Reeds put the skids under Pompey in appalling conditions
LONDON SOUTH WEST THREE
PORTSMOUTH 10pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 25pts
The prospect of travelling to Reeds most distant league fixture, to face a big aggressive town side, in lashing rain, on a quagmire of a pitch cannot have been high on the Reeds players wish list, to come away from that experience with a bonus point win says plenty about the leadership qualities of the side and the spirit of the players. That was evident early on when Michael Wasko, the lock forward, collected a high kick and headed, in rugby league style, right in to the heartland of those big Portsmouth forwards – that set the tone of the game, his awesome performance alongside his fellow lock forward Herbie Finn earned Wasko, the Man of the Match Award.
Reeds love to run the ball around the park, and they have the players to do it as well, but mud is a great leveller and it wasn’t the day for too much open play. Having said that it was an exquisite handling movement that provided the first score for Reeds, fly half Pete Davidge fired the ball out wide, quick hands and skipper Billy Maddock outpaced the cover for the touch-down with Davidge collecting the extras from way out. The winner of this game was going to be the side that made the least mistakes, an important one came from the Pompey winger who thought he had side footed the ball into touch, it didn’t, it hit Reeds big winger Joe Moriarty and bounced kindly, Moriarty hoofed the ball upfield and won the race to the try line. A two try lead was not a fair reflection of the territorial percentages, Pompey were always looking dangerous up front and it was that department that brought them their only try of the day, they generated a huge shunt from ten metres out, if you are on the slide in those conditions there isn’t much you can do about it and Pompey rumbled over for a seven point reply and that is how the scoreboard remained until the change round.
Soon after the restart Pompey were awarded a penalty that bounced in off the upright, it was a two point game and one that could have gone either way. Reeds scrum half Ollie Palmer can read the game so well, full of energy and presence, he had the home side in all sorts of trouble with some finely judged box kicks, forcing Pompey to run out of their own half, not easy in the mud. Pete Davidge stretched the score line to a five point lead at 10-15 when he banged over a penalty for offside in the midfield. But the killer try was initiated by centre and skipper Billy Maddock, he was in open space and had the chance to run the ball but he chose to launch a speculative kick to the touchline, centre Tom McClean was after it, he collected the ball just inside the touchline, the cover fanned out to bang him into touch, no chance, a dip of the shoulder and the defender was left for dead and McLean was in by the flag. It was a ten point lead and Pompey had as many minutes on the clock to come back, it didn’t look likely. With a couple of minutes left, Reeds were awarded a kickable penalty but a fourth try would bring a bonus point and Reeds went for it. They fired the ball out wide, no space there, they attacked down the blindside and it was Wasko with a huge charge for the line that collected the points.
This was a significant win for Reeds, collecting a bonus point win in desperate weather conditions against a formidable Pompey side, and it puts daylight between Reeds and 4th in the table.
Michael Wasko – Man of the match