Match Report Reeds Weybridge RFC vs Ashford Kent 02-02-19
RFU Junior Vase 4th Round – Reeds sink high flying Ashford
RWRFC 53, Ashford 20
Two sides at the top of their respective County leagues met at Whiteley Village last Saturday to decide who would progress into the fifth round of the Junior Vase. Ashford, based deep in the Kent countryside have had their most successful season for many years, clocking up almost 800 points and conceding less than a hundred.
Reeds at the top of Surrey one have had a good season as well, but nothing to equal the Ashford results. Reeds anticipated that their visitors would arrive with a big powerful and aggressive set of forwards and the Ashford pack certainly deserved that billing boasting a few players who had played much higher up the league system.
However, although Reeds couldn’t match the Ashford forwards in size, they do have a powerhouse up front, Josh Brown, George Corner and Richard Philip scrummaging technique had the town side shunting backwards, Reeds were quicker around the park, comfortable with the ball in hand, fitter as well.
But it was the Reeds backs, orchestrated by fly half Pete Davidge who were so impressive, early on Reeds were deep in their own half, the ball was fired out wide and young Chris Stegmann, the winger, big and strong, set off on a mazy arcing run, he was checked some ten metres out but Dan Veale was on his shoulder to take the scoring pass. Moments later, Stegmann was in action again, attacking deep from within Reeds territory, and in an identical move full back Jonny Rogers bashed his way over the line.
Pete Davidge collected the extras with two long range conversions and Reeds were two tries up without reply. That unexpected reverse heralded a fight back from the powerful Ashford pack, they set up camp in Reeds twenty and hammered away at the line but they just couldn’t break Reeds defensive wall.
Indeed Reeds spurned several chances to clear their lines and brought increasing pressure on themselves conceding a series of penalties as they strayed offside. Ashford converted one of them but decided that that they had better chances with rolling mauls from five metres out, they came so close but couldn’t get over the line. Perhaps in desperation they fired the ball out wide, but that had disastrous consequences, a loose pass from the visitors within ten metres of the line was intercepted, following blistering line speed, by young Stegmann who then ran the length of the field to touch down under the sticks, it was a killer, morale sapping blow, for the visitors who had been so close to scoring themselves.
At the change round, Ashford had the slope but they were three tries adrift, and 21-3 down.
Soon after the restart, Chris Stegmann collected his second try of the day, forty metres out, he had three defenders to beat, but he is lethal in attack and sliced through the defence for Reeds fourth score.
With four tries in the bag Reeds ran everything, Jonny Rogers the elegant full back, such a brilliant attacking player came into the line stretching the town side from one side of the pitch to the other, gaps appeared and it was Olly Savill the flanker, who has such natural ability he can play in almost any position on the park, crashed over for number five.
Mid way through that second half Reeds brought on James Botterill their teenage winger, he has dazzling attacking skills, quick feet and serious pace, he was soon on the score sheet after a fifty metre race for the line.
Tom McClean, the centre collected the seventh try of the afternoon and Reeds had fifty points on the board. In that last quarter there was a flurry of yellow cards as a degree of ill temper crept into the game which in turn disrupted play, Ashford grabbed three late tries in the last few minutes when Reeds were down to 13 men but it was a lost cause.
Director of Rugby Nigel Connell was delighted with the result and whilst praising all the players singled out two for joint Man if the Match – Chris Stegmann, who was on fire from the opening moments, he was a formidable attacking presence, grabbing two tries and was the instigator of at least one other and prop forward Josh Brown for his inspirational contribution leadership over the course of the game.
The draw for the next round of the Junior Vase will take place on Wednesday February 6th with the semi-finals to be played on February 23rd. Next week Reeds are back to League rugby, they will be at home in Whiteley Village to Old Freemen, one of their oldest fixtures.