OLD JOHNIANS 17pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 43pts
Reeds played their first league game of the season away to Old Johnians, who are based at Wimbledon RFC, on a dry September day that was made for running rugby. The pundits expected the match to be a compelling one with Old Johnians, freshly promoted from Surrey 4 last season, fielding a mobile side similar to Reeds.
The first 20 minutes saw Reeds get rapidly into their stride with great continuity between forwards and backs which starved OJ’s of possession. After 10 minutes a clean line out take on the OJ’s 22 saw a slick back line move result in a well worked try under the sticks from Malcolm Harding which was duly converted by Pete Davidge. A real team try, following good sustained pressure; 0 – 7 Reeds.
Following the kick off and a short passage of play, a long kick by OJ’s, who were seeking good field position to take advantage of the wind, resulted in the ball being well gathered by Jonny Rogers who returned the ball with a steepling up and under which was well gathered by Reeds with play moving into the OJ’s 22. Minutes later, the ball was rapidly re-cycled through the hands for Reeds to score what they thought was a good try only for it to chalked off by the referee for an unknown offence. Following further pressure in the OJ’s 22 Reeds secured a penalty which Davidge duly converted. 20 minutes gone, 0 – 10 Reeds
At this point things were looking good with OJ’s yet to see much of the ball but a number of errors from Reeds then allowed OJ’s to work their way back into the game aided by some good touch finding kicks that allowed them to secure field position. Firstly OJ’s secured a penalty in mid field near the Reeds 22 and then 5 minute later they scored a try through their forwards following a 5 meter line out. 30 minutes gone 10 – 10, game well and truly on!
Billy Maddock the Reeds captain rallied his troops under the posts and 5 minutes later a powerful drive by John Downey, who was on for the unfortunate Herbie Finn who had taken a knock, sucked in numerous OJ defenders only for the ball to be moved wide. Joe Moriarty cleverly chipped ahead over the OJ’s defence to allow his centre partner Maddock to gather and burst up into the OJ’s 22. A good running line by Moriarty and a nice inside pass from Maddock resulted in a very well worked score by Moriarty under the sticks. 35 minutes gone, 17 – 10 Reeds.
Reeds were starting to press strongly again and on 39 minutes strong interplay between Moriarty and Alex Keefe in mid field saw Keefe almost make it to the OJ’s try line. OJ’s secured a scrum and then a line out in their 22 which was over thrown and gathered by an alert Rory Hardingham who carried the ball strongly into the 5 meter zone. Matt Connell, the ever vibrant scrum half, quickly recycled the ball which went through numerous pairs of hands in the back line with Jonny Rogers the try scoring beneficiary.
Half time 22 – 10 Reeds.
At half time the coaches talked about the need to cut out the mistakes which had allowed OJ’s to come back into the game, keep working hard for each other, use the wind to find good field position, and look after the ball especially around the ruck area.
The second half started poorly for Reeds with OJ’s pressing Reeds well and making the most of their early pressure to score a well worked try that took advantage of some Reeds indecisiveness. 45 minutes gone, 17 – 22 to Reeds.
Some 15 minutes in and Reeds slowly began to regain the initiative and with John Downey to the fore with a good turnover, the ball was again moved through the back line with a well-executed series of ‘drawing and passing’ for Moriarty to score again. 60 minutes gone 12 – 29 to Reeds after a good conversion from out wide by Davidge.
10 minutes later John Downey, who was heavily prominent throughout the second half, was adjudged to be tackled dangerously in the air and OJ’s were down to 14 men.
Reeds now started to turn the screw and get behind the OJ’s defensive line with alarming regularity. A super back line move resulted in the ball being taken up to the OJ’s try line and knocked on. From the resulting scrum however, replacement scrum half Toby Drake did brilliantly well to turn the ball over and it was passed along the back line for Moriarty to score his third try – 73 minutes gone 17- 36 to Reeds.
Not content with that Reeds continued to ruthlessly press for a further score and with 2 minutes of the game left another piece of expansive play saw Harding score his second try of the match in the corner.
Final score OJ’s 17- Reeds 43.
A very good start to the season against a good side that will trouble other teams in the league.
Man of the Match: Joe Moriarty for his all-round contribution and performance alongside his hat-trick of tries as part of a good all round team performance that all 18 players should be proud of.
Honourable mentions: Malcolm Harding who was a constant threat in the backline and bagged two tries, Will Ambidge for his work around the break-down, Alex Keefe for his clever running lines and bursting runs, and John Downey for his strength and power in the forward exchanges.
1. Rory Hardingham, 2. Toby Blyther, 3. Ben Lewis, 4. Herbie Finn, 5. Adam Smith, 6. Alex Keefe, 7. Will Ambidge, 8. Simon Fozard, 9. Matt Connell, 10. Pete Davidge, 11. Chris Stegmann, 12.Joe Moriarty, 13. Billy Maddock, 14. Malcolm Harding, 15. Jonny Rogers. Subs: Davey Downey, Toby Drake, John Downey. Travelling Sub: Tony Adams.