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There was a measure of apprehension in Kern County RFC’s initial play at the beginning of this hard fought match. In the first three minutes following a disciplined display of teamwork Ventura RFC scored a try and conversion kick. (7 – 0)
Playing on the “downhill” field advantage Ventura explored and tested Kern’s defense with highball kicking to the sidelines. Penalties were equally given to both sides in the struggle over rucking play. Although Ventura missed two penalty kicks they kept pressing on Kern’s sterling defensive measures. Play was fast and covered the field in both directions. The first half ended with a penalty kick conversion by Ventura to place them 10-0 in the lead.
The second half began with a change in Kern player’s intensity of action. This was rewarded by Kern‘s style of play from a series of rucks that ended with the ball ending in Zechariah Browden’s hands that at full pace tore through Ventura’s defense to score in the corner. (10 – 5)
Seven minutes later from a five-yard scrum Ventura scored another try. (15 – 5) Kern responded in good fashion three minutes later with a tremendous barging Michael Figueroa run off a penalty attack to score a try. (15 – 10)
The speed of Kern’s play now began to outmatch Ventura’s skills and pattern of play. Kern’s lineout, scrums and rucking were becoming far more skillfully executed. However thirty minutes into the second half Ventura scored again with a good run and made the conversion to enhance their lead. (22- 10)
Kern’s play from this moment on came from the heart of every player on the field. With tremendous drives into Ventura’s twenty meters Wicus Postma scored a well-earned try by bashing his way through Ventura’s defense to score. Kelly Naden added the conversion. (22 – 17)
It now became quite apparent that Kern raised its physical level of action, as time was getting short toward the game conclusion. The desire to win from all the players ended again with Zackariah tearing down the sideline sidestepping Ventura’s defense to score in the corner.
Kern spectators and players all responded in great jubilation. Everyone held their breath and were completely silent as Kelly Naden teed up the ball for the difficult conversion. Kern had shown and proven with good “on field” behavior with a draw with Ventura (22- 22)
Kern’s desire to win came to the fore in this game to exhibit the way they play and how they do it in front of good opposition. Belief in themselves to play with spirit is all to do with the amazing change in behavior on and off the field. If there is any example of this it goes to good coaching by Art Gonzalez who almost lost his voice pacing the sidelines offering encouragement.