Reeds show Power, Pace, and Precision to Close Out Tough Cup Encounter
PAPA JOHNS RFU COMMUNITY CUP (ROUND OF 32)
REEDS WEYBRIDGE 18 HONOURABLE ARTILLERY COMPANY 10
HAC have had a highly successful season in the Anglian league, losing just four games by the narrowest of margins and two of those losses were to the eventual league winners and they gave Reeds a serious test in a highly competitive match last Saturday. Early on it was Reeds, down the slope in the first half, who had the best of the territory. The young Day brothers and Josh Brown up front were shunting the HAC pack around at the set piece and this supported by a strong line out performance led by Reeds skipper, Herbie Finn, and supported Simon Fozard, who sadly had to depart mid-way through the first half following a rib injury, who provided a solid platform for scrum half Ollie Palmer to launch a series of attacks based on plenty of possession.
Billy Maddock, Reeds strong running centre coupled with his outside centre partner Matt Stephenson were combining well to cause all sorts of problems for the HAC midfield defence but Reeds just couldn’t break down the HAC defensive wall. It was the visitors who opened up the scoring from a lineout on the half way line, it was one of those situations where the ball bounced around from a stray hand, both sides hesitated Reeds thinking the ball had been knocked on, but Jack Tinker, the HAC second row didn’t, he collected the ball and ran fifty metres to the try line without a hand being laid on him. It was against the run of play, and a blow to Reeds confidence, but a morale boosting score for the visitors who had been under the cosh.
Out wide Reeds have some power, and during the first half both wingers showed what a threat they can be to any defence, Marcus Clark with pace and dazzling footwork and on the other wing Joe Moriarty, full on, tackle me if you can, all power and purpose. It was young Clark who levelled the scores just before the break, he collected a sublime cross-field kick from full back Ethan Taylor just inside the HAC’s half, sprinted down the touchline, the HAC defence tried to bounce him into touch but he has serious wheels and was over the try line by the flag. With only a few minutes left until the end of the half it was probably a seminal moment in the game as it gave Reeds a life-line at the change round, at five points apiece given they now had to face the slope.
Reeds started the second half well and fly half Jack Jesty, who did a masterful job of marshalling Reeds attack, nudged them into a narrow lead by way of a long-range penalty from young Jack Jesty, the No 10. Indeed, it was Jest’s place kicking and decision making that was at heart of so many of Reeds attacks that earned him his Man of the Match Award albeit he was run close by Lewis Jones whose direct runs in the second half attracted HAC tacklers to him like bees to honey. It was Jesty’s turnover under the shadow of Reeds posts that saw Reeds march up field and allow another Reeds youngster, Ethan Taylor, the full back to become the author of the deciding try of the day. With Reeds on the attack just on the HAC ten-meter line, Taylor was checked but just managed to chip the ball away to the touchline, the ball bounced perfectly for Moriarty and he was try-line bound, a huge touchline conversion and Reeds had a ten-point lead at 5 – 15. Not for long though – HAC responded by setting up camp in Reeds 22, a whilst a series of rucks and mauls were driven back finally it was the HAC skipper and prop forward, Larry Anfo-Whyte who rumbled over from a well-set catch and drive to make it 10 – 15, with the crucially important conversion attempt drifting wide.
It was a five-point game, a converted try could win it for the visitors and they certainly had the firepower to do that with their big powerful running 12 and gliding 13 initiating a number of attacks. However, as the half went on one couldn’t help thinking that HAC had been knocked out of their stride by the need to play catch-up rugby and were trying too hard with some offloads just not going to hand and their attacks, for the most part, being stymied by Reeds enveloping defence. With twenty minutes left on the clock, it was Jesty’s long distance penalty that gave Reeds the cushion of an eight-point lead with HAC failing to close the gap with a missed penalty attempt with 8-minute left that could have set up a nerve-jangling finale. HAC came so close to having the last word, a midfield break from the HAC back division and Reeds defence was in real trouble, but young Marcus Clark had sufficient gas to overhaul the attack and prevent a score which would have resulted in a frenetic conclusion.
Man of the Match, Jack Jesty
Nigel Connell, Reeds Weybridge Director of Rugby commented ‘that this was a demanding fixture which the team responded to with a full on eighty-minute team performance to get Reeds into the next round’
Team: Josh Brown / Rhys Day / Lennan Day / Shannon Fullen / Herbie Finn (Capt) / Cameron Goodwin / Michael Wasko / Luke Edwards / Lewis Jones / Simon Fozard / Ollie Palmer / Jack Jesty / Joe Moriarty / Billy Maddock / Matt Stephenson / Ethan Taylor / Jonathan Rogers
The next round of the Cup will played on 15th April with Reeds Weybridge likely to be drawn away given the 1st round was played at Hone. Reeds will find out their opponents early next week.
GS April 1st 2023