Match Report – Old Walcountians vs Reeds Weybridge RFC – 8.12.18
Out for the Count – Reeds 2H come-back floors Counts
OLD WALCOUNTIANS 19pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 26pts
SURREY LEAGUE ONE
Reeds came back from a thirteen point deficit at half time following a slow start to record a narrow victory in a pulsating game, splendidly refereed by Nick Deere from the London Society.
Reeds knew from the statistics that they were up against one of the strongest sides in the league. Walcountians have collected the most bonus points of any side in the league, they haven’t lost a game by more than seven points and their defensive record is second only to the league leaders. Reeds, with the wind, slope and rain in their faces were in trouble right from the start, they made a mess of collecting the ball from the kick off and that resulted in them being pinned down five metres from their try-line facing a series of well-worked driving mauls, points had to come and it was Rob Fleming the hooker who bashed his way over from short distance. Reeds just couldn’t get their hands on the ball and when they did it was deep in their own territory, they launched several attacks from those positions but that impressive Walcountian defence kept Reeds in their own half.
Reeds were locked in defensive mode and they conceded a second try when Remy Claustres the big French forward bullocked his way over the line from another driving maul for a converted try. Reeds were in trouble and the partisan crowd were in full cry.
In the formal exchanges Reeds were doing well, up front hooker Toby Blyther was having a tremendous afternoon, so competitive in the tight scrummages and a real force in the loose, his work, that along with his unerring line out accuracy earned him the Man of the Match Award. However, it was well into that first half before Reeds managed to claw their way upfield and collect their first three penalty points from fly half Pete Davidge, it was a short lived respite as Walcountians extended their lead further when quick hands from a good backs move put winger Marvin Fletcher away out wide to touch down by the flag for a converted try.
Reeds were now sixteen points adrift but in the last ten minutes or so of that first half they battled their way into the Walcountians twenty two, Pete Davidge banged over a short range penalty and Josh Brown and Richard Philip a couple of wrecking ball prop forwards, hammered away from a few metres out. Reeds thought they had scored just before the whistle when Walcountians were reduced to 14 men, but a good score was not given by the unsighted referee. Whilst they didn’t succeed Reeds sensed they could get back into the game.
At first glance the gentle slope of the Walcountian ground does not seem significant, but add the driving wind and rain into the equation and it certainly was decisive, indeed Reeds second half fight back came when a clearance kick from the Walcountian defence was blown backwards and it was Alex Corner, Reeds No 8 who crossed for Reeds first try way out wide and Pete Davidge slotted a very difficult conversion.
Reeds were now imposing themselves physically on the opposition and were camped in the Walcountian half for most of the remainder of the match bar the odd flourish from the home side. Indeed, Reeds midfield defence led by the skipper Bill Maddock were delivering some shuddering tackles that just wouldn’t let Walcountians out. Reeds needed to unleash their quick men out wide and their two wingers, Dan Veale and Chris Stegmann have plenty of pace and they are elusive as well but that isn’t too easy in the mud. It was young Chris Stegmann who collected Reeds second try, he would have been nailed had he tried to run through the defender, but a shimmy in and out confused the full back and he was in for an unconverted try. Reeds were now just one point in deficit, they threw everything at the Walcountian defenders but handling was so difficult in the conditions but finally it was Joe Wastie the aggressive young flanker who crossed for Reeds decisive try.
It was just a four point lead but a dropped pass or a breakaway try could seal the game for either side, it was the reliable kicking skills of fly half Pete Davidge who converted a penalty late on that ensured that Walcountians would have to score a converted try to level the game, but the wind and rain together with Reeds defence made sure that didn’t happen.
Reeds Director of Rugby Nigel Connell commented that his side ‘had shown real character and resolve to come back from a three try deficit in very difficult playing conditions against a side with their tails up on their home patch’.
Man of the Match
Went to hooker Toby Blyther for his efforts in the tight scrummages his work in the loose, along with his unerring line out accuracy.
Reeds Weybridge next league fixture is against Chipstead at home on January 12th. Reeds secured an away victory in a feisty encounter earlier in the season.