Old Streetonians 10 Chelmsford 36
(London Two North East League)
Chelmsford eventually overcame a spirited Old Streetonians side, to record a comprehensive win, thanks in the main to some devastating finishing by right wing Olly West who scored 4 tries out of a total of 6. Indeed his tally could have been higher, had the bounce of the ball been in his favour on a couple of occasions. In the process Chelmsford registered a bonus point and moved up to equal second in the league placings, behind Enfield and league leaders Romford & Gidea Park.
The fact that there were no league games the previous week, seemed to show in the visitors play, with the hosts fairing better in the early exchanges. Old Streetonians were quicker to the breakdown and played with the greater desire. Had it not been for a couple of dropped passes out wide, then Chelmsford could easily have found themselves two scores down. However, the visitors gradually found their touch and began to dominate the set scrums and put pressure on their opponents. Chelmsford knew if they could secure quick ball and get this to their backs, then their three quarters would do the rest.
After 25 minutes the first points were on the board when the ball was slipped to Olly West who outsprinted the cover defence to record the first of his 4 tries. The hosts began to give away a series of penalties and Nick Hankin had a chance to increase the lead, but missed from 35 metres out. It was not until just before half time that Chelmsford increased their lead. The hosts were penalised for coming in at the side of a ruck and Chelmsford elected to take the scrum. Some slick passing along the backs saw full back Nick Hankin come into the line, he then checked slightly and released the ball to West who outpaced the cover to score a good try in the corner.
Chelmsford turned round with a 10 – 0 lead and within the first 5 minutes of the half, the game was effectively over as a contest, with Chelmsford scoring two converted tries to race into a 24 – 0 lead. Both tries were made by towering clearance kicks from fly half Dan Trayler, the first saw Chelmsford play the ball through several phases and then Trayler passed the ball to Nick Hankin whose burst of speed saw him touch down under the posts. Trayler duly converted. The second was straight from the kick off, a long clearance kick saw the hosts knock the ball on, it was picked up, flicked inside to West, who once again left the host’s cover defence standing to score underneath the posts for his hat trick try. The conversion was made again by Trayler. Shortly after this Chelmsford had a great chance to increase their lead when West found himself in the clear, but the bounce of the ball was unkind to him.
The pressure was beginning to tell on Old Streetonians and they gave away several penalties on their own line, resulting in a yellow card being brandished. From a penalty second row Jim Cooke managed to dive over in the corner for Chelmsford 5th try and then Nick Sany
who made a welcome return from injury came on for skipper Kevin Prior, who had a slight knee strain and Phil Deschamps was on for prop Dean Lester, who had a recurrence of shoulder problems. Another long range effort from Trayler took the ball deep into the host’s half and Paul Welch playing in the back row this week, put West away for his 4th try of the afternoon. Coach Eddie Gooby
used all his substitutions when Lee Macleod came on for wing Mike Mullings.
With 10 minutes of play remaining, Chelmsford were once again guilty of taking the foot of the pedal, as they were in their previous match against Saffron Walden. After some concerted pressure on the Chelmsford line, Old Streetonians scored a deserved try. Unfortunately for Chelmsford, Paul Welch had to leave the field with an arm injury, with Chelmsford now down to 14 men. Then just before the final whistle, Chelmsford let themselves down once again by allowing the hosts to come at them and score in the final minute, but nevertheless record a comprehensive victory by 36 points to ten.
said after the game, “I was very pleased with the performance, we knew Old Streetonians would come at us hard and the first twenty minutes proved that. We defended really well and gave them nothing and when we had chances to score we took them. I thought the first thirty minutes of the second half we played some of the best controlled and running rugby so far this year and the points flowed. What did disappoint me is that once again when the game was won we relaxed and did not finish of the game strongly and push home our advantage. We conceded ten sloppy points which could cost us in the long run. This team will have to learn this lesson quickly and on another day against the top teams it could make a big difference to the season. Saying that, once again we have come away from home and got the win and bonus point which makes me a happy coach. Full credit to the boys for doing a great job, we have a tough game at home to Basildon next Saturday and we will work hard in training this week to prepare for what will be a full on encounter.”