It was a fairly pleasant Saturday with temperature stabled at about 16 degrees. Drizzly rain passed over Voldsløkka sky 30 minutes before the game started, softening the patchy ground – just enough to make it a challenge for forward packs to give a traction in their scrummage. It is the first game for Oslo-Blindern Rugby Club (Blindern) in the Norwegian Rugby League of 2016. A home match against Bergen Rugby Club (Bergen); the game that every player is looking forward to, even broken fingers couldn’t stop some of them.
Spirit was high among the Blindern boys. Motivations were elevated in the last huddle before kickoff – Losing is not an option! Game officially started by the sound of Mr. Erlend Lauvik whistle at 13.00 hrs. Bergen was receiving the ball kicked by Blindern’s Dave Scavara. The game started well with good hands, tackling and rucks from both side.
Blindern was holding the defensive line pretty good in between its own half for the first few minutes. However, Bergen’s forward had a more solid rucks and a stronger concentrated offence, hammering the middle part of Blindern’s defense. Resulting in a good converted try. The game continued with high energy and aggressiveness in the forward packs. Soon after, both team tried to gain field area with mixture of kicking, and passing the ball wide to the back row. Blindern managed to get a well-positioned touch line in Bergen’s half followed by a good set piece execution. Ball nicely passed to the wide left into Blindern’s full-back Salvis Stilbs and he rushed for a try. Jon M. Moulton converted it from a difficult angle. Scoreboard 7-7. In between few high tackles and messy rucks, a little scuffle broke out. Bergen controlled the game whilst Blindern was unfocused. Once again, Bergen managed to score a try at the corner of the field. Unfortunate for them, conversion was unsuccessful. 1st half ended with the close score 12 – 7.
The 2nd half started with few substitutions in the field. Fresher players to defend the line and grab opportunities for offence. Blindern controlled the composure of the game and gained meters with the basic combination of good support, clean rucks, and decent offload. This results in Edmundas Grybauskas punching through Bergen’s defense line and scored a try – converted once again by Jon M. Moulton. Blindern lead a tight game by 14 -12 with 25 minutes to go. Bergen retaliated with better controls of the game with hard-hitting ruck-cleaning making it easy for them to turn over from defense to offense – albeit, some spectators questioned the calls made by the officials, especially by not giving a try the home crowd of about 50 spectators was sure to have seen. Almost at the 30th minutes in the 2nd half, Bergen scored another try. Taking advantage of gap created in Blindern’s line due to the injuries of fly half. Conversion wasn’t a success.
Blindern offense was fiery in the last 10 minutes of the game, spending most of the time in Bergen’s half, but it wasn’t enough to break the wall. The game ended with Bergen winning 17 – 14 against Blindern. Gentlemen from both team concludes the game with blood muddy handshakes and high comradery embrace. Whilst Bergen celebrated, Blindern held their heads up and determine to improve for the next battle.
Text: Fareez Yusoff & Bastian Fromm