The Mariners gained a much-needed confidence boost on Saturday with an emphatic victory against a team who had previously beating them both home and away and in doing so played some attractive rugby.
Brid were strengthened by the return of Robin Shepherdson in the front row, Gary Heeley in the back row, Nigel Cloherty on the wing and Scott Stevens and Rob Medforth in the centres.
The first 10 minutes of the game saw a cagey affair with both sets of forwards feeling each other out. However, the Mariners opened the scoring with a good move in the backs and full back Gary Stevens intelligently hitting the line at pace and racing through a big hole in the visitors defence for a well taken try. Stand off Taylah Muru-King added the easy conversion.
The Mariners outside backs soon realised that the BP defence was weak out on the right edge and Stevens in particularly exploited this with two carbon copies of the first try thanks again to well worked moves by the backs. Muru-King was spot on with his conversions and the Mariners soon had a commanding 21-0 lead.
The Mariners were not having it all their own way and conceded a needless try when the visitors pressed the Brid line and some of the home side’s tackling was woeful.
Normal services was soon resumed when another flowing move in the backs created an overlap for wing Mark Chapman to stroll in at the corner. The difficult conversion was missed.
The home side ended the half with probably the best try of the first period, again scored by Gary Stevens, but created by great play by the forwards and some excellent handing in the backs.
Having lost back row Josh Symonds near to the end of the half with torn ligaments in his leg, the Mariners rang the changes at half time. Jamie Muru took over from his son at stand-off, with Muru-King moving to scrum half. Mark Shackley and Ben Sutton, who had come on for Symonds, came into the pack as did evergreen prop Adam McTurk.
Within 10 minutes of the restart, Brid had extended their lead and it was a try that came on the back of some excellent handling, rucking and mauling by the forwards. Having moved the ball within the home side’s 22, back row Heeley got his reward for a good game with a well-taken try.
Ten minutes later the home side crossed the whitewash again and it was number eight Tom Brown who finished well after the forwards had again moved the ball through a number of phases.
The visitors were beginning to get a little demoralised as the home side continued to press their advantage and the Mariners reached the 50-point mark with another flowing move involving backs and forwards. This time it was full back Gary Stevens who provided the final pass to brother Scott well up in support. Muru-King returned to form and added the easy conversion.
With 10 minutes to go, Brid continued to press for more points and another flowing move in the backs saw Chapman in again on the wing.
As the Mariners began to tire, a little bit of complacency crept in, and they conceded a late try.
But Brid had the last say when young Arron Barker gathered a great cross field kick by Muru and raced 30 metres for a first try for the team. Muru-King’s conversion completed the 62-14 rout.
This was a great performance from all 22 players who took the field for the Mariners. The forwards were strong in the set piece although the line out needs more work and defensively the pack work well. If the backs can produce the sort of flowing rugby that they did on Saturday then the Mariners should notch up some more big scores in the next three away games.
Injury blows to Josh Symonds, Nigel Cloherty and Matt Taylor are a concern but offer opportunities for others to step up.
Full back Gary Stevens who scored four tries was close to the man of the match but youngster Muru-King took the award.