Reeds Finish League Season on a Downer

SUTTON & EPSOM 12 REEDS WEYBRIDGE 10

Reeds finished a very poor mid table this season – something that they have not experienced before – and will need to regroup for the Cup and take more meaningful action to address during the off season. Onto the game itself…. with the clock showing three minutes left, and the level scores at seven apiece in what was a combative but low-quality affair marred by the elements and the constant whistle of the referee some of which was merited some of which not, Pete Cole, the Reeds full back, banged over a penalty in front of the sticks to give Reeds a three-point lead. From the restart, Reeds conceded a penalty from the ‘final play’ when Reeds felt they should have been the recipient of a penalty for a high tackle, a Sutton kick into the five-metre zone, a lineout and a couple of plays later the Sutton pack rumbled over for a five pointer, heartbreak for Reeds. In terms of league table positions it was a blow, as well as in terms of morale and confidence. Early on, it was the windy conditions that dominated the scene, it allowed Sutton to take up residence in Reeds red zone for the first quarter of the game and the Reeds management will take huge comfort from the fact that their defensive qualities were under huge pressure and conceded just the one try when down to 14 men. Up front in the tight scrummages it was Reeds two Day brothers, and Harry Ring who shunted the Sutton pack around for most of the day until late substitutions seemed to swing scrum dominance in the home side’s favour. Herbie Finn, Reeds skipper won some ball from the lineout which did not functional as well as normal on the day – and was a big presence in the loose, he is such an uncompromising ball carrier. No 9, Ollie Palmer was firing out a stream of swift and accurate long-range passes to Jack Jesty to unleash the silky skills of Josh Clark and the rest of the backs albeit sadly for Reeds not frequently enough in the wider channels. However, it was the backs work aided by an injection of pace into the line by Peter Cole that put winger Matt Stevenson away on the half way line and he touched down for a seven pointer under the sticks to level the scores at half time. Now Reeds had the wind in their favour and play was concentrated initially deep in Sutton territory. Reeds came so close on one of two occasions with winger Marcus Clark stopped just short, but it was the breakdown areas when in attack where Reeds had problems and which interrupted their flow. It is always something of a grey area, and Reeds back row are arch poachers in that department, brilliant at seizing opportunities to attack, however, you are reliant on the man with the whistle to pass judgement on fine margins and last Saturday Reeds conceded too many penalties which cost them territory in a game where there on the day there wasn’t too much to choose between the two sides. So, to those final three minutes of play, where a lapse of concentration at the restart allowed Sutton back in the game.

Josh Clark, the centre was awarded the Man of the Match award, his pace, combined with his ability to capitalise on pockets of space, with delicate chips and grubbers are such an important part of Reeds attacks.

Man of the Match Josh Clark

Man of the Match Josh Clark

Nigel Connell, Reeds Director of Rugby commented afterwards that the side must learn the lessons from the Sutton experience and that the midweek training session will be an important part of the preparation for Reeds visit to the London Irish Wild Geese ground at Sunbury, for the first round of the Papa John Community Cup.

Team: Lennon Day / Rhys Day / Harry Ring / Herbie Finn (skipper) / Michael Wasko / George Corner / Charles Collyer / Alex Corner (Vice Skipper) / Ollie Palmer / Jack Jesty / Nick Brown / Billy Maddock / Josh Clark / Matt Stevenson / Peter Cole / Toby Rawding / Will Relfe / Marcus Clark

George Spinks

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