The 1st XV were away for a return match with Dings Crusaders II having beaten them earlier in the season at Hallen, thanks to Dings 4G pitch the game went ahead. Some great numbers of away supporters so thanks for all your support.
1st XV SQUAD: Jack Houlder, Matt Bailey, Lucas sadler, Rob Lee, Dom Horn, Rhys Edwards, Jake Perry, Will Tobin, Wil Patterson, Matt Carr, Pat Dore, Will Appleton, Alex potts, Luke Jagger, Tobias Burden, Greg Foord, Jakob Harding, Adam Skyner
The pre match assembled supporters were hoping for a better start than the previous week, but that wasn't to be the case, Es were once again caught cold with Dings having all the early pressure. That said, it was probably a little unsettling that after only a few minutes Tobias Burden for some unknown reason was shown a Yellow card. Dings took immediate advantage with a well worked try but no conversion (5-0).
Es were trying hard to get themselves straight back into the game and although this was inter-dispersed with Dings attacks Es did eventually draw level after 18 minutes with a try (not converted) from Pat Dore (5-5).
In the first half the Dings No.12 (normally a 1st XV National player) was looking dangerous and it was no surprise when he managed to dance and wriggle his way through the Es defence for a converted try under the posts (12-5).
Jake Perry was then withdrawn due to a shoulder injury and replaced by Jakob Harding (who had an outstanding game - one to watch for the future!). A number of promising Es' moves/attacks fizzled out due to passes behind backs, knock-ons and dropped balls etc. but the endeavour was there to be seen by all.
Suddenly Dings were down to 14 men following a Yellow Card incident. From a quick penalty there was good ground gained by a combination of Wil Patterson and Will Tobin and a penalty awarded by the referee was coolly slotted home by Luke Jagger narrowing the margin to (12-8).
A great take from the restart from Alex Potts boosted confidence and very soon after good Es' pressure led to a good try and conversion by Luke Jagger (12-15).
A further Yellow was shown to the Dings No.7 player for a Spiked Tackle and Es were on top or so it seemed but suddenly Es were caught napping by a Dings blindside move and their left winger went in for a converted try putting Dings back in the lead (19-15) at Half Time.
Adam Skyner on for Dom Horn.
Dings started the stronger of the two in the second half and an excellent looping pass out to the right wing saw their winger score an unconverted try (24-15).
Es definitely needed to score next to stay in the game. An Es' penalty kick to the corner and lineout with resultant maul and drive saw Es cross the line but it was adjudged by the referee to have been knocked on - no try! Es could have fallen further behind when a speculative cross field kick was caught by the Dings winger but enough Es players got back to stifle the attack. By now Es were trying everything to break down a stubborn Dings defence and continued pressure from both forwards and backs led to an excellent try from prop Lucas Sadler - not converted - (24-20).
Another break by Dings was snuffed out with a try saving tackle from Will Tobin who was on his feet in a split second and stole the ball from the opponent getting a penalty in the process. Es looked as if they would finish the stronger of the two teams and in the final quarter of the match Es were undoubtedly the stronger finishers with replacement prop Greg Foord freshening up the front row of the forwards who then annihilated the Dings forwards at the next scrum!
Through some great positional and territorial kicks from Will Appleton Es were pinning Dings back into their 22. Will, then moments later, on the left wing, charged down a Dings clearance kick, scooped the ball up and went over for a superb solo, bonus point try - well done Wopps - not converted - (24-25).
Es had their noses in front once again. The last few minutes saw some great tackling from Es including from Jakob Harding and Will Appleton and Dings had a further player Yellow carded before Es looked to have gone over for a try but the referee stated it was held up. The last minutes were long but some relief came when Cool Hand Luke Jagger successfully converted a Penalty Kick (24-28) and that's the way it ended.
A well-deserved win. Es never gave up and the confidence amongst the squad shone through to see us do the double over Dings and pop us back into second place in the League with a game in hand.
There is no let up with the tough fixtures and next Saturday (weather permitting) Es 1st XV have another top of the table clash with Dursley at Fortress Hallen. Watch this space for Kick off time as it is understood that the GRFU have stated that all fixtures should currently KO at 2pm - to be confirmed for next Saturday.
FINAL SCORE: Dings II 24 – 28 Old Elizabethans
Tries: Pat Dore, Luke Jagger, Lucas Sadler, Will Appleton
Conversions: Luke Jagger
Penalties: Luke Jagger (2)
Man of the Match: went to Will Appleton, a much improved player, with all supporters in attendance in total concurrence. Will had an outstanding game and shone brightly through his excellent tackling and positional kicking throughout the game and a superb charge down and try!
Full Table and Fixture List below
Report by: Paul “Blakey” Barrington
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