REEDS WEYBRIDGE 36pts MERTON 10pts
When Reeds played Merton at home in the final game of last season they won by over 100 points so the team was confident going into the game especially with surprisingly favourable weather conditions following a torrential morning downpour.
Merton had clearly come to spoil the party however and for the first 5 minutes, courtesy of some uncharacteristic missed tackles, they were in the ascendency and took an early lead through a simple penalty conversion. That seemed to spur the home team into life and from the ensuing kick-off, and after multiple phase play, Reeds were awarded a penalty of their own which was converted by Pete Davidge. 7 minutes gone 3-3.
Reeds were starting into get into their game rhythm and within a few minutes and following some expansive play, with the ball being spun wide via a miss-pass move, Reeds winger Malcolm Harding ran onto the pass and beat two defenders to touch down in the corner. 8 – 3 Reeds after 11 minutes.
Reeds were now starting to play with some tempo and when not in possession of the ball operated a good press defence. A strong defensive effort saw Davidge the beneficiary as he intercepted a pass in the Merton back line to run in unopposed under the posts. 21 minutes gone, 15- 3 to Reeds.
Reeds were starting to enjoy themselves and following a move which took play from one side of the pitch to the other, Billy Maddock, Alex Keefe, & Alex Corner combined beautifully up the middle of the park through a series of short incisive passes for Corner to score under the posts. 32 minutes gone 22-3 to Reeds.
Strong defence contributed to the next score with Joe Moriarty making two quick tackles in succession resulting in a turn-over, Davidge kicked the ball away and a strong chase resulted in Corner tackling the Merton winger on their 10 meter line and intercepting a wayward pass from the tackled player which was duly popped to second row Simon Fozzard who broke quickly up-field to record Reeds 4th try and the bonus point on the stroke of half time. The metronomic Davidge then rubbed salt into the wound by striking a lovely conversion from out wide in off the post.
Half time 29-3 to Reeds
At half time the coaches and senior players talked about the need to continue to do the basics well, continue to manage the break-down, and put more width on the ball.
The second half started well for Reds with a lot of the action taking place in the Merton half however some stout defence, unfavourable refereeing decisions, and errors by Reeds meant the scoreboard remained untroubled for most of the quarter. Just before the 60 minute mark however, and after a raking touch finder kick Reeds won a penalty in the Merton 22 which they put nicely through the hands to send Harding over the line for his second try. 59 minutes gone, 36-3 Reeds.
At this point with some 20 minutes on the clock there was every chance that Reeds could really begin to turn the screw however as the half progressed Reeds began to fall foul of the referee and this coupled with some indiscipline, poor decision making at times, and a failure to stretch the game played into Merton’s hands. Some unnecessary chat back from the Reeds hooker resulted in Reeds playing the last 10 minutes with 14 men. Merton smelled their chance and following a number of close quarter catches and drives managed to barrel their way over from short range to secure a converted try.
Final score Reeds 36 Merton 10.
Played 2, 2 won and maximum points – job done.
Man of the Match: Simon Fozzard for his ‘top drawer’ all round performance, control of the line out, aggressive tackling, and work at the break-down.
Honourable mentions: The entire back row of Alex Keith, Will Ambidge, and Dom Wooldridge for their hard work and industry especially at the break-down, Pete Davidge as much for his defensive efforts as for his control of the game, Malcolm Harding for 2 smartly taken tries, and David Samuel for a commendable debut.
1. Rory Hardingham, 2. Toby Blyther, 3. Adam Smith, 4. Simon Fozard, 5. Alex Corner, 6. Alex Keefe, 7. Will Ambidge, 8. Dom Wooldridge, 9. Matt Connell, 10. Pete Davidge, 11. Chris Stegmann, 12.Joe Moriarty, 13. Billy Maddock, 14. Malcolm Harding, 15. Toby Drake. Subs: Ollie Savill, Davin Samuel & Max Penfold.