Academy lose to Maidenhead
But all is not lost - still in the running for League winners.....
In what was billed as the deciding match for the league title, Marlow hosted Maidenhead on a mild day and dry track. This was the third time they had played each other, Marlow winning the first league game at theirs (12-7) and Maidenhead revenging in the cup.
In a intense and physical encounter, Maidenhead supporters brought the gladiatorial voices, seemingly cheering every hit (or injury). It was Maidenhead who would strike first, a deft chip and chase inside our 22 which was regathered to score, 7-0. Their next came after we were pressing. A dropped ball, possibly off the ball hit before Lucas received it, (and eventually leaving the pitch winded), was gathered by our favourite 12 and from 70m they raced in. 14-0.
Without doubt we missed a few hard carrying forwards after a number of injuries last week, and we struggled to penetrate through the forwards, and with them identifying our 10, Jamie Maddern, as a key threat there was little time for the backs.
We were camped in their 22 for good periods and after multiple penalties they were eventually yellow carded. Jamie was taken out after chip and chase, and taken off to receive treatment. We had tried through Line outs and scrums but couldn’t breach the whitewash. Their pack caused us issues at the scrum too, with a few strikes against the head as a combination of strike and push stole valuable ball. One key scrum 5m from our own line stolen and their backs crashed through. 21-0 and half time.
Talk at half time was about composure and building with enough numbers in a carrying pod, and with good retention, we worked the ball wide with a few good carries and sharp passing for Lucas to squeeze in at the corner. Immaculate left touchline conversion, 21-7. Belief restored?
However a poor 10-15 minutes saw us ship 4 tries, some indifferent tackling, a turnover, but some nice interplay for their final 2 effectively killing it.
We showed heart though, and from more penalties, and eventual line out from 5m, we grouped and mauled well for James Forsyth to burrow onto the line. 40-14.
Now chasing a try BP of our own, we were stringing together nice stuff from phases, and a collectors piece try for Jack Stroud came from good offloading and support, striding in from 10m (which will grow to 50m for the front row debrief). 40-21.
And still we tried, running from deep, and despite some strong break outs, Harvey, Max, Seb, Ollie and Lucas each almost getting away at times, but we could not quite get away. One audacious ankle breaking step on his one line and another back off the hand switch offload in the final play from Jamie Maddern other highlights.
Final score then 40-21 BP win for Maidenhead.
Subs once again played a crucial part, Charlie Gostelow and Lewis Ashworth with rare appearances, both enjoying and Charlie notably with a few key tackles. Some subs were enforced in this physical game, and shares in ice bags went up today as we rolled (sometimes literally) players on and off and on again.
A tough day.
We have just 2 games left, both vs Bracknell (away next week, and home under lights on thu 26th - and post match beers/curry).
The league is not done! Maidenhead still need to win (and even fit in) their last 3, and with BPs in at least one if we win with BPs in our last 2. (We are 34 Pts after 8, they are 31 after 7...we could get to 44 pts, they could get 46 with 3 BP wins. We also currently have a better points difference even after today...)
The next 2 games also reflect the end of an era for the U18 lads, some having started at U6, so all want to finish on a high, having fun and playing winning rugby with their long term mates.
Jamie Maddern 3