Reeds secure a measure of revenge for PJ Cup Final Defeat
REEDS WEYBRIDGE 25 BATTERSEA IRONSIDES 18
This second versus third placed clash was always destined to be a close affair but it was Reeds Weybridge ‘Iron Dome’ defence against formidable pressure that was the decisive factor.
It was Reeds skipper Herbie Finn a talisman for the Reeds side, so effective and abrasive at the breakdown, and his work coupled with a fired-up pack and wider team defensive effort, that kept the line secure when the Irons spent long periods deep in Reeds territory particularly in the second half – all courtesy of the slope. Skipper Finn has such impressive leadership qualities and that earned him his second, Man of the Match award of the season.
Reeds were down the slope in the first half, the all-action Day brothers were winning plenty of ball from the tight scrums, Alex Corner, Reeds No 8 was bursting off the set piece and that gave Reeds back division opportunities, Billy Maddock Reeds powerful centre was causing all sorts of problems for the Ironsides defence, it was his ability to capitalise on pockets of space, that unleashed Matt Stevenson outside him. Young Stevenson is deadly in a one-on-one situation his electric side-step took him past the first line of defence and then the covering full back to clock up an early seven pointer. First blood Reeds, but that lead didn’t last for long, the Reeds lineout wasn’t working too well and Reeds were locked into their own 22. Reeds though they had cleared their lines with a long clearance kick but the kick chase was ragged and the Battersea full back was able to skip through a number of tackles, kick ahead and have one of his colleagues re-gather a ball that should have been fielded and the visitors skipper, Archie Macpherson was over the line for an unconverted try. Reeds were up against a well drilled side and they were struggling to retain possession, and the visitors had the backs to attack from all parts. Reeds were locked into defensive mode deep in their own territory, a handling error following a deft chip ahead from the Battersea fly half, the ball was not gathered, bounced wickedly, and flanker Ollie Davies touched down under the sticks for a seven pointer. 7 – 12 the score now, courtesy arguably from Reeds errors. Following a period of sustained Reeds attack, Jack Jesty slotted a long distance penalty to narrow the gap to 10 – 12, but Charles Stuart, the Irons penalty specialist – who also had a very good kicking game securing a number of 50 22’s for his side – who collected a three pointer from the touchline to give his side a five-point cushion at the change round at 10 – 15. Crucially, they now had the slope in their favour.
Reeds needed a fast start to the half but instead Battersea monopolised possession – no question, the game was decided in that third quarter. The Irons set up camp deep in Reeds 22 and mounted a series of attacks that so nearly succeeded, they had a succession of easy penalty shots, that they turned down in favour of their big forwards rumbling over, but it didn’t happen, catch and drives were expertly sacked, and passes were dropped or went astray in the face of a staunch Reeds defence that has the lowest Points Against stats in the league. Indeed, it was Reeds who collected the next points. There is nothing more demoralising than to concede an interception try when your side is on the point of getting over the line. It was young Nick Brown Reeds winger, who intercepted what seemed to be a certain scoring pass for the Irons winger, the youngster has some serious wheels and he ran the length of the field, with the Irons in hot pursuit to touch down way out, the conversion drifted wide but Reeds were back on level terms at 15 – 15. In that last quarter Reeds exchanged penalties to level the scores again at 18 a-piece, but in those final five minutes it was Reeds who drove play up field – showing commendable patience in the red zone with the forwards lifting their efforts another gear and making ground with every carry – the beneficiary being George Corner, the utility forward, an arch poacher and ruthless finisher when the line is in sight, that pirouetted his way over the line for a converted try next to the posts. Final score 25 – 18 and a story of what might been for Ironsides.
Man of the Match Herbie Finn(R) and returnee Dan Veale (L) who returned to play after a 2-year injury
Team: Lennan Day / Rhys Day / Will Scott / Herbie Finn (Capt) /Cameron Goodwin / Chuggs Wallis / Joe Wastie / Alex Corner (Vice Captain) / George Corner / Michael Wasko / Ollie Palmer / Jack Jesty / Nick Brown / Billy Maddock / Matt Stevenson / Dan Veale / Brad Robbins
Next week Reeds travel away to face the Old Alleynians (Dulwich College Old Boys) who recently celebrated their 125th Anniversary.
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