Reeds Do the Double Over Reigatians

OLD REIGATIANS 29 REEDS WEYBRIDGE 30

There was only one other game played in the league this weekend, and it was a finely balanced decision on whether this game should have been played with a decision outstanding until minutes before kick-off – something the ‘’powers that be’’ need to look at to ensure both player safety and consistency across the league going forward. Indeed, Reeds took the decision to pull their starting lock Simon Fozard due to concerns about the pitch exacerbating a previous major injury and had Cameron Goodwin the other starting lock unable to jump during the first half, having damaged his ankle as part of the warm up, when landing awkwardly on the solid surface.  Moving onto the match itself…

Perhaps that doubt about whether the fixture was on or off resulted in Reeds being slow out of the blocks and spending the first quarter of the game in their own half, locked into defence. Reeds just couldn’t get their hands on sufficient possession to create opportunities, and on a somewhat rare excursion into Reigatian territory, Peter Cole, Reeds fly half, slotted a routine penalty made easier by Reeds gaining another 10 meters for backchat, but it was the home side, roared on by a huge partisan crowd and their no 8, Dan Jones, who was making good ground with every carry who collected the first try. It came following a period of sustained pressure within Reeds 22 with No 7 Oli Brooks barged his way over for a seven pointer. Moments later, Reigatians were on the march again, rucks and mauls brought them into the 22 and it was Tom Woodford the Reigatian full back who came charging into the line for another converted try following a neat grubber kick by the Reigatian 10 that was dotted down in the dead ball area. Half an hour into the game and Reeds were beginning to get more quality ball especially from the tight scrums, Peter Cole banged over another penalty to make it 14 – 6 albeit some in the home crowd vocally criticised Reeds decision to take the 3 points that were on offer – the one-point win later showing the wisdom of this decision. Reeds were now back in the game and launching attacks from, within the Reigatian half, they drove play deep into Reigatian territory, with a neat back line move that was aggressively taken up by Joe Moriarty who drew the attention of 3 defenders before offloading to skipper Alex Corner who broke on an inside line to touch down near the sticks with Peter Cole collecting the extras. Reeds were now one point adrift at 14 – 13.

Reeds then lost Lennan Day to the bin and they were on the backfoot, the huge crowd got behind the home team who responded with a series of rucks and mauls that saw Joe Gregson, the lock forward, wrestle his way over. The conversion attempt went wide but at the change round, Reeds were six points adrift at 19 – 13 and still a man down with that earlier yellow card.

However, after the restart, it got worse, a yellow card for a tip tackle followed by a harsh yellow card decision, following a fair contest between two forwards going for a high ball had two other Reeds players sin binned. The home crowd were now in full swing, baying for blood, and acting as ‘’the 16th man’’ with the referee now consistently penalising Reeds. The classic response in these situations is to hunker down, kick for touch, delay the scrummages and run down the yellow card timing. But that didn’t happen, Reeds were stung into action and decided to open up the game and unleash their seriously quick backs. The adversity of having first one man and then two men in the bin, heralded a purple patch for Reeds. In the midfield they have Josh Clark and Billy Maddock who had spent most of the first half chopping down the Reigatian attacks out wide, they also have young Marcus Clark, who has the confidence of youth, to initiate movement from the most unpromising situations. His bewildering, mazy footwork combined with serious wheels can unlock defences, he instigated his move from deep within the Reeds half, the Reigatian cover couldn’t hold him and he was off up-field to run the length of the park and touch down for an unconverted try, Reeds were down by one point but back to full strength. They sensed that the Reigatian defence was vulnerable to unconventional attacks and it was Marcus Clark on fire again, as he slipped through a couple of tackles, drew the full back and fed Joe Moriarty the winger on an inside line for a five pointer and a tenuous four-point lead at 19 – 23. This was soon narrowed to a one-point lead when Reigatians came back with a penalty shot in front of the sticks. The game could have gone either way in the last quarter, in those circumstances Reeds have just the man for the job, George Corner, he has the skill and pace to play in almost any position on the park, he ripped the ball away from a loose maul, ignored the safe option out wide and set off on a fifty-metre run, Josh Clark continued the move and fed Joe Moriarty who collected his second try of the day, Peter Cole slotting a tricky but vital conversion for an eight point lead at 30 – 22. Reeds forwards and backs were now having a field day with powerful running lines from the likes of Lewis Jones interspersed with mesmeric back play. A chip kick and re-gather over the rushing Reigatian defence by Peter Cole initiated another coruscating move that was taken up by full back Ethan Taylor and stopped 5 meters short of the try line by desperate last ditch defending. But Reigatians weren’t done yet – back they came driving play into Reeds five metre zone, the forwards rumbled onwards with the backs joining in and touched down for a converted try, one point now separating the two sides at 29 – 30. Those last ten minutes were anxious times for both sides, a penalty would have given the home side the game but Reeds managed to see out the game and were pressing Reigatian in their own 22 when the home side went for broke and tried to break out only to be tackled into touch to signal the end of the game. Lastly, congratulations to the Reigatian players who after such a close defeat were gracious to a man.

Nigel Connell, Reeds Director of Rugby awarded the Man of the Match Award to Marcus Clark but gave massive credit to the whole team for their incredible performance in very difficult circumstances. He went on to say that earlier in the season he had identified three, pre-Christmas, away games, Colfeians, Ironsides, and Reigatians as presenting particularly formidable challenges to Reeds and yet his squad have now won all three.

Man of the Match, Marcus Clark
Man of the Match, Marcus Clark

Squad

Josh Brown / Rhys Day / Lennan Day / Kerran Beavis / George Corner / Cameron Goodwin / Simon Fozard / Michael Wasko / Lewis Jones / Alex Corner (capt) / Jonathon Lack / Peter Cole / Josh Clark / Joe Moriarty / Billy Maddock / Marcus Clark / Ethan Taylor / Jack Jesty

Next week it is the Presidents lunch at the club (see Adie Ricks for details) followed by a 2:00pm kick off against Farnham.

GS 11th Dec 2022