Friendly home v Chesham
league warm up - still blending the team and patterns
This was originally planned to be away but whilst they offered us a 11 ko at theirs, for ease of early travel (and potential hangovers) we opted to keep at 1400. 21 lads were available to play, but great too to see support from injured Matt (running the score board, a first for us), Cam and Dan. Sam still recovering from a collar bone injury prepared to add late on if need be.
The boys looked exceptionally sharp in the handling warm up, and with new club socks issued, they were even early for the kick off. (Another first). And what a start, clean take easy slip ball to pace coming from deep and first ruck easily cleared. And playing to now becoming controlled structures we advanced the full length, first playing right, before then zipping it wide left for Zac to finish strongly in the corner. So 2-3 minutes on the clock, 10 phases of error free rugby, try and Chesham hadn’t touched the ball.
We should and could have scored more, some basic errors meant we couldn’t quite finish chances. Our next though came off set piece, with Freddie first chipping and regathering, (see vid below) before the Masonator carrying machine made more huge yards. From resultant rucks forwards carried again, and perhaps we could have gone wider earlier, and with a pen advantage the chip for the winger didn’t go to hand. But the tap pen from Harry,found a cemented defence for Freddie to dive over. Extras added 12-0 and cruising.
They were some real showreel items, a notable interchange between Jack Barnes and Tom Findlay also making huge gains (see also Kerri’s photos); and the backs too also linking up Fred to Oli for the initial break, back inside flicks and out the backs drawing gasps and hoots from the touchline subs, only a final dropped pass when the waves had parted halting that passage.
When we played our phases we looked in control and regularly made in roads. Our next try though came from a Travis chip and chase, and whilst he was ‘shouldered’ off the ball by a centre (just saying) we recycled to come right again for Ben Mitchell to stroll in (not trusting his dodgy left hand pass to the free Finn). Extras added again. 19-0.
Chesham played with heart though, and they got some reward after a tap pen deep in our 22, 19-5 and half time.
After half time, again a thunderbolt start, we won the ball back before Travis hit a really hard line and was unstoppable even from 35m. Extras added 26-5. Whilst our lineout had been solid all day, we threw back the years with Aaron’s NFL style stinger to Kyran to stroll in as the opposition were again rooted. 33-5
The game though then disintegrated with them losing numbers, for a period only 14, then 13, and then 11 fit players. We had reduced numbers to match on each occasion, and then gave them 2 to get us back to 13v13.
We tackled well too, some notable track backs by Zac on a few occasions, and a collective corner flag effort to save a try ‘touch in goal’.
Travis picked up his second, after a neat inside ball off Harry close to the ruck and Kyran his second in support of runners when the field had 3-4 bodies strewn across it. The whistle was blown and conversion not even attempted. 45-5 FT.
Some really pleasing aspects again and their coaches said afterwards that their players were blown away from our initial intensity. (for the first try). We will play better teams and that’s why it’s important players understand their roles and structures in attack (and we could have been more clinical at times today) and defence (importantly) so when the pressure is on it becomes second nature.
Travis Pretlove x2
Kyran Townsend x2
Freddie Lewis 2
Josh Petrook 3
MoM - Travis for his defence and contribution to attack.
Ref: Ian Townsend, thanks again for 3 on the bounce.