was scored Arklow came straight back and threatened the Edenderry line but could not cross the lime. Arklow tended to panic when nearing the Edenderry line with whitewash fever taking over where cooler heads should have prevailed. The need to appreciate where they are on the field and know a route across the line.
Crossing the line will not happen no matter how much they wish for it. Arklow must organise and plan to cross their opponents line and not leave it to chance or luck.
This was a tough fought contest in the real sense as very little separated both teams but the Edenderry team took their opportunities when they were presented Arklow did not.
Arklow were always having to play catch up rugby, and were well able to do so, but it gets harder to score as panic overcomes tempo. A comedy of errors in passing allowed Edenderry to score another unconverted try and send them into a scary lead.
A penalty by Arklow was a not any reward for all their efforts. 19-3 and Arklow were now in another gear and pushed Edenderry back to their own try line and scored a fine try by Stephen Snell after good ground had been gained by Richard Murphy and the rest of the pack.
The conversion was missed. Half time arrived with Arklow applying the pressure and the score line of 19-8.
Arklow started the second period with aggression and heart and spent a number of visits to the Edenderry 22 and not for lack of possession did not score from play.
Arklow had, just as last week, plenty of ball but no head for scoring. After a number of phases of play Arklow seemed to lose organisation particularly in the back line whose passing all across the line was slow and laboured.
Arklow could only keep the pace of the game up at such a high tempo for short periods and their game management was again poor.
The positives are easy to find in this team they never give up and the will to win is true. Several lineouts in the Edenderry were wasted when calmer play would be more the smarter course of action. Arklow were awarded a penalty which Mark Van Esbeck converted.
The second half deteriorated to a series of injuries which were in part delaying tactics but broke up the game for the eventual winners.
At times it appeared more like a series of injuries interspersed with a little rugby. Edenderry scored one final try at the death which they failed to convert. The final score of 24 points to 11 does not do Arklow justice.
All of Arklow's primary source of ball are all excellent line outs and their scrum was better than we should expect from a pack of their size against a team that was, man for man, way heavier.
Confidence ebbs and flows with a team's wins and losses. When Arklow win they play well and with confidence.
At present the confidence is lacking but the will is there to do try harder.
This league will not be easy, even to stay up will be hard, as all teams are of an unexpectedly high standard and well matched. Next week the battle continues with North Kildare away in Kilcock.
Keep the faith. This Arklow team is much better than the sum of all its players.
Team: Pat Brennan, Stephen Snell, Eoin O Scannaill, Ian Hart, Tom McDonald, Stephen Considine, Aiden Louth, Jonny Butterworth, Richard Murphy, Mark Hynes, Mark Van Esbeck (C), Shane Nalty, Clive Horan, Dean McCormick, David Mulrooney, Rob McCormack, Shane McAllister, Stafford Vigors, Ross Vigors, Kieran McCarthy..