Following Last week's great home victory against Dings II, Es travelled north to play a Dursley RFC team who have had a good start to the season and have been a bogey team on many occasions!
1st XV SQUAD: George Burnie, Will Leggatt, Louis Mowatt, Adam Skyner, Dom Horn, Rhys Edwards, Will Tobin, Henry Kirkpatrick, Jamie Halpin, Will Appleton, Tobias Burden, Alex Potts, Pat Dore, Leo DeCarlo, Luke Jagger, Wil Patterson, Tom Dewhurst, Connal Tempany
Es welcomed Louis Mowatt, Tom Dewhurst and Connal Tempany into the squad and a big welcome back for Jamie Halpin standing in at scrum half. This was to be a good hard competitive game for both teams with some brutal tackling and a game that had a bit of everything.
MATCH REPORT: With a slight chill in the air but otherwise a dry sunny afternoon Es took the field playing down the slight slope, often a Dursley tactic to play the second half downhill.
Despite a good start by Es, the scrum was creaking from a very early stage and throughout the match No.8 Rhys Edwards followed by Wil Patterson had to do some brave pick-ups at the back of the scrum. Unusually, the Es lineout was also struggling at least in the early stages of the game! It was Dursley that struck first after 15 minutes when following a 5m lineout they spun the ball wide to the winger who scored a converted try (7-0),
Es were going to need to dig deep! A bright point was the excellent game that Jamie Halpin was having at scrum half and single handed he turned over an opposition scrum nicking the ball at the base of the scrum and setting up a good run from Will Tobin and Dom Horn. As the set play for Es was struggling, they were mainly living off of the scraps that came their way during the remainder of the first half, one such example when Dursley spilt a 15m lineout and Will Tobin broke away with the ball.
Early injuries to Will Leggat and Henry Kirkpatrick meant a reshuffle for Es and Will Tobin stepped into the Hooker position and Pat Dore into Outside Centre a position which he has thrived on during the last two games. Es' Blue Wall defence, led especially by Will Appleton and Alex Potts, was working hard and successfully disrupting any further advances by Dursley. Halpin then succeeded in another turnover at the scrum. Es did manage to threaten the Dursley goal line a few times and one seemingly good try by Rhys Edwards was ruled out by the referee. Good wide play by Leo De Carlo and Luke Jagger was starting to test the Dursley defence.
Another highlight of the first half happened when Es were penalised for a high tackle and Dursley had a big drive from the following 20m lineout but an even BIGGER drive from Es pushed the Dursley forwards backwards at a rate of knots!
Half time score line of (7-0).
Restarts being an important part of the game, it was pleasing to see Adam Skyner secure the ball in his basket and stride forward to set the ball up for his colleagues. Louis Mowatt had impressed on his debut but made way for Tom Dewhurst (also making a good debut) and following a reshuffle, for the first time ever in Es' history we had a full Back-Row playing at Front Row (Rhys Edwards, Will Tobin & George Burnie)!
Wil Patterson then took to the field like a 'Whirling Dervish' (look it up!) and was clearly trying to repeat the quick impact made against Clifton two weeks previously but unfortunately was judged to have deliberately knocked the ball on and was shown Yellow having hardly had chance to warm up! The resulting penalty kick from Dursley took their lead out to (10-0).
A number of times the final pass from Old Es thwarted them following knock-ons, bad passes or not passing but the Es' spirit was plain to see and they were starting to build momentum and good carries from Skyner and Burnie were testing the opposition defence and Andy Tobin (spectator) commented that there were visible signs of Dursley beginning to tire!
A good turnover at the ruck and with Patterson back on the field Es worked their way up the slope and a clearance kick from Dursley landed firmly in the Tobias Burden basket who reapplied the mounting pressure which was only helped when a Dursley player was Yellow carded for a deliberate knock on (consistency by the Ref at least)
A 5m lineout from Es was caught in a much-improved part of this set piece and Es drove their way to the line and a full-length arm stretch by second row Adam Skyner saw him touch down for a well-deserved try which was converted by Luke Jagger (10-7).
Es were straight back into it from the restart and Jamie Halpin stole another turnover scrum with an impressive performance. Dursley were then penalised for driving up through in the front row and the kick was calmly slotted between the posts to bring the scores level at (10-10)
Dursley bounced back and started to camp themselves in the Es' 22 and following a series of kickable penalties awarded to them they surprisingly chose 3 times to take the scrum and Es' defence stood firm, one push for the try line held up by Patterson. A punch saw the Dursley Hooker shown yellow and Es cleared their lines with a good clearance kick by Will Appleton. Es' attacking rugby continued to take them back up field and a good chip through by Luke Jagger was applauded by his father, Nigel. Both the forwards and backs were putting in a sterling effort and another great carry by George Burnie nearly led to a second try, but the referee brought play back for a penalty infringement and Cool Hand Luke Jagger stepped up and for the first time in the game took Es into the lead with a great penalty kick (10-13)
Once again, the restart was taken by Adam Skyner who set up a good run for George Burnie, Tobias Burden and Dom Horn. A defensive scrum from Dursley saw their monster No.8 pick up and drive only to be met by a crunching Will Appleton tackle. The ball was spun wide but the decision making was wrong Tom Dewhurst pushing for the try line rather than using the overlap. Es stole a lineout through Adam Skyner and a good phase of attacking rugby ensued with Connall Tempany well in support. A 10m scrum won by Es then saw the ball hoofed into touch by Jamie Halpin.
This was a great end to the game with Es very much on top and could have increased the score a number of times and indeed a penalty kick also floated slightly wide of the upright. Full Time a well-deserved win for Es 10-13
FINAL SCORE: Dursley 10 – 13 Old Elizabethans
Tries: Adam Skyner
Conversions and penalties: Adam Skyner and Luke Jagger
Man of the Match: Shared between Adam Skyner and George Burnie, an excellent performance by both!
Spectators Man of the Match: Jamie Halpin, a really impressive performance at scrum half
Our attention now turns to a big day next Saturday at Fortress Hallen with the line up something like the following:
1200 - Former Players 20-minute Walking Rugby Match
1245 - Former Players pre match Lunch
1500 - Es 1st XV vs Frampton Cotterell RFC
Full Table and Fixture List below
Words and photo by: Paul “Blakey” Barrington
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