Reeds Weybridge 2nd XV 47 – 22 Wimbledon 4th XV
Reeds 2nd XV have had a pretty tough season to date with lack of availability and injuries taking their toll. Recent changes to the league meant that more competitive rugby should come to the Village for the remainder of the season.
Saturday saw Reeds field a balanced squad with plenty of experience, a sprinkling of youth and some welcome new players. Despite turning up with 14 men, Wimbledon 4’s looked to be tough opposition with players comfortable in possession and willing to carry the game to Reeds. This proved the case when they won a penalty in front of the posts inside the first minute and took an early three point advantage.
Reeds quickly settled and on the 5-minute mark, newbie Kieran playing at 15 put in a great chip and chase, gathering the ball and beating a couple of defenders before being tackled short of the line. Toby Blyther showed how important support play can be taking a quick offload in the tackle and falling over the line. The conversion was missed and Reeds took the lead 5-3.
The next 15 minutes were pretty even with shared possession, but Reeds had the better territory. It was easy to forget that Reeds had a one-man advantage and Wimbledon were starting to win the battle up front with their much heavier pack. On 22 minutes Wimbledon were awarded a Scrum 5 and with the momentum going forwards their Number 8 picked up from the base of the scrum and barraged over the line. A quick conversion and Wimbledon were back in the lead 5-10.
Another 15 minutes pf evenly contested rugby followed with few chances being offered up and it started to look like Wimbledon’s 14 men would take the lead into half time. But Lewis did what Lewis does. With Wimbledon on the attack and looking to press home their advantage as the first half drew to a close, Lewis stepped up timing the run perfectly and intercepted a pass from the Wimbledon 10 blasting past their defensive line and racing up the hill for a try under the posts. A quick conversion and the referee brought the first half to a close with Reeds inching ahead 12-10.
Half time saw Reeds ringing the changes and with Wimbledon down to 13 men having suffered an injury victory looked to be within our grasp. Newbie Kieran was moved into play at 10, with the old stalwart Matt Cassidy moving to 15. This brought almost instant success on 50 minutes with a long clearance from Wimbledon being fielded by Matt Cassidy in plenty of open space. A quick scan of the defence ahead of him and he made ground carrying all the way back into the Wimbledon 22. He’s still a force to be reckoned with especially downhill with a tailwind! Desperate defence by Wimbledon stopped what would have been a great solo effort but the newly discovered support play was at hand and Captain Tom found the ball popping up into his hands and he was on the charge over the line. Kieran stepped up to take the conversion and displayed genuine kicking ability nailing the extra 2 from out wide. 19-10 and Reeds starting to benefit from the extra numbers.
Wimbledon were showing great spirit and throwing the ball around freely. They stuck to the challenge and won a penalty outside the reeds 22 from which the kicked to the corner. A well worked line out ended with a ruck just in front of the line and Wimbledon’s big forwards worked their magic again rolling off the back of the ruck and going over for a well earned 5 points making it 19-15 with almost an hour gone. Despite only having 13 men on the pitch Wimbledon were determined to make Reeds work for the victory.
The slope at Reeds helps and when you have the wind behind you it can make a massive difference. With Wimbledon back on the front foot Reeds secured possession deep in their own 22 and the ball passed into the reliable hands of Kieran. He has a howitzer of a boot and sent the ball screaming deep into the Wimbledon half. Wind assisted the ball made the 22 and with a solid chase being put in by the reeds backs Wimbledon’s covering defender was only able to kick the ball into touch. A clean line out win by the quietly effective Ben Smith and 3 phases later the ball was in the hands of the mercurial Luka on the left wing and another try to Reeds wide out on the left flank. An almost impossible kick followed by Kieran and Reeds had turned defence into points stretching the lead out to 26-15. Wimbledon were starting to blow hard with 17 minutes left on the clock and Reeds really had their tails up.
5 minutes later Reeds stretched the lead further with another kick and chase from Kieran who was confidently growing into the new role at 10. This time Luka was on hand to take the offload and make significant ground. The tackle came with Luka short of the line and Toby Blyther showing great support (I’m sure that he can smell on offload) and on hand to take the pop pass before crashing over the line. Another scintillating conversion followed from the reliable boot of the new Reeds 10 and the score stood at 33-15.
Almost from the restart Reeds found more points on the board with a period of open play seeing a neat offload from Kieran to Jamie Gibbins who found the line and added the points. Another conversion and the lead stood at 40-15. It looked like the game was won but this Wimbledon outfit just don’t know when they have had enough, recycling the ball and putting together a string of phases, Wimbledon found themselves inside the Reeds 22. Offside at the Ruck has been a persistent problem for Reeds and when the penalty was given Wimbledon seized their chance with a quick tap and go catching the Reeds defence napping and scoring under the posts. 40-22 with a little over 5 minutes left.
Reeds put the icing on the cake winning the ball at the Restart and the new “slim-line” Harry Ricks (I understand that he left some of his old self behind in Australia) making good ground before the ball found its way into the Reeds back. Some good interplay between Kieran and Lewis and the ball was safely in the hands of Elliot Veale out wide on the right wing. With work to do Elliot pinned back his ears and hit the gas, beating a defender or two before touching down close to the touchline for a well worked try. Kieran really put the cherry on the top by nailing the kick from as wide as you can get and still be on the pitch to crown a wonderful day at the village and a well-deserved win for the 2’s.
No man of the match award but if there was one it would have gone to Kieran for an outstanding performance in his first game in a Reeds shirt proving what a valuable addition he will be to the squad.