Match Report – Reeds Weybridge RFC vs Old Haileyburians – 03.11.2018
A huge crowd turned out at Ruxley Lane for this top of the table clash between two unbeaten sides and they were rewarded with a full on display of open rugby from both sides.
Scrum half James Wilson is in charge of OH’s this season and he took his men down the slope in the first half with the wind in his favour and they were soon in front when centre Matt Williamson broke free in the midfield and outpaced the cover to touch down by the sticks, Will Taylor collected the extras and Reeds were seven points adrift, but not for long.
Up front Reeds have a sizeable pack, they can scrummage with the best of them and just as importantly they are good ball carriers as well and it was superiority in those departments that were the bedrock of the eventual victory. The OH’s pack was being shunted around at a rate of knots and that meant that any possession they got was on the back foot with the OH backs struggling to get into the game.
Reeds fly half Pete Davidge narrowed the gap with a penalty but it was lock forward Herbie Finn who put Reeds in front. Rugby fans love to see a big man on the move and young Finn has serious pace and power and in a fifty metre chase for the line he brushed off a series of tackles to touch down under the posts, Pete Davidge banged over the conversion to put his men in front. Reeds have the best defence record in the league, with the backs and flankers tight up on the offside line, but sometimes they get pinged for it, on Saturday they certainly were on the losing side of the penalty count and that allowed OH’s Will Taylor to collect three points to equal the scores.
However just before the change round, Pete Davidge put Reeds in front with another successful penalty, but now Reeds had the advantage of the slope and the wind and they were looking the fitter side in what was a high tempo game. Up front Reeds Josh Brown and Richard Philip were creating all sorts of problems for the Haileyburian defence with some punishing runs along with the two locks Finn and Michael Wasco and hooker George Corner, who is such a grafter, comfortable with the ball in hand and so influential in defence.
Reeds were on the attack in all departments, in the midfield they have the power of skipper Billy Maddock and an initial defence busting thrust gave his outside centre Tom McClean just enough space to kick off, his sidestepping runs had the OH’s defence in real trouble and Reeds were soon camped in Haileyburian territory.
Points had to come and it was from McLean who burst through the defence, Reeds had a ten point lead and were looking good for more. OH’s, out-gunned up front were in defensive mode but it was McClean, such a mazy runner and very difficult to stop in full flight who crossed for the third try of the day and earn himself the Man of the Match Award.
But Reeds were on the hunt for a bonus point fourth try, it was initiated by young winger James Botterill who is always looking to attack from all parts of the park, he set off some fifty metres out, he was checked, but outside him were two other quick men, fly half Davidge and winger Dan Veale, they exchanged pin point accurate passes and Veale was in by the flag. That result puts Reeds on top of league with a seven point cushion between them and chasing Haileyburians.
Man of the Match:
Tom Mcclean who put in a fantastic all round shift both in defence and attack where his potent side-stepping resulted in two game defining two tries and created uncertainty in the OH defensive line.
Honourable mentions for Herbie Finn & Michael Wasco who both put in massive shifts, along with the back row of Ollie Savill, and Charlie Bolton who were playing out of position along with Kerran Beavis who had a mature game after a very long injury layoff.
Reeds are away to unbeaten Basingstoke, league leaders in the Hampshire Premier league, in the second round of the RFU Junior Vase.
Reeds next Surrey 1 league game is against Old Wimbledonians who visit Reeds on November 17th and on December 1st, local rivals Weybridge Vandals will be at Whiteley Village for what is sure to be a significant challenge.