Away Games

Cueto: first tryscorer

The Sharks first five away games of season 2009-10 take them to three countries - England, France and Wales!

The first trek was to Newcastle on Sunday 13th September, a ground where the club won for the very first time last season, UKFast's sponsored Charlie Hodgson scoring the only try. This year was a 16-all draw, with UKFast's other kicking star Lee Thomas playing a crucial role.  Lee produced the chip ahead for Mark Cueto (pictured) to score the team's first try of the season, and added eleven points from the kicking tee.  Sharks were 16-10 down, but Lee kept his nerve with two latish penalties to secure a draw.  It was Falcons' second in a row.

Saturday 26th, and it's down the M 6 and M 5 to Worcester.  Lovely ground, superb new stand and, apart from one blip, a happy hunting ground for the Sharks.  Scene of Kingsley's first win as DOR - at one of his former clubs. Spoke too soon: Sharks made some basic errors in handling and 'game management'.  But they flung the ball out and kicked less, scoring tries from Bell and M.Tait.  There was some hard talking about whether to kick reasonable penalties to reduce the deficit, or opt for scrum and lineouts.  Whatever - the Warriors recorded their second-ever home victory against our boys at their Sixways base.David Bishop

October 11th - the hardest of all?  Toulouse away in the first Heineken Cup game.  Massive attention, with Sky Sports showing the game. and moved to the 37000 capacity Stade Municipal from Stade's usual stadium. Crowd of 28,534, with Sharks' supporters split into two groups, but they did their best against the big bass drum! Toulouse have far more experience in the Heineken Cup than the Sharks, having won the competition in 2005, 2003 and 1996, and Sharks played a so-called 'weak' side, saving some players' energies for the Cardiff game the following Friday. Two late tries pulled the score up to 36-17; David Bishop (right) had a debut and five lads had their first start of the season.

24th October - Fortress Franklins Gardens, home of Northampton Saints.  No Sherri, no Bomber....not a good game really.  Penalty each up to 31 minutes, when Tuilagi gets a yellow card. Between 38 and 40+ minutes, the homers ran in twelve points, first try a twister from former Shark Pop Idol. Grrr.  Then Geraghty makes it 18-3.  A Jamma try + CH con drags it back to 18-10, then pen for 18-13.  Possible launchpad for late raid.  Myler pen takes them 21-13 ahead. More yellow cards, including one for Cockbain. Last minute: offside, Charlie pen for a losing bonus point. Sharks are no pushovers (close defeats here and at Worcester, draw at Newcastle) but they need to learn to win away.  Perhaps Newport and Leeds........

6th November - Unfortunately, the Sharks went nowhere near dousing the fire from the Dragons of Newport Gwent. Just three penalties against two tries from the home team.  20-9 the final score on a miserable night. Worst of all - not the downpour at the end, but the fact that the Dragons had so many young players against a 'stronger' (on paper) Sharks' side.

ASisaro Koyamaibole draw and four defeats in the first five on the road - says it all.  Next up was truly a 'must win' game at Leeds Carnegie on Sunday 22nd November. The former Tykes had rested their seniors for two weeks in readiness for this 'Cup Final.'  On a cold, windy day, Leeds had the better of the first fifty minutes, which included a sin-binning for Sisa Koyamaibole (left). Then, with the wind behind them and Charlie Hodgson at his imperial best, three tries were scored within a sixteen minute spell, all converted by our fly half (sponsored by UKFast - oops, sorry, that seems to slip in automatically!). Our men across the Headingley whitewash were Bren Cohen, Richard Wigglesworth and Carl Fearns. Marc Jones and Callum Clark also had a ten minute rest in a simmering game.  The club were looking down a barrel, with their first defeat against the Yorkshire side imminent, but their indominable spirit saw them home.  The effect on morale will have been huge.

 

Saturday 5th December, and the Sharks are on Sky Sports live in the GP for the first time this season. Only Leeds have less coverage. Foul weather at Watford, but the Sharks play well and just lose 13-15 to table toppers Saracens.  The giant Sisa scored the only try of the game, but Sarries appear to have discovered how to win ugly and the boot of Hou Ha (Derick Hougaard) sees them through.

 

                                                                    The White Sharks on away duty at Newcastle

Falcons away

David Seymour

Sunday 13th December - the game of the season, in front of a Nationwide audience. Fantastic entertainment.  I mean, two tries in no time at all.  24-12 up at half time.  Faced a barrage during the second half, but Cohen scores the fourth try.  Bonus beyond our dreams.  Credit to Quins, though - nothing to lose, but nothing to gain in the end.   Nine points in Pool 5. Let's start hoping after the return match on Sunday.  "Come on within.......The mighty Sharks Stooped to conquer." We'd like to see more of Seymour (right).

KJ 'did a Toulouse' (the rugby equivalent of doing a Mick McCarthy) at Leicester.  Valuable experience for some.  Played better than a 6-32 reverse might suggest.  Probably wise, bearing in mind the first four fixtures in January.

Then: new ground - literally. The Cardiff City Stadium.  All very lovely, but in no way atmospheric like their old ground. A crowd of 9000 in one of 26000 seats.  The Sharks were three tries to two ahead on 77 minutes, but deserved to lose after a heavy penalty count against. Blair (7 out of 7) was on fire, with Halfpenny chipping in with one from the centre spot. If anything, a blow for those who believe that a new stadium is the answer to everything.

Some harsh lesssons were learned on the trip to Bath for the final LV=Cup game. A strange mix of youth and experience (actually with 21 players missing) was 28-7 down at half time.  Things didn't get any better during the second half, and the final score was 40-7.  "If only" we'd got five points here: Tigers and Sarries both lost.

High Wycombe on a Sunday doesn't thrill. High Wycombe on a cold, drizzly, dark Sunday with a 4.30 p.m. kick off is even worse.  Our lads, with new boy Dafydd James having a quiet time, did alright, but need to remember how to win away. Yes, we wuz robbed: there were two forward passes in the move for the Wasps' try. TJ Roy Mayhem was miles behind up the slope. Loopy forward sling from Varndell finds Fury. Jacobs scores.  That old feeling again. Fifith losing BP this season. Could Do Better.

Next? The resurgent Glaws with their 'Hee Haw' crowd in The Shed. When we got there. the big issue was the state of the pitch. England Under-20's had lost to the Irish on it the night before, the heavens had opened during the morning, but did the Sharks even think of ordering pizzas?  Apparently not - they proceeded to slither to defeat on a steadyingly worsening mudheap, 47-3: worst since the thirds lost to Quins in 2007. BK had landed back in the UK having truncated his Colorado holiday before we hit the M.6........ or rather didn't hit the M.6 immediately. At Walsall, the way home was via a diversion which included the glories of the Black Country....Wolverhampton to Cannock.  Horrible, horrible day.

The Mad Jet Ski at Reading loomed up next. Sharks have put the dampeners on the St.Pat's celebrations before, but not the 2010 breed. Showing eleven changes (Sisa was positional from flanker to No.8) their minds couldn't have been on the job at all. Ended up 0-38, with certain key players for Worcester withdrawn early.  Crisis time. Low feeling.

It doesn't get much better - Bath next! One win (2006) there since 1990-something.  One win is what this side needs.  The eggs are in the Newcastle basket.  "I was there" when we sent Quins down in 2005. Don't like "deja vu" feelings. We've got the players - especially behind the scrum, so why aren't we winning away? Tactics? Attitude? I don't even resort to drink to 'make it a good weekend'.

Although the team -minus late withdrawal Charlie Hodgson - started and finished well, they had their customary defeat at The Rec, 15-34, 2 tries to 5.

One to go - the Quins on May 8th. Things have changed at the Sharks. Maybe there'll be a General Election to finish off with a win.