Reeds Take Bulls By the Horns

RFU SENIOR VASE SEMI FINAL

REEDS WEYBRIDGE 61pts AYLESFORD BULLS 10pts

There was a pivotal moment in a hotly contested first half, it came on the stroke of half time, Reeds were leading by a couple of points, but were under pressure, defending on their five-metre line. There were a couple of set pieces that secured good possession for Aylesford, a wave of attacks hit the Reeds defenders but the Aylesford moves were broken with some ferocious tackles, possession was lost along with the chances of an Aylesford score that must have been a mental set back, whereas  Reeds could look forward to a second half, down the hill with a stiff breeze in their favour as well. Prior to that it was Reeds who had most of the territory, Pete Davidge, Reeds fly half such a meticulous play maker in concert with Ollie Palmer his half back partner, they launched Reeds powerful back division on a relentless series raids on the Aylesford line, quick hands with forwards and backs all involved had the visitors in trouble. With good continuity of play and a clear shape on their game, points had to come and it was the powerful running of winger Chris Stegmann who unlocked the Aylesford defence, he was fed the ball on the ten-metre line and burst through a couple of tackles for an unconverted try. But that slope and the wind were a significant advantage which Dion Comerford, the visiting fly half and no 9 Alan Knuckey exploited with some telling touchline finders that had Reeds in defensive mode in and around their 22 especially with the wind making the line outs problematic on a few occasions. Reeds secured the ball from a loose ruck but the clearance box kick was charged down and Comerford touched down under the sticks for a two-point lead. That lead didn’t last for too long, Reeds were on the attack, with Pete Davidge unleashing the back division, Aylesford fanned out to cover the danger on the wings but left a huge gap in the midfield, Davidge sprinted through and touched down for a converted try. Comerford, the Aylesford fly half narrowed the lead with a penalty but at the change round Reeds were in front by a couple of points, at 12-10,  and fancied their chances to increase the lead with the slope and breeze behind them. 

It didn’t take long, a couple of minutes after the restart saw centre Tom McLean break through the midfield, the omnipresent Joe Wastie took the move forward, he fed No 8 Alex Corner who crossed the line for a seven pointer. Aylesford were struggling to get any possession going forward, even when they did, they found themselves up against the uncompromising work of flanker Douw Styger, a destructive tackler and a real ball winner at the breakdown. Reeds were firmly in the box seat, attacking at pace from all parts of the park, when Tom McClean scythed through the Aylesford line to set up Joe Wastie for the fourth try of the day it was clear that there was no way back for Aylesford. Reeds have plenty of pace in their back division and a set of forwards that can run pass and tackle as well, it was all too much for the visitors. Ollie Palmer the scrum half, so clever at capitalising on pockets of space, took a quick penalty tap well within the Reeds half, he saw Chris Stegmann the young winger, unmarked and Stegmann was away, try line bound. In that last quarter Reeds fitness was a significant factor against a tiring defence, big holes began to appear and Reeds made the most of their quality ball, striking from all parts and showing impressive offloading skills. Reeds clocked up four more tries in that last quarter, courtesy of George Corner, Chris Stegmann (his third try), Tom McClean and Lewis Chance, nine in total without a second half response. Joint holders of the Man of the Match Award were Pete Davidge for his immaculate half back display and sixteen points haul and Douw Styger for his dynamic performance around the park together with his devastating eye watering tackles that forced so many spills.

Joint Man of the Match: Pete Davidge and Douw Styger

Reeds will now face West Norfolk in the Regional Final on March 14th with the venue to be decided.

Next weekend, it is back to League rugby, Reeds Weybridge are away to Basingstoke.

George Spinks 07860 394687  Feb 9th 2020