PRE SEASON FRIENDLY Reeds leave Fordingbridge floundering – 9th September 2017
REEDS WEYBRIDGE 57pts, Fordingbridge 17pts
Reeds, fresh from their pre-season win against Vandals, welcomed their Hampshire 1 opposition Fordingbridge, whom they first met two years ago in a closely contested game in the last 16 of the Junior Vase, to Whiteley village on an overcast but mainly dry day.
Both coaches were experimenting with the make ups of the sides in the run up to the regular season, with both Fordingbridge and Reeds missing a number of regular players in the forwards and both sides short in the hooker position.
Reeds were looking for a fast start and it came from an unexpected position. Reeds fumbled the kick off from Fordingbridge gifting the ball to their big second row who made easy yards into the Reeds 22. Reeds then gave away a penalty resulting in a line out to Fordingbridge on the 5m line which after a few phases of play resulted in turn over ball. Ollie Palmer the alert scrum half cleared the ball with a steepling up and under which was re-gathered around the 22, the ball was then shipped along the back line courtesy of Tony Adams with interplay in the wide channels between Pete Davidge and Chris Stegmann resulting in a speedy finish from Davidge to score by the posts. 3 minutes gone 7-0 Reeds.
This time the Fordingbridge restart was neatly fielded by Joe Wastie and following some smart interplay between forwards and backs Davidge unexpectedly switched the direction of play back to the short side allowing Jack McClean the mercurial outside centre to break through a number of half tackles and eventually score in the corner from a play that started 50 meters out. 5 minutes gone 12-0 to Reeds.
Fordingbridge continued to pressurise Reeds and hemmed them back in their half. Reeds again had the ball and were looking to move it along the line but a fumble by a forward in the back line resulted in the Fordingbridge no 10 hacking the ball forwards towards the try line. A tackle by the Reeds defence was adjudged to have been made on the player without the ball and a penalty try was awarded. 11 minutes gone 12-7.
From the kick off Reeds sought to make amends, and a shuddering tackle on the receiving Fordingbridge player drove both man and ball back into their 22. Fordingbridge sought relief by clearing the ball long but it was well fielded by the Reeds fullback Jonny Rogers who made good ground and went to ground in the tackle. Again Palmer moved the ball quickly from the base of the ensuing ruck and good interplay between Simon Fozard, Joe Moriarty and captain, Billy Maddock, saw the ball in Jack McClean hands. He neatly stepped in and then out to stand up his opposite number before passing the ball to speedy winger Stegmann who duly scored in the corner from 35 meters out. 20 minutes gone 17-7 to Reeds.
Reeds were now in full flow and continued pressure from the Reeds tight 5 and good work from its ‘new look’ front row of Sam Young, Rory Hardingham and debutant James Tooke in the scrums supported by second rows Adams and Adam Smith were creating problems for the Fordingbridge pack. A series of penalties and close quarter pick and go’s with the back row of George Corner, Joe Wastie and Fozard prominent soon saw the Fordingbridge line under sustained pressure. In a clever move, the point of attack was suddenly shifted and the ball shifted along the back line for McClean to score. 24-7 to Reeds after 24 minutes.
Fordingbridge’s relief from their long re-start was to be short lived and the ball was soon back in the ‘’red zone’’ with a series of Reeds scrums laying down a platform for the backs with Rogers at 15 taking the ball up on a nice line, handing off a man, and almost making the line. Again Palmer quickly re-cycled the ball for Tony Adams the big second row to take a short range crash ball and drive over the line. 31- 7 to Reeds with 31 minutes on the clock.
Reeds were now starting the dominate the contact area and a combination of very neat back line moves, good rucking, and penalty infringements from Fordingbridge saw Reeds camped back on the Fordingbridge 5 meter line. Following a series of drives however, stout defending from Fordingbridge took play back to their 22. Relief was fleeting however, and the ball was once again worked along the line with Maddock intelligently angling a neat grubber kick behind the on rushing defence for Moriarty to gather a potentially awkward ball on the outside of the cover defence and dot down. 36-7 to Reeds after 36 minutes.
Ollie Savill the Reeds centre, who was playing in the back row following an injury to Fozard, did a good job of fielding the ensuing re-start and spark a further set of close quarter driving thrusts where he was also prominent. With the Fordingbridge defence at sea Palmer the alert scrum half was able to sneak through a gap from close range to add another 7 points to the Reeds tally on the stroke of half time.
Half time 43-7 to Reeds.
The messages from the half time huddle were clear- Reeds needed to retain their shape and stick to their game plan, whilst taking advantage of the slope. With the game put to bed it was felt that there was also a chance for Reeds to practice some new moves.
The half started well for Reeds with the ball being moved back and forth across the pitch with ground being made each time and Toby Drake, the Reeds replacement scrum half, orchestrating moves neatly. Wingers Moriarty and Dan Connell, who had come on earlier in the game following injury to Stegmann, were heavily involved in helping to stretch play on both sides of the park. Again McClean had a big hand in the next score with a neat shimmy and outrageous dummy taking him past a number of Fordingbridge players and almost to the line. As he went to ground a neat pop pass saw Davidge who had run an intelligent support line gather the ball and score under the posts. 50 -7 to Reeds after 47 minutes.
The stage was set for a big score however lady luck however was not so accommodating and a sudden change in the weather coupled with a large number of unplanned for injuries saw Reeds play large parts of the remainder of second half with 13 / 14 men, having been down to 11 men at one point. The game and Reeds lost its shape somewhat and a quickly taken penalty from Fordingbridge underpinned by good drives from their 7 and 8 saw the scoreboard move on to 50-12.
Reeds kept to their task however an ensuing Fordingbridge line out was won by Savill who set off on a weaving run and pop a pass to Corner who made good ground into the heart of the 22. Again the ball was quickly re-cycled from the ensuing ruck and Wastie, on a straight charge, barrelled over. 57-12 to Reeds.
With injuries taking their toll Reeds were beginning to be stretched and Fordingbridge capitalised on this to score a long range try following a penalty and take the score to 57-17 at the 60 minute mark.
The last quarter saw Fordingbridge strive manfully to add further respectability to the scoreboard but Reeds’ depleted side bolstered by support from some second team players saw out a scoreless final quarter with all the back line including Connell putting in some good hits. The game came to a close with Reeds almost nicking another score at the death from a chip and chase to the corner.
Final Score 57-17 to Reeds.
Man of the match: Ollie Savill for a tremendous all round performance in a re-arranged pack with after some last minute changes.
Honourable mentions for George Corner and Joe Wastie for being very direct, both half backs (Ollie Palmer and Pete Davidge) and for controlling the game, the centre partnerships (Billy Maddock and Jack Mclean) and back three (Joe Moriarty, Chris Stegmann & Jonny Rogers) who are combining lethally and with continued improvement and understanding.
A big welcome to James Tooke in his debut game.
Next Up: Our league game in 2 weeks’ time away to Old Paulines on the 23 September and a chance to see how good this Reeds side really are in the context of the league.
Rory Hardingham, Adam Smith, James Tooke, Sam Young, Tony Adams, George Corner
Simon Fozard, Joe Wastie, Jonny Rogers, Billy Maddock (Captain), Pete Davidge,
Ollie Savill, Joe Moriarty, Dan Connell, Ollie Palmer, Toby Drake, Tom Mclean & Chris Stegmann.