Reeds Recovery Comes Up Short


It was ladies lunch day down at Reeds Whiteley Village ground last Saturday and suitably refreshed they joined the huge touchline crowd to help cheer their heroes on to a victory. The final result wasn’t the one they wanted, but they witnessed a thrilling fightback from Reeds Weybridge that was so nearly successful. A loss by some distance is a lot easier to bear than to lose a game by a few points, especially when victory was a real possibility, but this is a league where fine margins determine the result and it is clear from the other league results this weekend, that on the day, any side in this league has the ability to win against any of the other league sides. Reeds defended the slope in the first half and it was the visitors who soon had Reeds pinned down in their 22, that allowed Lewis Bunton the fly half to collect a straightforward three points when Reeds strayed offside. That occupation of Reeds territory gave chances out wide, quick hands put winger Dan Hamilton in space, the ex-Westcombe Park winger is big and seriously quick and the Reeds cover didn’t have the matching pace to prevent him crashing over by the flag for a five pointer and an eight-point lead. Reeds were locked into defensive mode, in those circumstances with some fearsome loose exchanges taking place, Reeds were pinged for holding on to the ball and lost a man to a yellow card for a high tackle. With Beckenham having the best of the possession Reeds were short of quick defence out wide and that gave winger Hamilton just that extra metre of space to collect his second try of the day in the same corner giving Beckenham a healthy thirteen-point lead. It was in this challenging situation that skipper Herbie Finn earned his Man of the Match award, it was his outstandingly aggressive forward performance, infectious energy, safe possession from the lineouts, and inspirational leadership qualities that led Reeds fight back. Late in that first half, Jack Jesty, Reeds fly half exchanged penalties with his opposite number that left Reeds in deficit by thirteen points at the change round – 16 – 3. That slope makes a real difference and it was Reeds who laid siege to the Beckenham line, the visitors conceded a penalty, young Jack Jesty banged it through the sticks and Reeds sensed they were on a roll. However, Beckenham had other ideas, Reeds probing kick intended for a five-metre lineout position didn’t make touch and the possession ended up with Dan Hamilton the pacy winger, he sprinted up-field and found centre Gary Dippell on hand to take the scoring pass and touch down for a seven pointer, leaving Reeds seventeen points adrift at 23 – 6. It was a mountain to climb but Reeds had far the better of the tight scrums and were winning solid possession from the lineouts. Out in the midfield was centre Billy Maddock and he was on fire, a real powerhouse in attack with the ability to drive through tackles, he put Reeds back on the score sheet with a penalty try and great wrap around score that came from a midfield mis-pass that saw Lewis Jones the flanker come winger take the ball to within seven meters of the try line. Two converted tries within fifteen minutes. Reeds were now three points adrift and it was game on, Beckenham were under the cosh, and Beckenham received a number of yellow cards for a mixture of indiscipline and high tackles. Reeds knew the game was there for the taking. Jack Jesty levelled the scores with a penalty in front of the sticks and Reeds were camped in the Beckenham 22 at 23 apiece. Reeds thought they had scored twice during that period of ascendancy but the ball was adjudged to be held up once and a forward pass chalked off another score. These were chances in that last ten minutes that Reeds really should have nailed to secure the victory, however, it was Finn Kennedy the Beckenham flier who collected the ball from a Beckenham turnover on his own five metre line who ran the length of the park for an unconverted try that sealed the game for the visitors and left Reeds regretting they hadn’t nailed earlier opportunities. Four minutes to go and Reeds were still pressing and yet again another try scoring chance went begging when fullback Brad Robbins was held up over the line but in truth it was too little too late and Beckenham were good value for the win.

Man of the Match: Herbie Finn

Man of the Match: Herbie Finn

Team: Lennon Day / Rhys Day / Will Scott / Herbie Finn (capt) / Cameron Goodwin / Harry Ricks / Lewis Jones / Michael Wasko / Joe Wastie / Alex Corner / George Corner / Chuggs Wallis / Ollie Palmer / Jack Jesty / Nick Brown / Billy Maddock / Isireli Sema / Brad Robbins

Next Saturday, Reeds are away to their old rivals Old Reigatians, another tough encounter where previous results have been decided by the narrowest of margins. With both sides losing and keen to get back on the horse, it is sure to be a massive game even this early in the season

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