Reeds sign off 2021 – 22 season in Style

REEDS WEYBRIDGE 47 EASTLEIGH 27

Reeds hosted a special pre match lunch last Saturday, for the players and supporters of their 1981 ‘unbeaten’ side. That event, combined with the sunny weather attracted a huge partisan crowd to witness the last league game of the season. Reeds were already assured of promotion, but the packed touch line wanted to see their heroes running the ball around the park clocking up a hatful of points, however, their Hampshire visitors had other ideas. Reeds had won the toss and chose to defend the slope, it proved to be the right decision. Reeds, like many clubs at this time of the season, have a list of injured players as long as your arm, but Reeds have several players from their lower sides who have been strong contenders for first team appearances courtesy of our player pathway. Step forward young Ollie Tynedale the scrum half and Ross Stratton a dynamic back row player who were both selected for the senior fifteen for the first time. Eastleigh down the slope put Reeds under all sorts of pressure from the start, they had possession from the formal passages of play laying siege to Reeds line winning a series of penalties, the ball was fired out wide and the visiting winger was in by the flag for a five pointer.

Given that Reeds were in defensive mode, an attacking response seemed unlikely, but Reeds have players who have an eye for a gap from the most unpromising situations. Young Ollie Tyndale showed just that sort of flair when he darted away down the blindside, Joe Moriarty the winger took out a couple of defenders and it was centre Tudor Forbes who touched down way out, Pete Davidge banged the conversion over, quickly followed by a penalty and Reeds had a five-point lead against the run of play at 10 – 5. It was a short-lived lead, Eastleigh set up camp in Reeds red zone getting ever closer to the Reeds line, desperate defence in front of the sticks cost Reeds a penalty try and a man in the bin and the visitors were back in front and with plenty of possession, looking good for more securing a further try. At 10 – 17 perhaps the try of the afternoon came from another Reeds attack on the blindside. No 8 Alex Corner broke away from the 22, out-pacing his national league opposite number. A deft pass to Joe Moriarty took the move on, he was checked just short of the try line but flanker Joe Wastie coming in to the line at pace and running a clever supporting line touched down to make it 15 – 17.

That’s said, Reeds were under the cosh defending the slope and they conceded a fourth try and a penalty before the break and at the change round Reeds had a twelve-point deficit against a determined opposition at 15 – 27.

Come kick off Reeds kicked long anticipating a long-range return playing and Skipper Billy Maddock led the fight back, his inspirational leadership in just these circumstances, earned him the Man of the Match award. He drove through the midfield bouncing off defenders for a try under the posts. After less than 5 minutes of the second half, Reeds were on the march at 22 – 27, looking the fitter side, and attacking from all quarters. A misplaced clearance kick from the Eastleigh 10 following a smart wrap-around move was charged down by Tudor Forbes, a kindly bounce, and the centre was in under the sticks, it was a killer blow after a further 5 minutes that put Reeds two points in front at 29 – 27. Pete Davidge the No 10, piled on the agony with a penalty kick quickly followed by a another try from Billy Maddock, Eastleigh were twelve points adrift at 39 -27 – they could come back with a couple of scores and win the game but Reeds won a penalty in front of the sticks and Pete Davidge slotted the kick and that possibility was closed. Arguably, the most popular try of the game was the last one, Reeds had driven the ball close to the try line, quick hands from 18 year-old Ross Stratton to 2 XV skipper Tony Adams who in turn off-loaded to prop forward Richard Philip gave him some space and he crashed over for Reeds final try of the day.

Billy Maddock has been Reeds Weybridge first team skipper for the last six years since 2016 – the longest serving and most successful first team captain in the history of the club that has seen six league promotions in the past seven years.

From Left to Right – Debutant Ross Stratton – Billy Maddock – & Ollie Tyndale.

Reeds have secured promotion for next season, but as the league structure is under review and the future fixture list is undecided.

George Spinks March 27th 2022 07860 394687.