Reeds Put the skids under ‘Stoke to make it 50 wins on the trot

LONDON SOUTH WEST THREE

BASINGSTOKE 12pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 37pts

The great thing about rugby is that one week the ball can be fizzing around the park in dry conditions and the next week you are faced with storm Dennis, complete with ferocious winds and lashing rain. You certainly wouldn’t want too many games in the weather that prevailed last Saturday and both sets of players must have thought there were better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. It was a real test of the moral fibre of the Reeds side as they were up against a big set of forwards who knew that the mud and rain were great levellers and if they could keep the ball tight it would negate the guile of Reeds back division. That is exactly what happened, Reeds hardly had sight of the ball in the first quarter and with a few errors also gifting ’Stoke field position their huge set of forwards pounded away at Reeds getting ever closer to the Reeds line. Reeds were in defensive mode just a few metres from their line, they stopped attack after attack in their tracks, but in doing so conceded a series of penalties and scrums which eventually led to a penalty try. Worse was to come, too many penalties in the red zone led to Toby Blyther, Reeds confrontational hooker spending ten minutes in the bin, soon joined by Reeds talismanic prop forward Josh Brown for an illegal no arms tackle. 

One measure of a team’s performance is how they react to adversity and even though down to 13 men Reeds tore into the Basingstoke pack and began to get some possession which allowed the half back pairing of young Matt Connell and Pete Davidge to unleash the back division. Forwards and backs were now combining well to probe deep into Basingstoke territory, the ‘Stoke defenders conceded a couple of penalties, Davidge banged them over, and Reeds were back in the game at 7-6. Reeds, playing into that howling wind in the first half had problems holding on to the ball, and a dropped pass allowed lock forward John Williams to boot the ball upfield and he won the race for the try line for an unconverted try. Reeds were now six points adrift, but they were seeing much more of the ball and looking dangerous as well as they began to get to grips with the conditions. It was Michael Wasko Reeds big lock forward who grabbed vital points just before the change round,  taking the ball on  a short line he burst through the first line of defence and whilst the cover thought they had stopped him he somehow wrestled his way out of the tackles and crashed over under the sticks for a seven pointer. Reeds now had a one point 12-13 lead and the wind behind them for the second half. 

A few high kicks bouncing around in the Basingstoke half soon had them in trouble, young Matt Connell darted away from the breakdown within the twenty-two and outpaced the cover to touch down by the flag – 12-18. Reeds were punting the ball up the park and the Basingstoke cover was struggling to contain the attacks. A great attacking back-line break by Reeds winger Ollie Savill touch down in the corner; this was followed by Alex Corner, the No 8 who was a constant threat, breaking away from the loose rucks and mauls and he collected the fourth try of the day which earned Reeds a vital bonus point. When skipper Billy Maddock bashed his way over for the fifth try of the day it was clear there was no way back for Basingstoke and with twenty minutes left on the clock and the weather worsening referee Drew Meakin suggested to both captains it would be sensible to call time. 

Reeds Weybridge Director of Rugby Nigel Connell commented that these games are a real test of leadership, and that this result, the fiftieth game without defeat, was an outstanding demonstration of the team spirit within the club.

Next week Reeds Weybridge are at home to Portsmouth.

George Spinks Feb 15th 2020

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