Reeds Dethrone Table-Topping Reigatians

REEDS WEYBRIDGE 29 OLD REIGATIANS 22

It was President’s lunch day, last Saturday, down at Reeds Weybridge attractive Whiteley Village ground, those lunch guests joined a packed touchline of spectators who witnessed a thoroughly entertaining game of open rugby, with the result in doubt until the final whistle. It was a top of the table clash with Reigatians having won their last six games and just ahead of Reeds in the table. Reeds are on a winning streak, as well, they haven’t lost since early December and clocked up a win against a strong Beckenham side last week. Their win this week meant that on two consecutive weekends they have beaten the team at the top of the league – no mean feat by any standards.

The visitors went behind when they made a terrible mess of the opening kick of the game, Reeds skipper, Herbie Finn, who was such a dominant feature of Reeds forwards throughout, wrestled the ball clear from the maul, found No 8 Alex Corner in support who was try line bound and Reeds had five points in the bag all in less than a minute. Reeds were full of confidence and during those early stages were in the ascendancy, but Reigatians defence out wide was excellent, and they were able to repel those early backline attacks. Indeed, that early reverse didn’t inhibit Reigatians willingness to run the ball at every opportunity, even from the most unpromising situations. It was the quick hands and pace from Max Coyle allowed him to exploit just a metre of space and, quick as a flash, he was through the middle of Reeds defence with a neat offload to Alex Skinner to go over the whitewash in front of the sticks to make it 5 – 7. Up front, Reeds had the bigger men and were in the ascendancy at all facets of the set piece they shunted the scrums around all afternoon and won a string of lineout possession – both theirs and Reigatians – through skipper Finn, Alex Corner, and Cam Goodwin. However, Reigatians probably had the best of the breakdowns, and were smoother in attack in the first half, and keen to exploit the opportunities of the broken play and that allowed Max Coyle to sidestep his way through the Reeds cover defence which was dog-legged for an individual try in the corner that put his side into a nine point lead at 5 – 14 following a good touchline conversion from full back Connor Woods.

Reeds needed to hit back especially at they were playing down the slope. Queue Jack Jesty, Reeds No 10, who banged over a long-range but straightforward penalty, to narrow the lead 8 -14. Further pressure from Reeds saw them take play deep into Reigatians 22 with Kitan Ojo, Reeds strong running winger, the creator of Reeds next score offloading out of the tackle close to the try line to allow Lennan Day, Reeds rampaging front row forward, to collect the ball and dive over the try line. He isn’t the biggest prop in the business, but he has such abrasive power and determination, and is so difficult to handle when he takes contact, his overall performance earned him the Man of the Match award. It was a well worked score that put Reeds into a narrow one-point lead at 15-14 but now they had to go up the slope in the second half.

Set piece possession is one of the key elements of successful rugby, and the increasing dominance that Reeds exerted by way of the scrums and the lineouts was putting the Reigatian defence under prolonged examination as the game went on. Added to that at half time Reeds determined to put renewed focus on the break-down and play a more structured the game supported by excellent box kicking. Those facets allowed Reeds to mount attacks from all quarters and also retain possession. Up front the forwards were making good ground in contact and out wideout wide, Kitan Ojo and Joe Moriarty, the two wingers, both of them thunderous ball carriers with frightening acceleration as well, caused all sorts of problems for the Reigatian defence. Reeds were able to set up camp in the red zone. A series of drives from Reeds forwards had the visitors locked into defensive mode, eventually they ran out of numbers and another neat offload from senior forward Josh Brown saw Riley Milsom, the back row forward, bulldozed his way over the line for a seven pointer and an eight-point lead at 22 – 14. Reigatians were not done however, and that lead was soon under threat, those quick Reigatian backs launched an attack deep into Reeds territory, an interception attempt by the Reeds backs was adjudged illegal and they had a man in the bin, Reigatians slotted the ensuing penalty narrowing the lead to five points. The visitors were soon on level terms, they forced a lineout on the five-metre line, Sam Foreman the flanker collected the possession and drove over the line, the conversion drifted wide, but it was twenty-two points apiece. With ten minutes left on the clock Reeds back division were on the march in the Reigatian red zone, a series of loose mauls, with back row drives for the line resulted in George Corner, the back row forward, breaking through the middle of a ruck to touch down for a seven point lead at 29 – 22. Reigatians, so nearly had the chance to draw the game in the last minutes, the Reigatian backline broke once again down the middle of the park but a thunderous tackle by Reeds full-back Peter Cole ended the threat, There was a battle for the possession on the 5 meter line, Reigatians were pinged for a holding on  following a turnover by hooker Rhys Day, and Reeds hammered the ball out of play to close out the game.

Man of the Match Lennan Day

Man of the Match Lennan Day

The touchline crowd at Whiteley was the biggest for some years and they were treated to an outstanding display of open running rugby between two evenly matched sides with the result in doubt until the final whistle.

Team: Lennon Day / Rhys Day / Josh Brown /Richard Philip / Cameron Goodwin / Herbie Finn (Capt) / Riley Milsom / Alex Corner (Vice Capt) / George Corner / Chuggs Wallis / Ollie Palmer / Josh Clark / Joe Moriarty / Billy Maddock / Matt Stevenson / Kitan Ojo / Jack Jesty / Peter Cole

Reeds have a one week break from League rugby, their next game is against the league leaders, Battersea Ironsides, away on January 27th.

GS 07860 394687 Jan 13th, 2024