Pre-Season Friendly V Hook & Odiham RUFC
A strong start for the stags against a well drilled Hook & Odiham XV
Saturday 3rd September 2016
Aldershot and Fleet RUFC v Hook and Odiham RFC
25 – 12
It was a windy overcast Saturday afternoon when the teams took to the field for a 3pm friendly kick off. It was decided before the game kicked off to break it down to four quarters for training purposes. Both teams were fired up from the start following a tough and gruelling pre-season, getting everything prepped for the start of Snows Hampshire 2 season that is due to start on Saturday 24th September at home to Alton RFC.
The whistle blew and the game was kicked off with Aldershot and Fleet set to receive. The pressure from Hook and Odiham was applied straight from the off and the team knew it was going to be a hard gruelling match for both sides. Whilst everyone was trying to settle in to the game and get over the initial tension that was had, mistakes were made from both sides causing penalties to be called against each side.
Within the first 10 minutes Hook and Odiham had been set in Aldershot and Fleets half until a kick over the top came from Aldershot’s number 9 Tam Palk-Meikle putting Hook and Odiham on the back foot. Winger Emerson Hanley made a break through the line and gathered the ball from under Hook’s full back and wingers chase, collecting the ball was a mean feat in itself as it bounced in every direction. Emerson then stepped the tackles and placed the ball under the posts. This left Tam Palk-Meikle to kick the conversion.
More mistakes followed giving both sides penalty options to be taken, a penalty kick for posts went just wide as the wind picked up just in time for the kick. This was then followed by constant pressure from both sides keeping the play contained to the middle of the pitch. A maul formed and entry from the side from a Hook and Odiham player gave Aldershot the penalty in kicking distance to the posts, this one was converted giving the score line a 10-0 lead to Aldershot. Whistle blew for the end of the second quarter.
The second set of quarters got under way, but as it got underway the skies decided to turn to heavy rain and changed the game play even more. The conditions on the ball became more slippy and handling errors came from both sides. Hook and Odiham placed Aldershot back on the line from a lineout in the corner. Ball was won by Aldershot yet the pressure from Hook came through hard and fast and picked a hole in the ruck forcing the ball down onto the line. Score line 10-7 try converted.
The pressure and ball passed between each side repeatedly throughout the second half a quick tap from several penalties saw Hook and Odiham having to give 10m at a time for not retreating back. Aldershot were set in Hook and Odiham’s half with a quick penalty heading from number 9 towards the corner under the direction from Aldershot’s Captain and number 12 Rich Varley saw Hooker Davy Armstrong bounce the tackle off to score the try the conversion went wide of the posts.
Hook and Odiham take advantage of a couple of missed tackles and break through the line heading to the corner of the pitch to secure a try taking the score line to 15-12. The last quarter gets underway play hangs around the middle of the pitch until a breakthrough comes from Aldershot’s prop jason huish stepping through tackles linking up with Centre and Captain Rich Varley who carries on through releasing the ball in time to offload to Emerson Hanley who is cutting through at pace to place the ball down just outside of the posts, the try goes unconverted.
The pressure is constant all the way through just as it was at the start, the final whistle is blown leaving the heavy burden of the first game of pre season behind them the cheers rang out across Aldershot Park to the sounds of Aldershot winning their first game so far this season. The teams shook and congratulated each other on a hard fought contest and headed through the tunnel back in to the clubhouse to dry off and have food prepared from Aldershot’s Kitchen Manager Andy Kerr.
After a hard pre-season working on the game strategy to take forward to the season seeing in being utilised to their best ability in the first game, the players found the game plan to be successful and a vast improvement on last season with going forward to the season.
A massive Thank You goes out to Hook and Odiham RFC for a great game and we look forward to seeing you all later in the season.
Man of the Match for Aldershot and Fleet RUFC
Emerson Hanley – Aldershot and Fleet RUFC.