The RLC Vets took on the Sappers at Minley on a crisp and chilly Wednesday morning in front of a sizeable crowd. Some last minutes withdrawals meant a bit of reshuffling of the team prior to kick-off not as ideal start to the day for the RLC.
The match got off to a quick start with both teams looking sprightly and up for it. Some good early pressure from the RLC resulted in a penalty and a confident Jamie Coleman signalled he wanted to go for posts, but unfortunately his attempt drifted well wide of the uprights. The early pressure from the RLC sparked the Sappers in to gear and it wasn’t long before they crossed line to score, but failed to convert.
The Sappers confidence was growing by the minute and this was evident by the open expansive rugby between forwards and backs resulting in another score but failed conversion. This really unsettled the RLC who were looking ragged and making far too many unforced errors which was further compounded by some poor decision making. The mistakes were costly and only encouraged the Sappers who were playing with no fear. As the half wore on the RLC began to show a little more aggression up front with some good work from Lloyd Hankins, Fletch Flecther, Tiny Nicholls, Mike Carron, Savs Savou and Mawbs Mawbey, but the RLC were still giving away far too many penalties; this resulted in more points for the Sappers. Jack Horner was finding it difficult at the base of scrum due to the power of the Sappers which prevented the backs from getting any decent ball to work with.
Craig Johnstone rang the changes at half-time, bring on himself at 9 and Richie Crane at 10 and Chris Evoy at 12. This seemed to provide the spark the team needed, Crane was marshalling the backline well and restricting the Sappers. This provided the perfect platform the RLC who took full advantage of it playing some good rugby allowing Rob Futter, Ernie Earnshaw, Eddie Edwards, Chris Evoy, Col Mason and Jamie Coleman to combine well and stretch the Sappers defence.However it wasn’t long before some of the bad habits from the first half begun to show, conceding more points. After a turbulent 15 minutes or so the RLC settled down and began to compete and looked very dangerous with ball in hands. Eventually the RLC pressure paid off resulting in a score and conversion.
The match settled in to a rhythm with both sides trying to assert their dominance, but the Sappers were looking the more composed of the two sides. The game ended in flurry with real pressure from the RLC resulting in a well worked score and conversion for the RLC, but it was a little too late with the Sappers running out clear winners 39 – 14.
The Vets look set to continue the momentum in the New Year.
Man of the Match:Mawbs MawbyTry Scores:Tiny Nicholls. Rob Futter, Jamie C converted both tries but missed 2 penalties.Squad: Craig Johnstone (Player/Manager), Richie Crane, Rob Futter, Mike Carron, Shep Shepperdson, Jack Horner, Ernie Earnshaw, Chris Evoy, Savs Savou, Eddie Edwards, Tiny Nicholls, Jamie Coleman, Col Mason, Fletch Fletcher, Lee Hanlon, Matty Matewale, Lloyd Hankins