Match Report Old Freemen vs Reeds Weybridge RFC, 20-10-2018
OLD FREEMEN 17pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 30pts – SURREY LEAGUE ONE
Mark Docherty the experienced London Society referee was in charge of this top of the table clash at Ashtead last Saturday, his imperturbable composure throughout was central to a thoroughly absorbing contest.
Neither side have lost in the league this season although Freemen had a twenty nine point draw with high flying Haileyburians.
The dry, sunny conditions were ideal for Reeds open style and they soon set up camp in Freemen territory, a loose ruck allowed No 8 Alex Corner to break away, Freemen thought they had him covered, but the big No 8 has a sidestep like a jack knife that left the defence for dead and the No 8 was under the sticks for a seven pointer, moments later, Reeds clocked up another three points when Pete Davidge the Reeds fly half banged over an easy penalty.
It got even worse for the hosts, there was a Freemen scrum deep in the Reeds twenty two and they were lined up to attack. However, up front, Reeds have a couple of powerhouses in Richard Phillip and Josh Brown who can inflict serious damage and they did for most of the afternoon, the Freemen scrum went rocking back, the ball came out on Reeds side, Ollie Palmer the scrum half stole away on the blind side and found young Chris Stegmann the winger in full flight down the touchline, he chipped over the defence, the ball bounced kindly and he was try line bound, the cover got him five metres out but there in support was flanker Joe Wastie to touch down.
Reeds, had seventeen points on the board in the first half an hour, it looked as if it was going to be a turkey shoot. Reeds have a detailed approach to every game but maybe that early dominance prompted a different strategy, whatever the reason, Freemen gradually worked themselves back into the game, Reeds midfield attacks, usually so potent, were blunted with some ferocious tackling led by Alan Old the Freemen skipper and prop forward Colin Russell, their work rattled Reeds, passes went down, Freemen saw more of the ball and they were soon on the score sheet, a lineout, twenty two metres out and Max Davis, the super quick scrum half stretched the defence to touch down by the flag. Reeds play a high octane style of rugby, attacking from unpromising situations when the opposition least expect it and that has been at the heart of their success during the past few seasons, but it can be high risk and late in that first half Reeds broke out of their twenty two, the attack looked good but Jordan Turton, the Freemen centre and interception specialist collected the ball in mid flight and was in for a converted try.
Just before the break, Reeds stretched their lead with a penalty but it was clear, with Reeds coming up the slope, that the second half was going to be a lot different from the first.
A big Freemen crowd was there to encourage their heroes and they soon responded, play was driven into Reeds twenty two, centre Jordan Turton broke away and touched down way out, three points between the two sides and Freemen knew they were right back in the game. Pete Davidge slotted a penalty to stretch the leads to six points but Freemen were on the march looking so dangerous in attack and with Reeds a touch nervous in defence everyone knew that a Freemen try close to the posts would almost certainly be a winning score.
But in those closing moments, Reeds struck, the ball was shunted out wide, but the move down the touchline was covered, flanker Joe Wastie, Reeds Man of the Match, flicked the ball inside and there was young James Botterill, he has explosive pace over ten metres and blistering speed after that, the defence couldn’t lay a hand on him and he was in by the flag, fly half Pete Davidge didn’t miss a kick all afternoon, including this one. Freemen coach John Moore commented that he was disappointed to have missed out on a losing bonus point so late on but was pleased that a collective Freemen defensive effort provided such a close game.
Man of the Match: Flanker Joe Wastie for a very composed and workmanlike performance throughout the game interspersed with a big hand in two of Reeds tries.
Next weekend Reeds 1st XV are at home to the Law Society. Early season they lost by just two points to Old Haileyburians but this weekend put fifty plus points on Old Wimbledonians.
George Spinks 07860 394687