picture: buntu gotywa
The weather and playing conditions were perfect for good rugby and the fans came out in numbers to support their teams. They were, at the end of the day, not disappointed as both clubs produced some excellent rugby. And, as the scoreline suggests, there was very little that separated the two sides.
They were evenly matched in most departments. This was, after all, a big derby match and the stakes were high.
Progress coach Grant Ford admitted that their opponents were, for most part of the game, on top of them but their experience saw them through.
He also acknowledged that a derby was always going to be one of those matches where a side needed to dig deep in order to come up with positive results.
“Yes, Hamediehs were rattling us but, fortunately, we had experienced players on the bench. They came in and changed the game to our favour,” he said.
After seven rounds of matches, the side has now won three, lost three and drawn one match.
And Ford said he was convinced his side was peaking at the right time, which meant their supporters should expect even more positive results going forward.
“Looking back at the matches we have played so far this season, I think we’ve been our own worst enemy.
“We’ve lost our matches by bonus points and, most of the time, we threw the leads away. But, having said that, I think we are turning our season around. The players are starting to gel – they understand what is expected of them,” said Ford.
With that game behind them, Progress now have their sights set on their next match, at home against Police, on Saturday.
And, Ford made it clear that it was going to be another tough one for his charges. This, he said, was because the Police side would come with a different game plan, compared to Hamediehs.
“On Saturday, for instance, our game plan was based on playing on the channel but, considering the kind of opponents Police are and their different approach, we have to adapt accordingly. So, we are more likely to play an expansive brand of rugby. We are, of course, not going to sit back and allow them to attack us,” he said.
With a number of games still to be played before the end of the season, Ford noted that a lot can still happen in the league.
This, he said, was because, considering the strengths of the teams, the City League was probably the toughest.
The competitive nature of the league, said Ford, was what motivated them to be at their best all the time.
“We are not the richest of clubs but, despite that, we try to always be at our best. The one thing that we have for sure is talent. We just have to nurture it,” said Ford.
Despite the loss, Hamediehs remain a point above Progress in the log standings. This was their third loss in the six games they have played so far.
They face a difficult task in their next encounter when they take on the Western Zebras who occupy fourth place on the log.
Despite that challenge, Hamediehs will be looking to rediscover their form and go back to winning ways.
If their performance against their neighbours is anything to go by, a surprise might be on the cards come Saturday.