Reeds Did Deep for the Win
GRAVESEND 17 REEDS WEYBRIDGE 21
This was always going to be one of Reeds most challenging fixtures, with a combination of a difficult and awkward away journey, to face a big and aggressive town side that has only lost once at home this season, and added to that, a large crowd of hostile, partisan supporters who were right behind their heroes throughout the game.
It was in these intimidating circumstances that Reeds, without one or two of their regulars, managed to grind out a narrow win. It would require every player to step up to the plate if they were to get the win, which they did. Up front Richard Phillip & Josh Brown, the front row forwards, made welcome returns to first team duties, and their presence and performances were crucial in denying quality ball from the set piece. It was Reeds who had the best of the territory in the early exchanges and Josh Clark, the fly half banged over a long-distance penalty to collect three points. It was a short-lived lead before Gravesend responded to equal the scores when Reeds strayed offside. Conceding penalties is never an exact science, but it cost Reeds several opportunities throughout the game as well as giving territorial advantage to Gravesend. Out wide Reeds had fielded young Marcus Clark, he has serious pace allied with dazzling feet, and importantly he is keen to take on the defence, he collected possession from some twenty metres out, the cover fanned out to shut him down but his remarkable pace took him over in the corner for an unconverted try to make it 3 – 8 to Reeds. There was a battle royal going on in the tight scrums and the lineouts and Reeds have some fiery players in both departments, Joe Wastie and Chuggs Wallis two young utility forwards who really enjoy the close encounters were vital elements in Reeds defence. Just before the change round Reeds were deep in Gravesend territory allowing Josh Clark to knock over another long-distance penalty leaving Reeds with an eight-point lead at the change round at 3 – 11.
Reeds were looking good to increase their lead soon after the restart, they dominated possession and territory but there was no way through a solid Gravesend defence and it was the home side that came right back into the game with a long-range penalty to make it 6 – 11. Joe Moriarty, Reeds powerful winger, back from injury, was causing all sorts of problems for the Gravesend defence, it was his strong running that gave the space for Matt Stevenson the centre to cross over for Reeds second try converted by Josh Clark to take them out to a lead of 6 – 18. However, Reeds conceded two quick penalties that left Reeds with a tentative six-point advantage at 12 – 18. Step forward Josh Clark with another nerveless penalty to stretch the lead again to nine points and 12 – 21. But there was more drama to come in those closing moments, Gravesend set up a rolling maul within ten metres of the line. To that point Reeds had defended the maul very well but this one was unstoppable and those big town forwards rumbled over for an unconverted try to bring them to within touching distance of Reeds. Gravesend needed another try to win the game but the clock was on red, Reeds secured the ball and hoisted it out of play.
Reeds Man of the Match was centre Stevenson, his ability to unleash attacks from unpromising situations together with his impressive defence qualities earned him his second award of the season.
Man of the Match Matt Stephenson
Team: Lennon Day / Rhys Day / Richard Phillips / Josh Brown / Herbie Finn / Michael Wasko / Joe Wastie / Alex Corner (Capt) / Chuggs Wallis / Ollie Palmer / Josh Clark / Joe Moriarty / Matt Stevenson / Billy Maddock / Marcus Clark / Jack Brady / Nick Browne
Next week Reeds welcome bottom side Sidcup for their first league visit to Reeds Weybridge ground
GS Nov 11th 2023