OLD HAILEYBURIANS 14pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 8pts
Reeds Weybridge unbeaten league run came to halt on Saturday last when a determined and aggressive Haileyburian side, with well thought out game plan, blunted Reed fluid style.
Reeds were perhaps a touch slow out of the blocks in the first twenty minutes and they found themselves pinned down in their own 22 against a series of attacks from the midfield. A chip kick from the Haileyburian fly half saw Reeds in defence from a five metre lineout, Haileyburians in possession, set up a rolling maul and rumbled over for an unconverted try.
In territorial terms Haileyburians had the better of it and Reeds attempts to fire the ball wide were stopped with some thunderous midfield exchanges, Reeds open rugby style relies on getting the ball going forward, that didn’t happen and initiating attacks with the defenders in your face is not only difficult but it also provides opportunities for the opposition to counter attack.
Up front it was certainly Reeds day that saw the Haileyburian pack on retreat, Ben Lewis the veteran prop and the youngster Davin Samuel had a productive afternoon, Samuel is not the biggest of props, but immensely strong and a real handful in the loose. But Reeds were in defensive mode for long periods and almost inevitably that means penalties and Haileyburians extended their lead to eight points.
Just before the change round Reeds struck back, Peter Davidge, Reeds influential fly half gained possession deep in Haileyburian territory, he accelerated away and found young Chris Stegmann up in support, drew the defender and Stegmann touched down by the flag, one further penalty just on half time and the scores were level, however, this time Reeds had to face the Haileyburian slope.
But Reeds had other problems having lost two of their key players to injury, David Downey the hard tackling centre and Harry Ricks their dominant lock forward, those departures along with that slope proved to be significant.
Reeds found themselves defending for long periods, none better at that than their skipper Billy Maddock, when the chips are down you need the man in charge to show the way, in attack and defence, although it was mostly the latter, he did that, and despite Haileyburians having a real territorial advantage they only collected just the two penalties which was the difference between the two sides at the close.
Reeds collected a losing bonus point and are still top of the table but they will need to be on top of their game if they are to reverse the result when Haileyburians visit Whiteley Village at the end of the season. But before that Reeds have several other important league games to secure, with memories of last season still fresh in the minds when they were denied promotion when they lost a crucial game, by one point, to a side at the bottom of the table.
Reeds next fixture is on the 14th January, away to the Merton ground with its muddy sloping pitch