Reeds show ‘’true grit’’ to overcome Old Tiffs


The biggest crowd of the season came down to Whiteley Village last Saturday to watch this top of the table clash between two local sides, they were treated to a feast of full on open rugby, splendidly refereed by David Peyton, with the result in doubt until his final whistle.

Reeds skipper Billy Maddock, prefers to come down the slope in the second half, but he lost the toss and it was the visitors who defended that slope during the opening half. Tiffs were soon in trouble with Reeds firing the ball around the park creating space and openings, centre Tom McClean can glide through most defences and he did that in the first five minutes with a try by the flag, Reeds had their noses in front and were looking good for more points. However, Tiffinians have a set of backs that can cut through most defences and just like Reeds, will run the ball from the most unpromising positions and that is what happened. Reeds had chipped the ball through to the Tiffs twenty two, and with nothing really on the full back collected the ball and set off on a mazy run up-field, he chipped the ball over the approaching defence and Tim Fawcett the No 8 gathered the ball on the bounce and was under the sticks for a seven pointer. It got a whole lot worse for Reeds in that first quarter, another kick ahead from the Tiffs backs led to a cruel bouncing ball and Jake Fawsett the quick winger collected the ball and had a straight run in for another seven points, Reeds were on the rack, and that was something they had not experienced during this season. Tiffs were on fire and camped in Reeds territory, there were some ferocious loose exchanges leading to a penalty for Tiffs. From that kick the ball cannoned off the uprights and Reeds tried to run the ball out however Tiffs managed to wrestle the ball clear from the maul and it was Doug Sharif the centre who crashed over. 5-21 to Tiffs and with Reeds down the slope, with a three try to one deficit, were in real trouble, if they conceded another score it would surely be game over. The good news for Reeds was their dominance in the set piece, no question, it was the Reeds front row that shunted the scrums around that prevented Tiffs getting the ball going forward. That pressure allowed Reeds to win a few against the head as well, which in turn allowed No 8 Alex Corner to launch any number of attacks. Add to that an imperious performance from Herbie Finn and Michael Wasko in the lineout and Joe Wastie in the loose and it was Reeds who were piling on the pressure and Tiffs conceded penalties. Pete Davidge, Reeds penalty taker, is deadly in those situations and he banged over two of them to lead the fight back. The turning point of the game was just on the stroke of half time, No 8 Alex Corner broke away from a set piece and headed downfield, just inside the touch line, he found young Joe Wastie up in support for the try, Pete Davidge collected the extras and at the change round Reeds were three points adrift at 18-21 but they had to face the slope. 

Reeds work in the lineout and the tight scrums was producing plenty of ball and that led to their third try of the afternoon, a loose maul five metres out and scrum half Ollie Palmer who is a potent finisher with an eye for a gap in defence touched down, Reeds were in front for the first time but  it didn’t last long, that Tiffs back division launched an attack from deep within their own half and Andy Day the left winger outpaced the Reeds cover for an unconverted try and a one point lead. Time was running out, there were ten minutes on the clock when Pete Davidge had a seriously difficulty penalty chance, it crept over the bar and it was Reeds with a two point lead. Reeds had two more chances to extend their lead but missed both and Tiffs almost converted from the half way line but the score board remained untroubled.  The serious drama took place in the last 5 minutes and with Reeds in the Tiffs 22 it looked ominous for the visitors however their excellent 8 took the ball on the charge from a line out and smashed through Reeds cover defence heading down-field at the gallop. A last ditch tackle from 5 meters out by Alex Corner denied him a winning score. Reeds then secured a penalty but tried to play it out of their half instead of clearing it – it was an huge error  – and the Tiffs forwards secured a penalty just outside the twenty two, mid-way between the sticks and the touchline, it was a kick to win the game, it had the distance but drifted just wide, referee David Peyton blew for time and Reeds had squeezed out a win by the narrowest margin. 

Reeds Director of Rugby Nigel Connell awarded a joint Man of the Match Award to second row forward Herbie Finn and No 8 Alex Corner.

Both sides now sit top of their respective leagues with Reeds 2nd XV securing a comprehensive 7-57 away win against their nearest challengers, Mayfair Occasionals. 

Next week Reeds face another local rival, Weybridge Vandals away, kick off 14:00 

The RFU Senior Vase draw has now taken place and Reeds have a home game against Aylesford Bulls the Kent based side the fixture to be played on February 8th.

George Spinks Dec 8th 2019 

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