Saturday 9th October Dings Crusaders II vs OEs 1st XV
Squad included: Rob Lee, Matt Bailey, Alfie Hill, Adam Skyner, Rhys Edwards, George Burnie, Will Tobin, Ashe Raymond-Barker, Joe Stainer, Dom Swann, Louis Bothamley, Jamie Halpin, Dai Treharne, Luke Jagger, Matt Carr, Tom Snell, Joe Watkins, Dickie Thomas
Following a really positive result against Coney Hill last week (56 – 0) the 1st XV were troubled with a few late changes but nevertheless fielded a strong squad for this next Glos Premier test against Dings II. A warm sunny afternoon greeted both teams with good travelling support from OEs.
Unfortunately, Es luck was out in the first five minutes when from a second line out drive Dings scored a converted try (7-0). It took a few minutes longer for Es to settle into the game with good running lines from Dai Treharne amongst others, and some good tackling from Ashe Raymond-Barker who had started at back-row following a forwards reshuffle. Es started to apply pressure and were forcing Dings into making errors. Soon afterwards from the base, off a ruck, Joe Stainer (scrum-half) scrambled through to score an opening try for Es with Dom Swann adding the extras (7-7). Dings were then awarded a penalty in front the posts for Es not rolling away and the score changed to (10-7). Louis Bothamley stole a march on Dings by collecting the ball from the restart but progress was limited with good Dings defence. Es’ defence was also busy with Rhys Edwards getting stuck in more than once.
Es were by now camped in the Dings half and a kick through saw Matt Carr ‘Clothes Lined’ and the Dings player saw ‘Yellow’! Es very nearly added to their score when Rob Lee burst through but with 2 or 3 Dings players hanging off him the ball was spilled. A good pass from Dai saw Will Tobin almost through but for a last gasp tap tackle which upended Tobin. So Es were very much in it at Half Time. Half time score 10-7.
The second half was a festival of tries with Es scoring some great running tries whilst Dings resorted to a One Trick Pony approach with their heavier forwards. The game started to be frantic for Es despite their pressure knocking on and doubtful passing. Dings very nearly scored a good try but the ball was knocked on over the try line. The forwards pressure from Dings scrum and ensuing ruck saw their forwards score a converted try (17-7).
Es were now under pressure more than at anytime in the first half but the ‘Blue Wall’ was doing its job. Es advanced with a quick tap penalty taken by Tobin who then popped the ball up to Joe Stainer who runs in with a try under the posts from halfway. Dom slotted over the conversion (17-14).
Tom Snell was then introduced at Fly Half for his 1st team debut. A great catch from Adam Skyner from the restart showed his good progress and he was having a fine game. Es, though, further succumbed to the Dings forward pressure through line out mauls and scrums and they trundled over with an unconverted try (22-14).
Es heads, though, were still up and they were good for it as Alfie Hill broke through popping to Matt Carr and then Dai Treharne for a try (22-19) not converted. The game started to get a bit fractious with a few scuffles off the ball. What happened next was controversial as following a scrum to Dings they were awarded a Penalty Try (29-19) and despite on field discussions that were a little heated the Ref’s decision of course stood!
A good Es’ move involving Adam Skyner and Tom Snell saw the ball kicked across field into the Dings 22 to be collected by Louis Bothamley who stepped inside his opposite man to score an excellent bonus point try, out wide (not converted 29-24). Following a good take by Tobin, Dai was off down the wing but unfortunately conceded a knock on in the tackle. Richard Thomas was making his 1st XV debut for Es at second row.
With 8 minutes left there was still plenty of action to come. The Dings scrum-half broke off from the back of the scrum and weaved his way through the Es’ defence but was bundled into touch 1m out, however Es then lost their own put-in at the line out and a heavy Dings forward launched himself over the line for an unconverted try (34-24).
Es had desperately been trying to hold onto the additional bonus point by staying within 7 points but this seemed to have gone but “no” in a last attack by Es the ball was fed out wide and in the following confusion at least for me as I couldn’t see what happened but remarkably Matt Carr broke through with the ball and scored a final Es’ converted try, (34-31).
The game came to an end with Dings attacking but the game was marred somewhat by something that should never happen in rugby these days with the Dings second row blatantly head butting Will Tobin, not seen by the Ref but certainly seen by many around the ground including his mother who gave their player ‘Whats For’ in no uncertain terms after the game!!!
Final Score: Dings II 34 - 31 Old Elizabethans (with Es coming out of the game with 2 Bonus Points.)
Man of the Match: Joe Stainer & Adam Skyner - from Coach Heiny. Joe Stainer was incredible at injecting pace into our game and allowed our backs to really flourish. He also controlled the game affectively with the boot. He scored an excellent try by running a great support line. Skyner was great around the park. His work rate really showed in getting to the right areas in the right time. For a big rangy guy his handling, I felt, was great.
Paul Barrington (Blakey)
Next OE 1st XV match: Saturday 23rd Oct at Home to Frampton Cotterell - Kick Off 3:00 pm