Reeds Take Derby Spoils with Dominant Display
LONDON SOUTH WEST THREE
WEYBRIDGE VANDALS 12pts REEDS WEYBRIDGE 31pts
There was a packed touchline down at Brownacres last Saturday to watch these two local sides battle for the Christmas bragging rights. Reeds are riding high at the top of the table but occasions like this with vocal partisan support, can sometimes produce unexpected results. Reeds base their game plan on open running rugby, switching attacks from one side of the park to the other, stretching the defence until gaps appear. But to do that you need quality possession from the key parts of the game, lineouts, set piece and breakdowns and Reeds had a clear edge in all three areas which meant that Vandals were in defensive mode for much of the game. It was an outstanding defensive effort from Vandals that kept the score line in check, Reeds battered the Vandals try line, on two occasions the ball was held up but finally young winger James Botterill, the winger, shimmied his way over on a short line from ten metres out to open up the scoring for a five pointer. Up front, Reeds two props, Charlie Bolton and Josh Brown bolstered by a strong second row were beginning to cause some serious damage which meant that any Vandals possession was going backwards and the Reeds back row dominated the loose exchanges. This was the area where Will Ambidge, Reeds aggressive flanker had such an outstanding afternoon, his pace around the park and effectiveness in the close contact zones earned him the Man of the Match Award. Jonny Rogers the fly half banged over a difficult penalty to extend the lead but late on in that first half there was a real mix up inside the Reeds twenty two which allowed the ball to bobble around following a failed attempt to exit and Vandals flanker Tom Bolger collected the loose ball and touched down. There were just three points between the two sides at the change round, which was no reflection of Reeds dominance, but it was Reeds who had the benefit of a gentle slope in that second half and plenty of ambition to make the best of the quality possession they enjoyed. Early on, Reeds stretched their lead when Rhys Lewis the winger, such a magical runner, ghosted his way through the cover to touch down under the sticks for Rogers to collect the extras. Reeds were on the march, with most of the ball and the territory as well, desperate defence cost the hosts another three point penalty and that put Reeds firmly in the box seat at 21 – 5. There was a brief suggestion that Vandals could come back in the game when flanker Karl Hoade rumbled over unopposed following a five metre lineout when Reeds disengaged in an attempt to win a penalty and with nine points between the two sides at 21-12 it was just possible, but not for long. With ten minutes left on the clock, Josh Brown, Reeds prop forward, muscled his way over from short distance following some earlier brutal close quarter forward drives and Vandals were not going to come back from that position. Now Reeds skipper, Billy Maddock wanted the fourth try bonus point, it was the last play, the ball was fired around the park with Reeds finally securing a scrum inside the Vandals twenty-two. From that point Reeds drove Vandals back some 10 metres and Michael Wasko, a menacing and brawny presence throughout the game, picked up the ball and bashed his way over for that important bonus point.
Nigel Connell, Reeds Director of Rugby commented afterwards that the success of the side in this first half of the season has been based upon the commitment shown by the players attendance at the twice weekly training sessions despite the weather and train strikes and with Reeds undefeated in league and cup so far this season the second half of the season promises a lot.
Reeds Weybridge next league game is another local Derby when Old Georgians, who probably need a win to maintain realistic hopes of promotion, come to Whiteley on January 11th, Reeds won by just one point in the away game.