Alleynians show their title challenging credentials

REEDS WEYBRIDGE 15 OLD ALLEYNIANS 25

A glance at the stats shows that Alleynians collected over thirty points in their early season games against both Ironsides, the league leaders, and Reeds – ample evidence if any were needed, that Reeds visitors last Saturday were going to present a significant challenge. Conditions were ideal for running rugby and both sides have the players capable of attacking from all parts of the park. Reeds were downhill in the first half, that advantage is usually the opportunity to drive the ball deep into the defending territory, fire the ball out wide and collect points. Billy Maddock, Reeds midfield enforcer was creating some big holes in the Alleynian defence, but Reeds could not recycle the possession quickly enough to create space out wide. However, when Alleynians did get their hands on the ball, they were a touch sharper in possession and they had the players to run the ball from unpromising situations and it was a series of quick offloads that put Will Malins, the winger in for a five pointer, (0-5) close to the flag. Reeds were probably shading the tight scrummage activity and they took up residence in the Alleynian 22. Skipper Herbie Finn, who is so brilliant in the loose, offloading as well as keeping the attack moving forward bashed his way over the line, aided by prop forward Lennan Day, for a seven pointer courtesy of Peter Cole and a narrow lead.(7-5) It didn’t last long, the Alleynian backs ran the ball from within their own half, Reeds cover was stretched and the No 8, Crouch, strode in on a smart line from a flat bullet pass for a try by the posts but the conversion was missed.(7-10) Reeds half back paring  of scrum half Ollie Palmer and 10, Josh Clark, have good instincts for gaps in the defence, and their swift and accurate distribution found Kitan Ojo the powerful outside centre, who was creating all sorts of problems for Alleynians, and he was the instigator of Reeds next try offloading after a break to Peter Cole who stepped his way over the line from short distance and Reeds were in for a five pointer (12-10).  Just on the break, following further Reeds pressure, Peter Cole, hoisted over a long-range penalty to extend Reeds narrow but slightly tenuous lead. (15-10). Reeds knew they had their work cut out to hold out Alleynians who were showing signs of outplaying Reeds especially with the speed of their breakdown service and their offloading game.

Alleynians had the slope at the change round and from the very start they set up camp in Reeds territory putting the home side under all sorts of pressure for long periods. Reeds have the best defensive record in the league and were able to hold out until late in the third quarter but they were living off scraps throughout the second half, losing their shape, and failing to number off accurately too frequently for comfort. It was only a matter of time before the dam was breached courtesy of Alleynians hooker, Alex Bidwell, who drove over from a strong rolling maul to touch down for an unconverted try to level the scores (15-15). As a side Reeds were under the pump and digging deep with debutant Chris Ralph and last week’s debutant Dom Woods doing their bit to stem the pressure but Alleynians had the backs to run the ball from all parts of the park and that had Reeds locked into the red zone for long periods, pinned down in defensive mode. It was winger Malins who broke the deadlock when Reeds cover was stretched and Malins crossed for his second try of the day to make it 15 – 20. Out wide Joe Moriarty Reeds winger is such an aggressive runner, and but for last ditch tackling almost got away from his man but it was not to be. It was the visitors who were able to work the ball away from the contact zones and keep Reeds pinned into defensive mode that earned them their points. Reeds kept going but Alleynians fifth try of the day came late on when winger Rory Holford, was on the end of a slick passing movement to seal the visitors win together with a five try bonus point, although all five tries went unconverted.  To compound matters, at the end Reeds had a chance to take 3 points and a losing bonus point but for some inexplicable reason chose to lay down a scrum in search of a consolation score which was not forthcoming.

Reeds Man of the Match award went to Kitan Ojo, a fiery competitor who was a constant threat to the Alleynian defence with his powerful thrusts through a crowded midfield.

Man of the Match Kitan Ojo (L), Debutant Chris Ralp (M), and last weeks debutant Dom Wood (R)

Man of the Match Kitan Ojo (L), Debutant Chris Ralp (M), and last weeks debutant Dom Wood (R)

Debutant Jacob Howe

Debutant Jacob Howe

Team: Lennon Day / Rhys Day / Josh Brown / Richard Philip / Dom Wood / Herbie Finn (capt) / Chris Ralph / Alex Corner (Vice Capt) / George Corner / Jacob Howe / Ollie Palmer / Josh Clark / Joe Moriarty / Billy Maddock / Kitan Ojo / Nick Brown / Peter Cole and Brad Robbins.

Reeds have a league free Saturday next weekend, and thus a chance to re-group. Their next league fixture ís against Medway Away on Saturday Feb 17th

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