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News > Sports > Berry Hill v OEs 16th September 2023

Berry Hill v OEs 16th September 2023

18 Sep 2023
Written by Malcolm Davies

Berry Hill v Old Elizabethans 16th September 2023

It was a cool, still, September afternoon and OEs were visiting Berry Hill's fine wide pitch, which should have suited the open running game that Es like to play.

1st XV SQUAD: Greg Foord, Henry Oughton, Fergus Blyth, Tom Bendall, Rob Lee, Ben Charlton, Will Tobin, Jakob Harding, Sam Hygate, Matt Carr, Tom Cole, Alex Lee, Luke Jagger, Charlie Garrett, Tobias Burden, Adam Skyner, Joe Mallender, Joe Watkins

OEs kicked off and from the first Berry Hill incursion, winger Charlie Garrett was injured, with replacement Joe Watkins into action, sooner than he would have expected. In the 6th minute Berry Hill kicked a penalty to take the lead (3-0).

Play swept back downfield, a Berry Hill infringement, Sam Hygate kicking the points, (3-3).

The E's scrum was under pressure from their heavier opponents who eventually drove over for a (10-3) lead.

Fullback Tobias Burden made a great run; however, a clear scoring chance was lost when the ball was spilt forward. From a Berry Hill 22 drop out, centre Luke Jagger gathered the kick, gathered pace, turning the fullback inside out to touch down for a 7 pointer, after 33 minutes (10-10).

The referee was making some strange and poor decisions; however, it has to be said he was consistent, making baffling decisions against both sides.

Half time score (10-10)

Joe Mallender came on for the second half, making an immediate impact with some determined runs, setting up good second phase ball. Instead of playing our usual high tempo game, Es seemed to keep taking the ball back into heavy traffic, getting into an arm wrestle with the bigger, slower Berry Hill forwards, which suited Berry Hill more than Es.

The Es front row of Foord, Blyth and Oughton was under the cosh all afternoon, a series of 5m scrum penalties and in the 50th minute Berry Hill drove over, (17-10).

Another Hygate penalty kept Es in touch at 17-13.

A break in midfield put the Berry Hill winger away for an unopposed run in, for what looked like a certain try, however he was caught from behind by the impressive Tom Cole and hauled down.

A monster clearance kick from the siege gun boot of Jagger won a line out on the Hill 22, with an Es put in. A catch and drive followed, Es somehow mauling forward the full 22 metres, Bendall and Lee in the engine room, to touch down, hooker Henry Oughton emerging from the pile up as the try scorer, a 5 pointer to Es in the 60th minute, (17-18).

Another penalty and Es seemed to be pulling clear with 15 minutes left at (17-21).

Berry Hill had other ideas and with 10 minutes to go forced another score from close range to retake the lead (24-21).

The game seemed to be slipping away from Es, then, on half way, Hill knocked on, Matt Carr hacked through, turbo charged Tom Cole won the foot race to touch down for the winning 7 pointer(24-28).

That should have been the last play, however the ref restarted, Es just had to hang on. Hill were awarded a penalty which was kicked for a lineout on the E's 22, spectators wondered if there could be a final twist, however Hill muffed their last chance, with Es hoofing the ball off the pitch.

Berry Hill will have been gutted to lose it at the end. Both sides suffered from bizarre refereeing decisions. A frustrating game for Es who, whilst tackling manfully all game, couldn't quite click in attack, although a different back line from the week before. Es will need to be more clinical in the opposition 22. Nonetheless any win in the Forest of Dean is a good win, with Es returning successfully from their smash and grab raid.

Supporters Man of the Match: Will Tobin was chosen by Berry Hill for the ritual post-match pint sprints, for being a nuisance all afternoon.

Players Man of the Match: for a 10-point contribution, a try saving tackle and the winning score, it goes to Tom Cole.

FINAL SCORE: Berry Hill 24 – 28 Old Elizabethans

Tries: Luke Jagger, Henry Oughton, Tom Cole
Conversions: Sam Hygate (2)
Penalties: Sam Hygate (3)

Next Saturday, Es host second in the table Bream at Hallen, for what will be a far sterner test.

Full Table and Fixture List below

Report by: Andrew Tobin

CLICK for the Old Elizabethans RFC website

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