Academy win again and top OBB Div 1 League
Another excellent result and another BP secured!
Marlow topped OBB League one, with 4 wins and 3 BPs from the first 4 rounds, but now starts the return fixtures, doubtless with many gunning to avenge their previous defeats. A&C our visitors today were our first league win of the campaign, though they remain win-less from their 5 encounters. Form and previous match-ups can often mean little when a few county squad rivalries are in opposition.
Marlow were the first to score, a very neatly taken score from the strong running, jackaling king Harvey from inside centre, busting tackles and showing good pace to dab down under the sticks, Jamie Maddern adding the straight-forward extras. 7-0. A&C seemed content to play a territory game, and found some nice touch lines around our 22. Their eventual reward was a kickable penalty that was duly slotted 7-3. The majority of the game was then punctuated with either line outs from the exhausting penalty count, or scrums from scraps or fumbles as both teams sought to exert pressure. Sam Hunt and Gabe Knopp both had rare starts in the backrow and both fully justifying this with strong games and crunching hits.
The next score was 'against the run of play' as A&C pressed on the edge of our 22, with their backline fairly pedestrian or too deep, James Forsyth picked off an intercept pass to sprint away from all pursuers for a great 70m solo run. His membership of the front row union will be put before a tribunal on Monday! Extras added, oxygen taken on, 14-3. That break out boosted us and deflated them, as quickly we were once again punching holes and making good ground, with solid ball retention (now a customary trait for us), and with phases building, play moving to the right, Chris Dawkins spun through would-be tacklers on the line to score outwide. 19-3 at halftime.
The second half was short on highlights, unless you love scrummaging. At this level, a scrum can not move more than 1.5m, and after more than 45degrees of twist, a reset is order. ie there are few scrum penalties, even if dominant, and the team that feeds the ball very often retains possession unless a strike 'against the head' is made at the time the ball is put into the scrum. All padding (I grant you), and explains the numerous resets, despite the advantage A&C had and disruption to the flow of the game. Still probably not worth the hollowing and cheering (said every back ever) - no points awarded at these mini contests.
A&C continued to exert pressure and played their part in the contest. From multiple penalties, they ran hard from 15m out and with a few missed tackles, crashed over. 19-10. They were now playing for a losing BP, for being within 7pts in defeat. Yet we upped the tempo, we broke from deep (as we had threatened a number of times), and then with solid work at the breakdown, we built phases and hence pressure. They buckled under this pressure conceding penalties, and from one quick tap, Finn Duguid feigned to pass wide, swiveling and darted strongly from close in to crash over, with extras added on the final whistle. Try BP secured; losing BP denied. 26-10 Final score.
Jamie Maddern 2
(special thanks to Brian Benzie for stepping in to referee at last minute, and having reffed another club game on saturday).