Match Report – Reeds Weybridge RFC vs Hitchin – 17-03-19
RFU Junior Vase – L & SE divisional final
Reeds Weybridge RFC 35pts Hitchin 6pts
Reeds Crowned L&SE Region Junior Vase Champions and spike Hitchin Hedgehogs Cup Run
This was a huge game for both clubs with a place in the National semi-final at stake, with Reeds top of Surrey 1 and unbeaten this season, facing Hitchin who are top of Herts & Middlesex 1.
With home advantage most pundits saw Reeds as being slight favourites however, on the day it was all to play for with the occasion being overseen by the 4 man RFU appointed refereeing unit who were responsible for controlling the game.
As soon as Hitchin arrived and their big forwards rumbled off the coach it looked as though it would be a game where the rapier like play of Reeds would be pitted against the broadsword based confrontational style of the opposition.
As it happened in the first quarter playing up the hill, Reeds set the pattern for the entire game moving the ball, despite the gale force conditions, from one side of the pitch to the other and maintaining the majority of possession however it was Hitchin who struck first with a penalty putting them 0-3 in front following a Reeds infringement.
Following the kick off however Reeds went on the attack once again and within ten minutes were level on the scoreboard courtesy in the intervening period of some good turnover ball from Will Ambidge which kept the territorial pressure on Hitchin despite the slope.
Reeds were now hitting their straps and were pressing for the next score which duly came via a break from young winger Chris Stegmann who fed back-rower Dom Wooldridge who intelligently tracked the winger’s break on the inside to cross the white wash for the first score.
Reeds were continuing to monopolise possession and were continuing to move the ball away from the break-down at every opportunity with the next score coming from a quick ‘tap and go’, initiated by lively scum-half Ollie Palmer, who fed a cheeky inside offload to centre Tom Mclean who broke through a melee of players to make the score 3-13.Hitchin however were not to be outdone and following a period of possession, converted another penalty to make it 6-13 it the break.
At half time the message from the coaches was clear – Reeds needed to continue to tackle low and win the battle of the break-down whilst not rushing things when in possession of the ball.
From the off Hitchin came back strongly to pressurise Reeds but again good defence got the home side out of trouble. Indeed it was aggressive defence including a turnover from Wooldridge and a line out steal from lock Herbie Finn that allowed Reeds to move downfield and eke out a further 3 points on the scoreboard courtesy of fly half Pete Davidge.
From the ensuing kick-off Reeds went on the attack again and following several passages of play which saw Reeds camped in the Hitchin 22, and Hitchin reduced to 14 men, full back Jonny Rogers fed winger Stegmann to score a third converted try to put Reeds firmly in control at 23-6.
At this point and with the slope in Reeds favour the scrum was in full control of proceedings pushing their much bigger opponents around courtesy of a full-on 8 man effort.
The last quarter saw Reeds fitness and mobility really begin to stress the Hitchin defence and a number of chances went begging with Reeds twice going over the try line only to be held up by ferocious Hitchin defence including a great try saving tackle which saw the ball knocked out of No 8 Alex Corner’s hands as he was poised to score.
Despite this Reeds continued to apply relentless pressure and a neat offload to flying winger James Botterill saw him ghost through two tackles to score a neat solo try under the sticks and put the game beyond Hitchin at 6-30.
With time running down another line out steal by Finn saw Reeds stress the Hitchin defence and allow second rower Michael Wasko to conclude the scoring with a try out wide to make the final score 35-6.
Reeds will now be away on 20th April to, Old Cryptians RFC the Gloucester based side who won the South West of England Divisional Final against Chipping Norton RFC running out 3- 22 winners way from home.
No one can say Reeds have had an easy draw thus far having defeated Hants, Kent, and likely Herts & Middlesex champions on their way to the Regional trophy and they will travel in good heart to the South West.
Man of the Match: Will Ambidge for his great work in defence and in the turnover stakes with honourable mentions for Herbie Finn, Josh Brown, and Don Wooldridge who also made led the way defensively – an all-round immense day for Reeds defence against a much bigger pack.
Reeds skipper Billy Maddock being presented with the L&SE Trophy
Lastly, fair play to Hitchin who fought every inch of the way and showed us in the club house that the spirit of amateur rugby is well and truly alive – good luck fella’s with the rest of your season!
2nd XV & 3rd XV=’s were both awarded HWO’s and proceed to the finals of the Surrey President’s Plaque and Surrey Chairman’s Jug respectively. In a club XV game Reeds came out worthy winners against Esher 3rds in a tight fought match with Reeds prevailing 36-23 with tries from Wastie (2) Bolton (2) Moriarty (1) and Chuggs Wallis) (1).
Reeds are back to league rugby with Weybridge Vandals, second in the league, entertaining Reeds at Brownacres in a game where local bragging rights will be at stake.
Mark Sukiennik 07919 275758.