Slow start costs Reeds

REEDS WEYBRIDGE 23 GUILDFORD 24

Reeds long, unbeaten home record, was finally ended when a powerful Guildford side grabbed a narrow win at Whiteley Village last Saturday. The results table shows that Guildford hadn’t won a game all season, however, a closer look revealed that their losses against sides in the top half of the table were by slender margins. Reeds, down the hill in the first half, knew within a couple of minutes of the start they were in for a tough afternoon, the visitors won the ball from loose play, fired the possession out wide with the speed of the passes courtesy of too many missed tackles outdistancing the cover, Alex Jordan the elusive winger was checked, but he got the ball away to Charlie Wallace the flanker who coasted in under the sticks. The tight scrums are usually safe territory for Reeds, but not in this game, it didn’t help when they lost their talismanic prop, Josh Brown, with a leg injury, Reeds were not able to dominate that phase of the game, which in turn, resulted in Guildford getting secure possession. That quick ball and again further missed tackles was the source of the second try, quick hands put Jordan away again, he drove play deep into Reeds territory and flanker Oli Millward was in for a seven pointer, moments later, Reeds in defensive mode strayed offside and they were seventeen points adrift within as many minutes. The fightback came by way of the reliability of Pete Cole, Reeds penalty kicking specialist, he slotted two huge siege gun kicks to narrow the gap, but then Guildford extended their lead after a series of forward rumbles close to the line gave Guildford their third try of the day. There were some ferocious battles taking place in the loose exchanges, and it was in those phases that George Corner, the hooker, earned his Man of the Match Award. When the going gets tough, he is the man you want to have on your side, it was an outstanding, gritty, performance, when the side needed it most. Reeds first try of the day came from Michael Wasko, such a dominant presence in forward battles, Reeds had driven play, via a maul, to a few metres out, flanker George Corner broke off a few meters out and offloaded to supporting second row Wasko to bash his way over, close to the flag. Another steepling conversion from Pete Cole narrowed the gap, but Guildford had an eight-point lead at 24 -16 come the change round and the slope in their favour.

Reeds were now winning plenty of secure ball from the lineouts by way of young Cameron Goodwin, Billy Maddock the centre was creating some big holes in the midfield however their cause was not helped by an injury to Wasko who joins a growing list of injured absentees. Out wide was the imperious presence of Joe Moriarty, he caused alarm to the visitors whenever he got hold of the ball. It was his devastating run up the touchline, all power and pace and a score by the flag that gave Reeds real hope of overturning the deficit. Yet another huge conversion from Pete Cole and Reeds were within a point of a remarkable comeback at 23-24. Reeds had a chance to snatch the lead with a long-range penalty that fell agonisingly short and a few minutes later with the clock on red, Reeds launched a series of attacks from their own try line, but Guildford regained possession and hoisted the ball out of play to register their first win of the season.

Nigel Connell, Reeds Director of Rugby commented afterwards that conceding those two early tries had left Reeds with a serious hill to climb against a well drilled opposition. He went on to say that the way his side battled back into the game from the  second quarter onwards, underlined the collective spirit within the team that brought them within a point of a remarkable comeback.

Man of the Match George Corner

Next week, Reeds travel away to Horsham, the league leaders.

Reeds Weybridge 2nd XV 37 Guildford 2nds 30

George Spinks
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