SURREY LEAGUE TWO
OLD PAULINES 11pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 53pts
Tom Roberts, Paulines club captain must have wondered what happened to his men in the second half of the opening league match of the season. In the first half, it was Paulines who were certainly in charge, Reeds were under pressure in the tight, their line outs were uncertain and it was big Rob Rayner the Pauline lock who was providing quality ball for the attacks and in the loose the marauding Paulines always secured their own ball.
All that meant Reeds were starved of any possession, they just couldn’t get their hands on the ball leaving Paulines to camp within Reeds 22 allowing Tim Morris the Pauline No 10 to launch a series of moves on the Reeds line. The fact that Reeds were able to keep their line secure was down to some major defensive work from the Reeds back row and some stunning midfield tackles from skipper Billy Maddock and his centre partner Tom McClean. When Reeds did get some possession, they looked dangerous and in one visit to Pauline territory, Pete Davidge banged over a penalty, it was a short lived lead as Paulines responded with two penalties of their own, and that is how it was at half time.
The change in Reeds fortunes came immediately after the restart with a scrum awarded to Paulines, however Reeds who had been under the cosh in that department generated a huge shove which rocked Paulines backward at a rate of knots and gave Reeds the ball going forwards, that in turn unleashed their back division.
Now Reeds have some serious pace out there, but it was the mazy running of Tom McClean that unlocked the midfield and put young Chris Stegmann away down the wing for the first try. Reeds in possession were beginning to cause all sorts of problems for the Pauline defence, particularly when full back Johnny Rogers came knifing into the line, it was his killer off load that put Chris Stegmann in for his second try of the day. Ollie Palmer, Reeds scrum half was up in support for the third try of the day and Reeds were in the box seat. Paulines problems became worse when they lost two of their key players to injury, one of them their talented fly half Tom Morris.
Reeds decided to run the ball from all parts, penalties as well and that really opened the floodgates. When Johnny Rogers collected bonus point try No 4 there was no way back for the hosts and Reeds made the most of their possession collecting another four tries by the close, one of them from their ubiquitous front row forward Adam Smith who had such an outstanding afternoon. Paulines crossed for one try late on but it was undoubtedly a game of two halves, a change up front in the Paulines pack together with some half time advice from Reeds forwards coaches was significant and maybe an element of Reeds youngsters fitness may have been factors.
Next week Reeds face Old Haileyburians at home, Haileyburians were league winners last season with victories over Reeds home and away.