THE GAME of rugby is totally different on a wet and windy day in November than in early August and the team that best adapts to the weather conditions usually comes out on top.
The ball is practically a liability and the team that's tactically aware allows the other team to have the ball and then sets about stifling every move.
Add to this a good kicker of penalties and line kicking, and the opposition can keep his team in the right places during a wet day game.
This is exactly what happened in Athy. Arklow played against the wind and belting rain in the first half and needed to stick the ball up their jerseys and keep it for as long as possible through ruck, maul, line out and scrum and conceded little up to the half way stage.
Arklow had the better players and in theory a better team but completely played the wrong tactical game.
The visitors tried to move the ball out their back line at almost every chance but due to the atrocious conditions managed to knock on or lose most of their possession.
Poor game management and poor decision making on the field were Arklow's weaknesses.
The first score was a well struck penalty by Athy from 35 meters to lead by 3 points to nil. Almost immediately Athy gave away a very soft try from the tail of a line out.
The last Athy jumper picked up the ball unopposed and a quick pass out to their half back allowed him to score without a hand being laid on him.
The conversion was missed so now Arklow were behind 8-0. Arklow were not wanting for possession they had every bit as much as Athy but did not use it to good effect.
Arklow came into this game a bit more towards the end of the first period and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which they dispatched to improve the score 8-3.
If Arklow could keep the score at this difference the could look forward to an improved second half.
This as not to be as Arklow conceded two further kickable penalties to give Athy 14 points to 3 lead at the half timebreak.
Conditions did not improve in the early stages of the second half slowly though Athy made their way into the Arklow 22 and with the constant pressure scored a penalty to increase the lead 17 points to 8.
Arklow started to exert pressure in the Athy 22 and Gavin Byrne crossed the try line to score a good try after some heavy lifting by the Arklow pack.
Arklow had some chances to cross the white wash and kept trying but underfoot conditions made any quick movement impossible.
Arklow probed in the Athy 22 and after some sustained pressure scored a good penalty to decrease the Athy lead 17 point to 11.
Try as Arklow did they could not establish any bridgehead in the Athy danger area.
It must be said that Arklow did not lack effort but a more focused effort and a greater awareness of conditions and game management and what must be done to convert pressure into points.
This is the time of the season where leagues and teams have to play in poor weather and wet balls and pitches.
This Arklow team must learn how to play in all weathers.
Edenderry are specialists in playing wet weather so Arklow can be sure of the same type of game as Athy gave them.
Final score was Athy 17, Arklow 11. A useful bonus point was the only positive for Arklow.
Team: Stephen Snell, Eoin O Scannaill, Ian Hart, Tom McDonald, Gavin Byrne, Luke Bulmer, Stephen Considine, Pat Brennan, 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