What a day it was on Saturday for the Old Es, hosting two games. Firstly the Thundercats (OEs II XV) vs St Mary's Old Boys II XV Kick-off at 1:00pm followed by OEs 1st XV vs SMOB 1st XV Kick-off at 2:30pm. There was doubt, after the overnight hard frost, that the games may not go ahead. However, by midday the pitch was declared perfectly playable.
Thundercats SQUAD: Greg Foord, Will Leggatt, Andy Adams, Archie Walker, Kit Gundy, Gilbert Blocksidge, Ben James, Angus Clifford, Dom Swann, James Potts, Ben Simmons, Alex Potts, Kit Douel, George Evans, Josh Westwell, Ben James, Oli Clapp, Isaac Ridley
MATCH REPORT: After the last few weeks where the TCs and SMOB II had played as a combined team it was great that both clubs had grouped together enough players to have this head to head. The Thundercats kicked off playing into the sun for the first half with one of their own, Ben Simmons helping out SMOB by putting on their shirt to make up their numbers.
It was not long before the likes of George Evans was testing the SMOB defence and indeed a good run by George saw him get the ball out to Kit Douel who ran in for his first try, but then missed the conversion (5-0).
SMOB were playing a very narrow game, moving the ball mainly through their forwards but equally good tackling from the TCs held them at bay, including some great defence from Greg Foord and Isaac Ridley to name but two. At the 22 minute mark SMOB were held up over the TCs' try line! The TCs at the bequest of former 1st XV skipper Alex Potts were ensuring the Blue Wall was holding firm including a couple of crunching tackles by James Potts.
A great ball rob and run by George Evans took the TCs back up to half way. Indeed, TCs were rewarded with a good move and a second try as winger Kit Douel was set free down the right wing for his 2nd try, not converted.
Half Time score (10-0).
Es' defence continued to stand tall, a great tackle from Oli Clapp stood out, before a run and pass to Alex Potts saw him run in under the posts, converting his own try (17-0).
It was not long before Es broke out from their half and who was there again to round off his hat trick of tries by Kit converted by Alex Potts (24-0).
SMOB were now starting to flag as the TCs put them to the sword and a fifth try was soon on the cards following a great run by Ben Simmons now back in an Es shirt. Good tackling in the Es 22 dislodged the ball and it was scooped up by George Evans who then proceeded to run the length of the pitch for a great solo try and conversion by George (31-0).
Within minutes George Evans was repeating the act with another superb pitch length run and try + conversion (38-0).
SMOB heads were now well and truly down before Isaac Ridley ran in another well worked try, converted by Oli Clapp (45-0),
A great performance by all in an Es' Thundercats shirt, excellent efforts from everyone involved and hopefully the scoreline won't have damaged the relationship for a combined team with SMOB!!
FINAL SCORE: Thundercats 45 – 0 St. Mary's II XV
Tries: Kit Douel (3), Alex Potts, George Evans (2), Isaac Ridley
Conversions: Alex Potts (2), George Evans (2), Oli Clapp
Man of the Match: Understandably this was a shared award win of the day to George Evans who ran his heart out from Fullback getting a brace of tries and to Kit Douel with 3 tries continuing to bang on the door of the 1st XV. Well done to you both.
1st XV SQUAD: Jack Houlder, James Brooke, Tom Brewer, Adam Skyner, Rob Lee, Matt Bailey, George Burnie, Rhys Edwards, Wil Patterson, Will Appleton, Tobias Burden, Pat Dore, Sam Brewer, Luke Jagger, Matt Carr, Matt Hudson, Henry Kirkpatrick, Joe Watkins
MATCH REPORT: Billed as a top of the table clash Es' 1st XV were looking to do the double on St.Mary's after a good win at their place earlier in the season. A pretty much unchanged team apart from the inclusion of Tobias Burden. The 1st XV were also looking to ensure they had a good start and to put pressure on SMOB from the offset. Indeed, from the first Es lineout in the SMOB 22, scrum half Wil Patterson broke free with just the fullback to beat, choosing, uncharacteristically to chip the ball through, he lost out on what looked like a certain first try! Pressure on SMOBs defence continued and a great diving charge down by Rhys Edwards saw him get to his feet quickly and beat the SMOB player to give Es a first try and conversion by Luke Jagger (7-0).
SMOB woke up and probably for the next 20 minutes were pretty much camped in the Es' 22. One drive following a lineout looked like they had scored but the Ref said it was 'Held Up'. The 1st XV Blue Wall was working hard, and it needed to! Good hits from Adam Skyner and Jack Houlder didn't go unnoticed. SMOB kept knocking on Es' door though and a good cross field three quarters move following their lineout saw their winger run in for a converted try (7-7).
The SMOB Quarter Backs were looking sharp and Es were struggling with the aggression being shown by SMOB but again good tackling from the likes of Tobias Burden and Wil Patterson and a turnover in the scrum momentarily eased the pressure. A good run by a SMOB winger saw him elude 4 tackles before being stopped just before the try line! The pressure was telling and Es were not only giving away numerous penalties but they were reduced to 14 men, James Brooke taking one for the team as the referee got fed up with the continuous infringements by Es. SMOB continued to press for another try but great Es' defending held them out and a good run by Jack Houlder took Es up to halfway with SMOB having a one man advantage, coming away with nothing to show for all their possession and pressure, which must have made them wonder whether this was going to be their day!
The game boiled over on a few occasions with 'Handbags at Dawn'. But other good efforts from Luke Jagger, dropping on a loose ball and good run by Tom Brewer started to see Es lift the pressure. A late and high tackle on Jack Houlder went unpunished by the referee!! There was then a period of 5 minutes or so which was a little Topsy Turvy but Es started to come good and looked to be in the ascendancy. Just before half time a Penalty awarded to Es gave Luke Jagger the chance to get Es back in front but the ball sailed just wide of the left upright and so it was all square at half time.
Half Time score (7-7)
Jack Houlder and Rob Lee off for Henry Kirkpatrick and Matt Hudson.
Es started strongly in the second half and looked like a changed team as a 5m penalty and charge by Adam Skyner was halted before Sam Brewer broke through the defence to score a good try with Luke Jagger adding the 2 extra points with a successful conversion (14-7).
Tackling was still the order of the day as SMOB were not giving up and a thunderous tackle by Pat Dore was cheered by the Es' supporters. SMOB had not given up though and another penalty given away by Es saw SMOB kick successfully to bring the score back to (14-10).
A good ten minutes then followed for Es which pretty much turned the game and broke the back of the threat from SMOB. Joe Watkins on for Tobias Burden before a good move involving Henry Kirkpatrick saw the ball given to Luke Jagger who stole through for a good solo try before hitting the post with his conversion kick (19-10).
SMOB under pressure now, in their 22, carried the ball over and their clearance kick was collected into the basket of George Burnie who ran straight back at them single-handedly beating two tackles for an excellent try with Luke Jagger once again adding the extras (26-10).
Very soon after a good move involving Brewer, Bailey and Burnie (The 3 B's) gave George Burnie his second try and another good kick from Luke Jagger took the score to (33-10).
Wil Patterson continued to put in some thundering tackles and Rhys Edwards was having a great game. Despite all of this Es continued to rack up the penalty count although I had lost count by now and SMOB kicked to the corner from one penalty before a good lineout and drive saw them go over for a consolation try and conversion (33-17).
The effort by Es now started to tell with a number of players going down with cramp before Wil Patterson and the SMOB No.8 had an altercation and both were shown Yellow. The forwards had played well through the front 5 and Bailey, Edwards and Burnie stood strong throughout.
Will Appleton took a knock to the head and looked concussed so may miss the next couple of games a real shame after a commanding performance. So, this is how it ended and a great performance by Es again coming strong as the game progressed to rack up another well deserved win to keep them second in the table. Next week we are away to Drybrook RFC II in the Forest of Dean so hope to see as many of you there as possible.
FINAL SCORE: Old Elizabethans 33 – 17 St.Mary's Old Boys
Tries: Rhys Edwards, Sam Brewer, Luke Jagger, George Burnie (2),
Conversions: Luke Jagger (4)
Man of the Match: Jack Houlder, some good touches on the ball and some excellent tackling.
Full Table and Fixture List below
Report by: Paul “Blakey” Barrington
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