After a disappointing result two weeks ago and a week off last week, a Ts team full of youth and experience were keen for the chance to put things right this week and get our season back on track.
The statement was set straight from kick off when in the first tackle of the game all eight of the Ts pack flew into the ruck cleaning the Chess Valley forwards out like skittles, setting the intensity for the rest of the game.
The first 20 minutes was a real arm wrestle, with both teams running and tackling hard with few opportunities for either team. Some good kick returns from the back three, followed up by some great rucking from our forwards, allowed a young back line (with an average age of 21 - despite Jonnos best attempt to bring it up!) a quick ball and Callum to dart out from 9 and give the ball to young debutant Joe who had some space. Unfortunately on this occasion he couldn't produce the same kind of finishing ability as his older brother on the wing and was taken into touch.
The hits were still flying in and despite some strong running by Tramp and Wiggy neither team looked like cracking. This was until the ball was shipped out wide to Jake on the wing. Keen to make an impact in his first game of the season for the 1st XV, he beat his first would-be tackler and then tried ducking under his next man, receiving a knee straight to the face ultimately cracking his nose. No need to fret though, he is still as good looking as ever. Phew.
The short delay didn't bother us and we were soon on the attack in our opponents 22. Our forwards set the platform, driving the ball in and making room for the backs to get it out wide. Some quick hands made the space for Dan to go over in the corner for his first try of the season. Hurrah!
Chess Valley came back strong but some good defence from our boys meant we were soon back on the attack. Similar to his earlier opportunity Joe was able to take advantage of some quick ball and hands to dot the ball down in the corner. Just before half time our forwards got their reward for a solid first half performance. Off the back of some good carries Coogs finished off a great driving maul, slotting the ball down under the posts. Jonno calmly made the conversion giving us a bit of breathing room going into half time.
The message at half time was simple, more of the same in the second half. As predicted the oppo came out for the second half firing and put our defence immediately to the test. The pressure proved too much and Chess Valley managed to make some space on the outside, getting there first try of the game. Thoughts of previous comebacks were soon put to rest as Jonno proved he was still more than capable of hanging with the younger lads. He got the ball out the back and used his pace to first run around the winger leaving the fullback clutching at thin air.
Next came what can only be described as a moment of pure magic! Champagne rugby at its finest. Straight from the restart a charging run from Tramp gave us a quick ball, which allowed captain and newbie, youth and experience, beauty and the beast (won’t take too long to figure out who is who…) to combine beautifully. Somehow from the resulting ruck Rory found himself in the 10 position. After beating his first man, the big (strong and athletic) prop then decided he was a Harlem Globetrotter, throwing a one handed pass over the would-be tackler. Kieran was then able to make a few meters before everyone thought he was gonna be brought down. A one handed flick pass that would put the likes of SBW to shame to the now supporting Rory, gave the prop the 20m (ahem) he needs to get up to full speed. Charging towards the line 40 meters away (not the 70 or 100, or whatever he told everyone at the clubhouse). Rory ignored the support of his fellow teammates and instead decided to take the full back on. With a step that can be described as a slight momentum shift to the right, put the captain under the post. (Rory I'll collect the tenner for that at training).
Not to be outdone by his prop Jonno was soon back on the score sheet. This time collecting a kick on the halfway and almost identical to his first try raced round the outside to slot down under the post. Much to the displeasure of the Chess Valley winger, whose comments would not be suitable to use here.
In the final five minutes we took our foot off the pedal a bit and allowed Chess Valley to finish on a high. Some good pressure and patience meant that the home team managed to pick out a gap and go in under the post for the final play of the day.
This wasn't enough to dampen the moods of our boys though, and enjoyed a thoroughly well-deserved win, with what can only be described as one of the best performances of the season so far.
1. Sam B, 2. Coogs, 3. Rory, 4. Tramp, 5. Nick, 6. Lance, 7. C-mike, 8. Irwin, 9. Callum, 10. Kieran, 11. Joe, 12. Nobby, 13. Dan, 14. Jake, 15. Jonno, 16. Kristian, 17. Sam
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