We travelled to Jyväskylä with just 16 players but full of determination to turn the season around. Before the game I gave strict instructions to everyone not to get injured - Simon was the only player with permission as he was covered by Tony. As it turned out a few players disobeyed me and got injured but showed true HRC grit and stayed on for the full 80.
The game kicked off at a fierce pace and we were under pressure straight away, JRC could of, and should of scored in the first few minutes but HRC stood firm and weathered the storm. HRC then settled and started to put some nice moves together and we worked our way up the pitch and were awarded a penalty which Petri slotted over with ease. JRC then threw everything at us but to no avail - HRC was tackling everything that moved - it was a beautiful sight to see. The game was fast becoming one of our biggest tests to date - it was so intense and something had to give and it did. With JRC in our 22 and on the attack we turned them over and attacked up the left with some great passing and support running, we made it to their ten metre line with their defence at six's and seven's and with Jarno acting as flanker/scrumhalf fed the ball to Chris on the charge who shrugged off 3 tackles on the way to the line for a great team try which was converted by Petri. HRC went into the break leading 10-0.
The second half started the same way as the first, it was more of a war than a game, with both sides giving it their all. For the first twenty of the second half there was no scoring, both defences were putting in an enormous effort. But then JRC attacked up the middle and scored a good team try which was not converted leaving it HRC 10, JRC 5. After that though HRC were on top and we were camped in their 22. Simon had gone of injured after a great game which saw him put in a great hit on their flyhalf in the first minute to stop a try, and Tony replaced him. And after much hammering on the JRC defence and not being able to crack it, Tony suggested a drop at goal to put us in the clear. So Tony and I swapped places and he stood in the pocket at the next scrum for us, received the ball and scored. HRC 13-5. Well that woke up JRC and they spent the remainder of the game camped on our line and even got over it twice but Marco and Avea stopped them grounding it the first time and Jarno and I the second time, giving Jarno a personal tally of 3 try saving tackle's for a great day on the wing. The game ended 13-5 to HRC and not a minute too soon as playing in a game like that with 16 players against a full JRC squad really tested the mental strength, not to mention the physical strength of HRC and I was so very proud of all my players that day for the unbelievable effort they put in. Finally we had our victory and more importantly the season was back on track.
Now as usual my team mates made the decision for man of the match a hard one, Avea played a blinder and was awesome in defence, Ville, Marco, Marko and Steve all put theirs hands up too, as did Petri who put in a huge hit on their danger man Patrick, but on the day the man of the match went to Chris who in his last game this year for HRC scored our only try and was everywhere in defence and attack - he really gave it his all and put his body on the line more than once, so well done Chris, enjoy your travels and hope to see you next year. And to all the guys who played that day a big thank you from the club for the massive effort and of course the victory.
Match report by Michael Kennedy