Reeds Batter Ironsides
REEDS WEYBRIDGE 32 BATTERSEA IRONSIDES 21
Ironsides have been playing their rugby in leagues higher than Reeds for many seasons, and this is the first time the two sides have met for thirty plus years. For Reeds this game was a proper test of whether or not they could compete at this level and they soundly answered that question with Ironsides only adding 14 points to their tally in the last 5 minutes when Reeds were down to 13 men for two yellow card offences.
Reeds were up the slope in the first half and they initiated a series of ferocious attacks on the Ironsides defence with strong carrying from skipper Herbie Finn, Cameron Goodwin and Lewis Jones in the forwards continually punching holes in Ironsides defence. That trio together with Michael Wasko, who led the assault from the back row with his abrasive power together with his ability to generate quick ruck ball was a nightmare for the Ironsides defence. Indeed, it was an outstanding display of controlled aggression and earned Wasko the Man of the Match award. With the Ironsides back row engaged, Reeds fired the ball out wide to the open spaces, where winger Joe Moriarty hit the line at pace, he is such a thunderous ball carrier with frightening acceleration, and with a smooth precise pass from young full back Ethan Taylor nobody was going to stop him ten metres out and he was over in the corner for a five-point lead. But the visitors responded soon after Reeds misjudged the collection of a high kick from the Ironsides winger which he caught in mid-air to put them down in Reeds 22. That attack was snuffed out by a great turnover but shortly after that quick hands put centre Alan Williams under the sticks, the Ironsides were two points in front. That aerial threat under the high ball was a warning for Reeds, they knew they had to shut down the possession to those lively Ironside backs. They did that with their dominance up front in the tight scrums where the two props, Kerran Beavis and Josh Brown and debutant hooker Rhys Day, shunted the visitors around all afternoon. Just on the change round, Ironsides conceded a penalty shot in front of the posts, Josh Clark banged over the conversion and Reeds were down the slope with their noses in front at 8 -7.
Following the turnaround, Reeds were now winning a lot of clean possession, skipper Herbie Finn and Cameron Goodwin are a couple of shrewd lineout operators, they produced a stream of quality ball and it led to Reeds second try, arguably the best of the day. The ball was spun across the back division with the speed of the passing outflanking the cover following a ‘dummy runner up the middle’’ move that had both centres bamboozled , young Ethan Taylor, the full back, who is such an outstanding line kicker and a sumptuous passer of the ball came thrusting into the line, an inch perfect pass and winger Marcus Clark was over by the flag. Reeds were on the march deep in Ironsides territory, Ethan Taylor put Joe Moriarty in for his second of the day following some shard interchange of passing down the narrow slide, but it was the next score that broke Ironsides. The visitors have a reputation for absolute commitment, whatever the odds, their back division made deep inroads into Reeds territory and were deep inside Reeds 22 metres from the line. However, the long-floated scoring pass was intercepted by Marcus Clark, he has an outstanding turn of pace, no one was going to catch him in the race for the try line and he was under the sticks for a seven pointer, it was the killer blow. Late on, Marcus Clark collected his hat trick after Ethan Taylor’s clever chip ahead bounced cruelly behind the defensive line for Clark to gather and score. At 32-7 perhaps Reeds lacked some concentration in the last fifteen minutes when they conceded two late tries for the visitors, but it underlined the fact that Ironsides are a class act and Reeds will have a tough afternoon for the reverse fixture. Max Marshall, was the referee for the afternoon, authoritative without being dominant, he controlled events splendidly for players and spectators alike.
Next week will be another difficult assignment for Reeds when they are at home to Old Reigatians. Reeds lost convincingly in the early game last season and slotted a last-minute conversion to draw the game at the end of last season.
Team sheet: Josh Brown, Rhys Day, Kerran Beavis, Lennan Day, Herbie Finn (capt), Cameron Goodwin, Douw Styger, Michael Wasko, Lewis Jones, Ross Stratton, Ollie Palmer, Matt Connell, Josh Clark, Joe Moriarty, Billy Maddock, Jonny Rogers, Marcus Clark, Ethan Taylor