High-fives all round as we take the sting out of the Wasps
A gutsy performance with several key players missing
What a beautiful but very chilly and windy morning for our trip to the historic home of Wasps.
We’re a few players light (not to mention our sports journalist!) but there’s an air of confidence in the squad as Captain James Isaacs meets his opposite number for the toss-up and it’s Camelot to kick-off. Dan gets the game underway with a strong following wind for the first half. Wasps have two or three big forwards and in the opening exchanges it’s clear there’s not much between the packs as the teams compete for quality ball.
The first chance goes Camelot’s way following good work from the forwards. James N pops a clever little kick over the Wasps defensive line with only an unlucky bounce preventing Freddie from opening the scoring.
Some more good rucking, tackling and pressure rugby forces mistakes from Wasps and we take advantage with a neat move between Dan, James N and Terrence ending with the latter scoring in the corner. Dan hits an excellent conversion to give us a 7-0 lead.
A few minutes later there’s another flowing move from the backs with Caolan doing brilliantly to release newby Kieran who scores in the right corner. Another fantastic conversion from Dan extends our lead to 14-0. Having scored two mouthwatering team tries our next score is a fantastic solo effort from Freddie who somehow wins the ball in our half and is off with 2/3 opposition players in hot pursuit. There’s no catching him though and a score under posts gives Dan a more straightforward conversion to extend our lead to 21-0.
Despite the score our opposition are far from giving up and put pressure on our defence. Wasps have an attacking scrum on our 22 but a great push from our pack releases the ball to Caolan who feeds Kieran and off he goes from deep in our half to score on the right. Another great solo effort from our newest recruit. What a fantastic addition to the squad he is. Again somehow Dan makes another really difficult conversion to increase our lead to 28-0.
Back come Wasps for an extended period of pressure on our 10 yard line. Time after time the Camelot defence is tested but every attempt to break through is thwarted by outstanding and brave tackling from the whole team. Unbelievable determination from the boys sees the half out and we retain a 28-0 lead at half time.
Some of us have had the pleasure of watching these lads for the best part of 10 years. It’s difficult to remember a better performance than that first half. We played with great rhythm, great tenacity, great skill, great bravery and great teamwork and against a decent team.
Into the second half and this time it’s wind against.
Wasps go on the offensive but again it’s Camelot with the first points of the half with Kieran scoring his 3rd try of the morning with a Chris Ashton-esk finish under the posts and a slightly easier conversion for Dan - 35-0 now to Camelot.
Still Wasps push forward; there are some big hits with Woody cleaned out by a lad twice his size. He’s temporarily hurt but bravely back on the pitch a few minutes later.
In the meantime Wasps do eventually score after a rare handling error in our defence - 35-7.
Following the restart we have an attacking scrum and James I surprises the opposition with a surging run off the back of the scrum. He makes 20/30 yards despite having about 5 wasps players hanging on to him. Eventually he goes to ground and after good work from James N and Caolan it’s Dan who scores with an outstretched arm. The lead extends to 40-7.
Wasps aren’t done yet though and with a score under posts and a successful conversion the lead is reduced to 40-14. Another follows but no conversion this time - 40-19.
The last score goes to Camelot. Another flowing backs move and then a surging run from Tommy which is picked up by Fred who passes to James N and a well timed pass to Terrence who scores in the left corner. Another extremely difficult conversion is missed this time by Dan and that’s the end of the game. Final score 45-19 with tries from:-
Dan 1 (+ 5 conversions)
An absolute pleasure to watch particularly the first half. When we move the ball through the hands we are a very very good team and make the game look simple. Today was a brilliant all round performance from the whole squad with coaches awards being very difficult to determine. For his outstanding leadership and incredible tackling, mauling and rucking, James Isaacs was awarded best forward of the day. For the backs, Dan had a superb game and his kicking in very challenging conditions was incredible. A worthy winner.
A great morning finished off by an excellent chilli con carne - thanks to our hosts. And thanks to the coaches and the players; you made us all feel very proud today.