East Coast Bays Summer Sevens
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The Premiers and Development team have finished their season.
A seriously depleted East Coast Bays side withstood a Birkenhead deluge to claim all three points in a hard fought derby. With five starting players out through a combination of injury, suspension and family bereavements, it was always going to be a tough ask against a side of the quality of Birkenhead.
It was the visitors who dominated the first half but somewhat lost their way in the final third with very few attempts on goal, helped by some resolute Bays defending.
A rare Bays attack in the 35th minute saw Baptiste Azame fouled in the box and Mario Hofmann stepped up to put away the penalty and give Bays the lead against the run of play.
Birkenhead came out smoking following the half time break and a Jack Hobson-McVeigh free kick just cleared the crossbar in the first minute and six minutes later Birkenhead were level. The ball was smartly worked down the left flank, crossed and Jarrod Smith was on target from close range.
Heartened by the equaliser, Birkenhead pressed and Aiden Gwilt saved a Tom Davis header and a minute later stopped a Hobson-McVeigh free kick on the line.
Then just past the hour with Birkenhead on attack, Bays made a break, Luiz Del Monte put a long ball into the Birkenhead penalty area and Hofmann got enough on the ball to turn it into the net and put Bays back in front.
Rory Turner should have equalised five minutes later but contrived to miss from right in front, Gwilt saved from Nathan Buswell and Turner again.
The last ten minutes saw Birkenhead throw everything at Bays who defensively “parked the bus” denying everything Birkenhead could throw at them. Gwilt pulled off a number of fine saves and the defence worked overtime to shut out the attackers who became more and more frustrated with their inability to score.
A good win that lifts Bays two places up the ladder due to a great team effort. Mention must be made of the Development Squad players who came in to assist and did themselves proud. Well done Jono Lewis and Maxi Campodonico.
Team: Gwilt, Darkwa, Azame, Crawford, Wynne, McKeown, Del Monte, Peat (Campodonico 57), Barnett, Hofmann ( St Germes 88), Anderson (Lewis 66)
Scorers: Hofmann 36 pen, 63