Reeds show clinical edge to despatch Eastleigh

EASTLEIGH 7, REEDS WEYBRIDGE 36

Eastleigh haven’t lost at home this season and given that they spent large parts of the game in the Reeds territory, they might have hoped to keep their record intact. The reason they didn’t, was that Reeds were able to maintain the quality of possession they were getting from the tight scrums and lineouts, together with some thundering midfield tackles and a series of turnover rucks and mauls fronted by Luke Edwards at 8 and hooker George Corner. Corner’s work in those loose encounters got his side out of no end of trouble and to cap it all he ran fifty yards to touch down for the fifth try of the day, no wonder he was awarded the Man of the Match. 

Back in that first quarter Reeds were under the cosh in their own 22, they conceded a penalty which should have given Eastleigh an easy three points, but it bounced off the posts and Reeds cleared the danger. But not for long, a series of attacks stretched Reeds cover and the home side winger darted in by the flag after some good multi-phase play from the hosts. Eastleigh had chances to take more points for penalties but didn’t instead preferring to lay siege to Reeds try line but the defence held firm as it has done for most of this season. Pete Davidge, Reeds fly half banged over a short-range penalty to open Reeds’ account but it was Eastleigh on the attack who looked likely to extend their lead, they didn’t because of that huge defensive effort. 30 minutes in and it was 7-3 to the home side but the Reeds attack was beginning to look full of danger, fast hands unleashed wingers Joe Moriarty and Chris Stegmann, and Eastleigh struggled to contain their pace and guile, Stegmann in full flight took a sublime offload out of the tackle from centre Ollie Savill and just inside the 22 chipped over the defence, the ball bobbled around on the try line and the defender flipped the ball over the dead ball line with his hand, that was a seven point penalty try. Reeds didn’t enjoy too many visits to Eastleigh’s 22 but when they did, they were clinical with 6 visits resulting in 5 tries – they were a serious threat when they opened up the play, and just on the break Josh Clark the full back came into the attack at pace, the defence shut him down but not before a clever chip over the top of the on-rushing defensive line allowed Joe Wastie, Reeds mobile flanker, to win the race to gather and touch the ball down, half time and Reeds were in an unlikely and tenuous ten-point lead 7-17. 

Eastleigh have a big set of forwards and that enabled them to rumble up the park and Reeds had problems checking the advance, but it was in those situations that George Corner earned his Man of the Match award, his turnovers were crucial to Reeds, he never knows when to stop battling. And at the base of the scrum Reeds had scrum half Ollie Palmer, he controlled the tempo of the game and delivered vital touch finders and box kicks when Reeds were in trouble, deep in their own half. Full back Josh Clark also found a number of booming touch-finders to keep Eastleigh at bay. Reeds on the attack, looked sharp and incisive, Pete Davidge has such awareness of when to open up the attacks, his clever distribution allowed centre Olly Savill, courtesy of a pop pass from Josh Clark, to cut an untouched oblique line through the Eastleigh centre pairing for Reeds third try – it was under the sticks and put Reeds into the box seat. 

Man of the Match George Corner

With three tries on the board, Reeds’ mood changed from a struggle to contain Eastleigh to a search for the bonus point try, it came from an attack launched from the ten-metre line, Winger Stegmann joined in the midfield looking for work, made ground and saw Moriarty already motoring just inside the touchline, one flat pass and Moriarty, a ruthless finisher, was over by the flag. 4 top notch scores. That might have been the end, but with the clock on red Eastleigh attacked and from Reeds 22, a ruck and a maul saw the ball stolen by flanker Alex Corner, he is such an exciting runner, quick with mesmerising footwork as well, and in support was the ubiquitous George Corner to receive the pass and run in from 50 meters to score another seven-pointer. It was a five try to one victory for Reeds, which, didn’t quite reflect the course of the game. 

Not the be out-done, Reeds 2nd XV also beat local rivals Cobham away 15-45 to record a great result in what has been a difficult start to the season given absences and cancellations. What great way for the 2nds to sign off for Xmas!

Next week Reeds are at home for a local derby against Old Tiffinians, Reeds won the away game by just five points in their away game early season. Kick Off 2:00pm.

George Spinks

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