Reeds Downed by Poor Decision Making

REEDS WEYBRIDGE 12   FARNHAM 13

Reeds Weybridge were on a week-long high after their remarkable second half comeback against Beckenham last week, but a one-point loss against close rivals Farnham on Saturday showed that in rugby there is a roller coaster of peaks and troughs and it is how teams cope with these challenges that matters.

The loss – as well as the resulting in-game player injuries, which decimated Reeds already drastically re-shaped backline from the end of the first quarter onwards – was a bitter pill for both Reeds players and supporters to accept but it has to be put into perspective – Farnham are second in the league and a glance at the stats shows that Farnham, by some distance, have one of the best defensive records in the league. Further evidence of their abilities in that department were on show in their recent game against Horsham, the league leaders, Farnham went into a three-point lead early on and ended up winning the game without conceding a point.

Farnham’s defensive qualities were once again in demand for most of the game, and especially in the second half when Reeds were camped in Farnham territory for long periods without much reward with their forwards totally dominating in the tight.  On any other metric other than the scoreboard Reeds would have won – they had the vast majority of territory, and possession but contrived through a series of poor decisions as well as Farnham’s defence to squander their opportunities to win.

But it wasn’t like that in the first quarter, it was Farnham down the slope who were threatening the Reeds line with a series of rucks and mauls, quick fire passes out wide with the pace of the pass beating the cover and young Max Williams had the space to touch down in the corner. Reeds started to drag themselves back into the game but suffered injuries to three of their key backs depriving them of the attacking force of Kitan Ojo, Marcus Clark, and Peter Cole, their influential fly half, all of them being side-lined.

Even so in the tight scrums and lineouts Reeds were beginning to dominate proceedings, that provided opportunities for Reeds to strike, with Reeds equalising score coming from a well weighted flat cross field kick from Ethan Taylor who found himself playing at fly-half which dropped nicely into winger Jonathan Levitt’s hands and which saw him make yards up-field before a series of offloads saw found Alex Corner the big No 8 in support, and it was try time. The conversion went wide but it was an unconverted try apiece at the change round and Reeds had the slope in their favour.

Reeds were now shunting the tight scrums around at will, earning a series of penalties that saw successive yellow cards for the visitors. With that sort of dominance, it seemed that either a kick for a five-metre lineout or a series of 5 metre scrums would be the clear favourite for a forward rumble and seven points in the bag, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Reeds got sucked into a dogfight and ran a series tap and go’s that foundered on Farnham defence but which included two potential scores that were held up over the line. Indeed, it was the visitors who cleared their lines and drove play up-field and won a long-range, difficult, penalty which Toby Salmon slotted. It was against the run of play but that made the score 5 – 8. The Farnham backs were not seeing too much possession but were handful at times and a series of loose rucks close to Reeds line sucked in the cover with Farnham’s backline swinging back against the grain as a unit to create an overlap with Max Williams just managing to touch down in the corner for a five pointer and an eight point, two score lead, at 5 – 13.

Reeds responded by closing the gap following a series of driving mauls close to the Farnham line, that finally ended up with Josh Brown, the prop forward, who is such a powerful finisher, touching down under the sticks for a seven pointer. 12 – 13 but time was running out for Reeds with under five minutes left on the clock, Farnham however drove play into Reeds half, and then denied Reeds any chance of a long-range breakout. Job done.

Reeds Man of the Match was Luke Edwards who put in another big performance of tackles, carries and work in the loose rucks.

Reeds Man of the Match - Luke Edwards

Reeds Man of the Match – Luke Edwards

Team – Josh Brown / Rhys Day / Shannon Fullen / Lennan Day / Herbie Finn (capt) / Cameron Goodwin / Luke Edwards / Michael Wasko / Alex Corner / Ollie Tynedale / Peter Cole / Marcus Clark / Kitan Ojo / Josh Clark / Jonathan Levett / Ethan Taylor / Will Jones / Ross Stratton

Next week Reeds are at home to Old Colfeians K O 2:30

GS 07860 394687 26/2/23