Saturday saw 'The Es Thundercats' take a trip across the Severn Bridge to play a Chepstow RFC 2nd XV, whilst the 1st XV had a league home fixture vs St.Marys Old Boys RFC.
The home fixture for the 1sts was in doubt for a while due to heavy rain over the previous few days and standing water in the corner closest to the clubhouse. We’ve not had this problem for many years but some of the old boys will recall many happy times clearing the pitch of water prior to a home game some 30 years ago. So, huge thanks to everyone that answered the call and arrived early at the club to help clear the pitch of water/mud to ensure the game could go ahead.
Chepstow 2nd XV v OE Thundercats:
The Big Cats recorded a great win away 21-26, well done to all.
1st XV SQUAD: Greg Foord, Jack Houlder, Tom Brewer, Tom Bendall, Adam Skyner, Will Tobin, Fred (Again) Thefaut, Jakob Harding, Sam Hygate, Matt Carr, Tobias Burden, Alex Potts ©, Sam Brewer, Ted Bristow, Stephen Terera, Henry Oughton, Henry Kirkpatrick, Alex Lee
Both teams lined up prior to kick off to observe the two minute’s silence for Armistice Day.
Despite Es’ increasing number of injuries the Es’ strength in depth saw Es dominate this game straight from the kick off. Es showed they had got their heads in the right place as was called for by stand-in skipper Alex Potts, and the young Fred (Again) Thefaut gathered the ball directly from the kick off taking St.Marys by surprise. This attack ended up with a penalty being awarded to Es and Sam Hygate cooly put Es into the lead (3-0).
Adam Skyner took the ball from the restart and barged his way past several SMOB players setting the ball up well. Es advanced to a line out some 8m out and the ball was gathered well and some backs joined the forwards to drive over the try line for another try for Jack Houlder, not converted (8-0).
Early showings from Stephen Terera showing a good safe pair of hands at 15 and some good clearances, Alex Potts leading from the front with his tackle count and Teddy Bristow’s speed frightening the opposition. Es were awarded another penalty kick 20m out and Sam Hygate accurately extended the Es’ lead (11-0).
Will Tobin was starting to put his mark on the game with some gamely runs into the opposition half his first seeing him hauled down 5m from the try line. Es’ attacking continued with a 50/22 kick for what looked like another promising line-out 15m out but despite a good throw and catch the referee adjudged that there had been crossing in the line-out by Es! Then to keep Es on their toes, but in fact against the run of play, Es switched off momentarily and SMOB stole in for a converted try (11-7).
However, straight from the restart Fred Thefaut made a great run popping the ball up to Will Tobin who snaked his way into score a try converted by Sam Hygate (18-7).
Tobin looked spritely despite having stayed out until 07:00 that morning and there were calls from linesman Barrie Darby for the whole team to do the same in future!! Indiscipline then gifted SMOB two penalty kicks in quick succession in front the posts and Es were pegged back to (18-13).
SMOB however, knocked on from the restart and the solid Es’ scrum 15m out saw another good set up by Fred Thefaut who popped the ball to Sam Brewer who bundled his way over for a good try and Sam Hygate conversion.
Half Time score (25-13).
Greg Foord and Jakob Harding made way for Henry Kirkpatrick and Henry Oughton.
An Es’ penalty kick to the far-right hand corner didn’t reach touch but SMOB knocked on and from another good Es’ scrum Will Tobin picked up from No.8 and beating 4 players scored under the posts giving Sam Hygate an easy kick for the extras (32-13).
Alex Lee on for Matt Carr.
Es’ set play was looking good with solid scrums based on a good front row and two giants, Tom Bendall and Adam Skyner in the 2nd Row. These two were also securing good ball all afternoon from the line outs giving Es a good platform to attack from. One such line-out saw Tom Bendall move to the front of the line at the last minute fooling SMOB and took a short line out ball from Jack Houlder attacking down the wing Tom returned the ball to Jack Houlder who showed his speed but was hauled down by a determined SMOB defence.
The play seemed to stagnate for a while and it became a bit messy in the middle of the park. A great cheer from the crowd went up when Es shoved SMOB scrum back 10 metres, another highlight of the game!! However, soon after SMOB scored a well-deserved try in the corner but missed the conversion (32-18).
SMOB were beginning to believe in themselves and had a new spring in their step whilst Es appeared to have tired legs. A great tackle from Tobias Burden gave Sam Brewer the opportunity to steal the ball and relieve some pressure at least for a few minutes. Then a cross field kick from Sam Brewer looked to have set up the try of the season so far as his brother Tom Brewer received the ball on the opposite wing but alas regretfully he was tackled a metre or two out, the ball then went everywhere in a quite comical moment for both sides and how Es didn’t score we will never know!!
Despite that the referee brought play back for an Es’ penalty and sensibly, to try and avoid SMOB getting back to within 7 points (and thus potentially denying them of a bonus point), Sam Hygate kicked the penalty cleanly between the uprights (35-18).
SMOB indeed did continue to attack again and at this point Adam Skyner took a Yellow Card - “one for the team” and SMOB kicked for a 5m line out and drove the ball over to score a converted try (35-25).
Still 10 points behind there were only moments left in the game and Es managed to see it out.
A great game to watch and some excellent performances but no doubt Es benefitted from a solid scrum and line-out to record their second win in a row moving them up to 5th in the league. We look forward to next week’s game (18 Nov) away to Avonmouth Old Boys RFC - see you there!
FINAL SCORE: Old Elizabethans 35 – 25 St Mary’s Old Bopys
Man of the Match: Alex Potts - great leadership from start to end
Tries: Jack Houlder, Will Tobin (2), Sam Brewer,
Conversions: Sam Hygate (3)
Penalties: Sam Hygate (3)
Full Table and Fixture List below
Report by: Paul ‘Blakey’ Barrington
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