Reeds Prove Too Strong for Basingstoke

LONDON SOUTH WEST THREE

Reeds Weybridge 36 pts, Basingstoke 7 pts

Reeds crossed swords with Basingstoke for the first time last season, when they beat the Hampshire side 34-19 in the Junior Vase after trailing at half time and so were under no illusion as to the sort of challenge Basingstoke would pose them with their big well drilled forward pack. 

Unfortunately the weather was also poor, and despite the warnings about the need to ‘front up’ and ‘switch on’, the first 20 minutes belonged to the visitors who capitalised on a slow start from Reeds to take a 7-0 lead following a well worked move that saw their winger cross the try line out wide and their fly half convert well.  From there, Basingstoke continued to press and saw a penalty kick come off the upright. 

That action seemed to galvanise Reeds and the second quarter belonged to them with a penalty and 3 quick fire tries all coming from sustained possession and good levels of continuity in the poor conditions. By this stage forwards and backs were working well with the forwards running good straight lines sucking in defenders courtesy of the front 5 in particular Herbie Finn, Michael Wasko and Alex Corner alongside skipper Billy Maddock in the centres – all of which combined to create plenty of possession and space elsewhere. Reeds were also dominating the set piece which gave them good field position, the first score coming from a turnover at the line out with big lock Kerran Beavis first to the loose ball on the ground. From there, the ball was moved out wide and then back into midfield with Reeds no 8 Alex Corner picking a fine line to burst through the defence and offload out of the tackle for winger James Pompeii to pick up the ball from around his laces and sprint over the try line out wide. Straight from the kick off Reeds went on the attack with a box kick from Palmer and a turnover from Josh Brown allowing Reeds to march up field to the ‘Stoke 10 meter line. From there good front line out ball from Finn created room for winger Joe Moriarty on the peel from his wing to burst up through the congested midfield to take the ball into the Basingstoke 22. That was followed by a sniping run from scrum half Palmer at the break down which was taken on again by Reeds aggressive hooker George Corner to the try line leaving Josh Brown to finish off the move with a close quarter score. The final score of that all action quarter again emanated from mid-field where strong running from Alex Corner and lock Wasko took the ball to the ‘Stoke 5 m line where a scrum was awarded to Reeds. A short sharp incisive run from Alex Corner at 8 off the back of a dominant scrum saw Reeds go in at half time 22-7 up.        

The third quarter started well for Reeds but did not yield any further scores with ‘Stoke defending sternly, however during that period Reeds forwards enjoyed good success with a series of dominant scrums, line out catch and drives, and mauls really showing they could more than compete with their bigger opponents. Perhaps that was part of a further softening up process as the final quarter again belonged to Reeds with super-fast winger Rhys Lewis scoring 2 tries in quick succession the first from 75 meters out when Alex Corner took the ball off the back of a scrum, made good ground, and passed to Lewis for him to win the race to the try line to make it 29 – 7. Ten minutes later a kick to the corner following a penalty from a dominant scrum saw Lewis benefit from a slick backs move to slice through mid-field  on an arching run and dot down under the sticks. 36-7 and further scores looked on but in the conditions it was not to be with Reeds running out worthy winners against a durable but limited opposition who in fairness were missing a few of their key forwards.

Man of the match was loose head prop Josh Brown – it was given for his all-round performance, including a number of turnovers at key stages, try, and key role in a dominant forward pack.

Man of the Match: Josh Brown

Finally, congratulations to Michael Gormley, playing at 13, and making his return to the 1st after a number of years away and a big thanks to James Pompeii originally 19th man but whom played the game from the start – both had accomplished games.

Next week Reeds have a welcome break before resuming their campaign away at Portsmouth for what is already shaping up to be an opportunity to cement a top two spot.  

Mark Sukiennik 07919 275758.