Reeds Defence Wins the Day
REEDS WEYBRIDGE 18 OLD COLFEIANS 14
This was Colfeians first visit to Whiteley Village, they won the LSE2 league last year, although this year they are mid table and Reeds secured a narrow victory in the away game early season.
Reeds Weybridge have a track record of running the ball from all parts of the park, cruising around like sleek blue roadsters, but this wasn’t one of those days, they were locked into a dogfight against a powerful set of forwards and backs who set up camp in Reeds territory testing their morale and defensive capabilities. It was in those tense situations that you need a rugby street fighter, step forward flanker Michael Wasko, he earned his Man of the Match Award in some ferocious exchanges where time and again he secured possession from rucks and mauls, he was inspirational, breaking away from the five metre line, with the ball, when it seemed inevitable that the visitors would score. It was Reeds up the slope in the first half who went into a five point lead following a sublime cross filed chip ahead from full back Ethan Taylor, Jonathan Levett the strong running winger snapped up the awkward bounce and was in by the flag. 5- 0 Reeds but it was a short- lived lead, Chris Harris the visiting No 10, hoisted a huge touch finder downfield, Colfes won possession and set up a drive for the line and Olapido Aryio the big prop forward rumbled over for a seven pointer. Reeds responded with some powerful runs, not least from Lewis Jones, who constantly broke the gain line but try as they might they couldn’t break down Colfes defence and Reeds were adrift by a couple of points – 5 – 7 at the change round, albeit now they had the slope in their favour.
Reeds greater stamina aided by the slope meant they were now shunting the Colfes tight scrum backwards, that led to penalties, one of them was under the sticks and whilst tempting to elect for the pushover try Reeds opted for the safe three points and a one-point lead at 8 – 7 rather than the riskier alternatives. However, it was Colfes who soon hit back by way of their big forwards, they laid siege to Reeds defence, a series of hotly contested rucks close to Reeds line and a forward rumble secured a seven pointer and the visitors had a six-point lead at 8 – 14. That slope, Reeds dominance in the tight scrums and their fitness allowed them to fire the ball out wide to their quick men and in a lovely move involving forwards and backs Jonathan Levett, who is a potent finisher with some serious wheels, was given the ball some thirty metres out, just inside the touchline with the cover fanning across, he bounced off a couple of defenders and was in by the flag, the conversion went astray but Reeds still had a one point deficit at 13 – 14. In some previous games, Reeds have been on the wrong end of the penalty count, but not in this game, it was the visitors who gave away field possession straying offside, that allowed Jonny Rogers the fly half to continually bang the ball down to the red zone with Reeds keeping pressure on Colfes. Colfes responded by clearing their lines but Matt Stevenson, debuting at scrum half, then neatly kicked ahead and chased up his own kick to tackle the Colfes full back over the line resulting in a 5m scrum to Reeds and yet more pressure. Reeds then secured a line out and Herbie Finn, Reeds skipper, secured the ball and fed prop forward Josh Brown, he is deadly in those situations, head down and at daisy height he drove over the line for the try to make it 18 – 14. It was a four-point lead and there was six minutes on the clock. Colfes threw everything at Reeds, they came so close, young Matt Stevenson Reeds scrum half was at the heart of the defensive work with his swift and accurate distribution, but it was that uncompromising defensive work from the Reeds pack in particular and especially skipper Finn, the Day brothers, George Corner, and Michael Wasko, Reeds forwards at the breakdowns that just prevented the visitors from crossing the line.
Rob Hitch, the London Society referee was in charge of affairs, his consistent calm authority ensured an enjoyable game of rugby for players and spectators alike.
Nigel Connell, Reeds Director of Rugby commented afterwards that Colfeians had presented a formidable challenge up front and Reeds had responded with a gutsy performance that secured the win. As a result, Reeds can now finish the league campaign no lower than 3rd which given their dreadful run of injuries across almost the entire season is an excellent outcome.
Man of the Match – Michael Wasko
Team: Josh Brown / Rhys Day / Lennan Day / Herbie Finn (capt) / Cameron Goodwin / Simon Fozard / Michael Wasko / Alex Corner / Lewis Jones / Ross Stratton / George Corner / Matt Stevenson / Jonny Rogers / Will Jones / Josh Clark / Billy Maddock / Jonathan Levett / Ethan Taylor
Next weekend Reeds pay their first visit to Old Dartfordians for their final league game of the season.
GS 07860 394687
March 5th 2023