7 Jan 2018
The mince pies and turkey have settled in the stomach, the New Year’s Eve excesses have passed – it’s time to get back to rugby! That was the rallying cry for the Reeds Colts in their vital knockout game against local rivals Teddington, in the National U18 Cup. And the lads responded in full force.
The team vibe was good after a big turnout at mid-week training, and an enthusiastic squad of 25 players on game day boded well.
Reeds elected to play up the slope in the first half and showed great strength and skill in maintaining territorial advantage for most of the half. Yet for all their good play, points were hard to come by. This was due to a very determined and skilful Teddington defence, and a few handling errors at critical times from the rusty Reeds players. An energy sapping first half ended without troubling the scoreboard.
Reeds rung the changes and benefitted from a strong, and deep subs bench. The return of the school players from St George’s College & Reeds School bolstered the squad and started to make an impact in the second half. After sustained pressure in the Teddington 22 area, Reeds got the ball out wide for winger, Charlie Goddard, to slide into the corner and break the deadlock. To their credit, Teddington fought back instantly with a great angled run from their centre piercing through the Reeds defence, to score under the posts.
This setback seemed to raise the determination of the Reeds players, rather than demoralise them… the sign of a great team. Reeds played the last 8 minutes deep in the Teddington half and eventually wore down their defences. A great turnover and offloading from Reeds saw the ball into the arms of a charging Austin Wallace, who bulldozed over the whitewash to take the score to 10-5. And Reeds finally made the game safe when Ollie Tack picked off the base of a ruck to burrow over for the final try of the game, 15-5.
There were great performances throughout the squad, and a welcome return to club rugby from some of our old friends. However, 2 standout performances won the man of the match awards. First up to receive the candy stripe blazer was Will Scott for a powerful tighthead performance, granite like in the scrum, charging bull in the loose. The second award went to Hamish Cassidy for a classy fullback performance. Countless times he fielded Teddington kicks and run back the ball with interest, his weaving pace causing headaches for the grasping tacklers.
And so Reeds march on, a rejuvenated squad, chomping at the bit for the next match.