venue: Hostler Centre AUB, Beirut
14th February 2013
Full Match Report
MENA UNDER-18 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME 1
The opening game in the two-match series was a case of making the best of your opportunities from your opponent’s mistakes, as each team scored tries within minutes of surrendered possession. The match started well enough as both sets of forwards put on big hits to try and rattle their rivals early on. It was a seesawing affair, however several unforced errors saw the locals gain territorial advantage and Chris Sessine was able to cross over for their first try. Bradley Ellis was able to score his team’s opening points a few minutes later with a nice individual effort but six minutes later local prop Sessine was over once again and the Lebanese took a worthy 10-4 lead.
Scrum half Joe Mouawad crossed soon afterwards to stretch the lead to 16-4, but it was short lived as the visitors bounced back with a splendid team effort that was finished off by Karim Selim to reduce the deficit to 16-10. The tit for tat try scoring continued when big Ray Sabat barged his way over and extended the margin to ten at 20-10. But the KSA boys would have the last word in the opening forty minutes when Ahamd Obeid crossed just before the interval to round off the scoring in the first half to 20-14.
After the break, it was the Lebanese team that came out of the blocks fast and within three minutes they were in again courtesy of George Farah and jumped out to a ten-point lead once again at 24-14 and with all the momentum. At this point both teams’ defensive efforts were able to plug the holes. A potential opportunity for a four-pointer was ruined when a forward pass was called against KSA and gave the Lebanese some breathing space. It became a war of attrition for the next twenty minutes with both teams throwing everything at each other but no breaches in the lines.
It was obvious that livewire hooker Omar Marhaba was going to have a large influence on the outcome of the match as he set up many of the plays that threatened the KSA line from acting half.With twenty minutes to go Marhaba’s influence came into play as he raced over for a game sealing try to have his side in a commanding position at 30-14. The visitors were able to hit back with a try with ten minutes left on the clock through Rackan Al Moukhtar, which took the score to 30-18.
Ali Kamj, Jad Riyk, Tarek Azouri, Perabjoth Singh, Fawaz Abdu, Ray Sabat, Joe Mouwad, George Yazbek, Karl Kalostiane, Chris Sessine, Omar Marhaba, Liam Chedrawi, Youssef Safadi. Subs: Tarek Haykal, Chris Dalati, George Farah, Samer Shmaysem
SAUDI SCHOOLS SELECT U18
Ahmed El Obeid, Salah Madmourn, Omar Kandil, Muhammad Sillah, Bradley Ellis, Kweky Ofori-Darko, Kareem Selim, Omer Rathore, Hasam Zakzouk, Amr Abotteen, Abdulrahman El Smarkwei, Ahmed El Meligy, Rakan Al Moukhtar. Subs: Karim Baassiri, Mohammed Khadra, Osma Aboullah, Rami Howell