Match Report – Old Cryptians vs Reeds Weybridge RFC – 20-04-19

Reeds Win Away Against Cryptians to reach National Final at Twickenham

OLD CRYPTIANS 5pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 17pts RFU JUNIOR VASE NATIONAL SEMI FINAL

The prize for the winners of this pulsating encounter was an appearance in the final at Twickenham, the home of English rugby, unquestionably the biggest game in the history of both clubs.

Gloucester is the heartland of no-nonsense West-country rugby with a reputation for uncompromising forward play, Jake McMahon, the Cryptians head coach and player interviewed in the local paper promised to ‘give them (Reeds) a nice warm Gloucester welcome in the first ten minutes’.

That thought was perhaps based on the possibility that a young quick side from the leafy lanes of Surrey was going to be overwhelmed by the bone hard physicality of a Gloucester pack, but it didn’t quite turn out like that.

Cryptians certainly were a formidable presence but so were Reeds, it was their front row of Richard Philip, George Corner and Josh Brown along with a powerful second row who were the bedrock of Reeds victory, from the first scrum of the day they shunted the Cryptians pack around ruining their possession and giving those Reeds backs the ball going forward, just what Reeds wanted in the dry sunny conditions.

Pete Davidge, Reeds No 10 opened up the scoring with a long range penalty, with Reeds enjoying the majority of play and territory. If the first quarter belonged to Reeds however the second quarter belonged to Old Cryptians who were playing down the slope – indeed Reeds lead was short lived, with Reeds making a mess of the kick off Cryptians gathered the ball and drove play deep into Reeds territory, fired the ball out wide, and Reeds couldn’t stop speedy winger Dan Tyler as he crashed over just by the flag.

It was a tricky conversion attempt and crucially it drifted wide, that miss and a couple of other easier penalty shots later on were significant misses. That lead prompted a series of attacks on Reeds line via a series of driving mauls that battered the Reeds defence, but Reeds were always able to clear their line. Reeds were now stuck in their 22 and huge Cryptians forwards, coming onto the ball at pace were being driven backwards with some shuddering tackles that kept the try line intact. In one phase of play a strong run from the Cryptians powerful outside centre was stopped short inches from the line with the ball being dislodged over the line thanks to the combined efforts of Ollie Palmer & skipper Billy Maddock.

The message was clear, Cryptians were a huge danger with their driving play within Reeds territory, Reeds needed to stretch that Cryptians defence out in the wide open spaces. Chris Stegmann coming into the line with his searing pace tried to do just that and he and Tom McClean in particular caused all sorts of problems for the Cryptians defence but it was a try from the forwards that put Reeds into the lead.

Richard Phillip, such a powerhouse in the scrum, proved to be the instigator and it was his deft offload out in the wide channels that put away Alex Corner, the Reeds No 8, who unselfishly passed to his name sake George Corner the hooker in support to take the scoring pass for an unconverted try.

Reeds were now on the march and late in that first half there was just the suspicion that the heavier Cryptians side were beginning to feel the pace of the game and it took some last ditch tackles to keep their line secure.

At the change round, Reeds had the benefit of a gentle slope and continued the onslaught on the Cryptians line, enjoying most of the possession and territory for the rest of the game thanks in no small part to a dominant set piece with Reeds enjoying ascendancy in both the line out and scrum. Tom McLean in the midfield and then back rower Douw Styger almost broke free but were shut down just short of the line, Cryptians held out but inevitably conceded penalties, Pete Davidge was on deadly form, and he knocked over a couple of penalties to ensure Cryptians were going to need two scores to get back into the game.

It wasn’t a commanding lead, Reeds needed at least another try and so they laid siege to the Cryptians twenty two but Reeds couldn’t break that defence down. Stegmann’s surging runs almost brought more points and with less than ten minutes to go on the clock Reeds collected another three penalty points.

In those last moments Reeds skipper Billy Maddock made sure that possession was drilled deep into the Cryptians twenty two, confident that the Reeds defence could cover any break out.

No question that this was the toughest fixture Reeds have faced this season and the reward is a fixture at Twickenham against Thornensians from Yorkshire on Sunday May 5th.

One final word for Cryptians who were great hosts on the day and a credit to Gloucester Rugby.

George Spinks
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