Edwardians visited Market Drayton on Saturday 14th January looking to make amends for their worst performance of the season, when losing the reverse fixture back in October. The Streetsbrook Road outfit were not only looking to seek revenge, but also to put some breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack in the race for promotion.
Eds started the game flying out of the blocks, storming over the gain line through both their forwards and backs until a chance was created out wide, which fullback Mark Garrick
finished off in the corner for the early advantage. The visiting side set their stall out early, having the upper hand in both the scrum and lineout. With the forwards working endlessly to secure their own ball in the set piece, the backs distributed the ball with real precision, looking like a slick, well drilled outfit throughout the game. After a driving lineout was deemed to be knocked on over the Drayton try line, Eds fly half Dave Gray
was quick to pressurise his opposite number by charging down the attempted clearance kick from the back of the resulting scrum. The ball bounced favourably for Gray and the stand off was first to react when pouncing on it over the line for the try, converting his own efforts. With two early scores being conceded, Eds expected for the home side to show some resistance and come out all guns blazing in attack. Drayton did not disappoint, but much to the dismay of the home crowd, the Solihull outfit continuously snubbed out any threat with some strong and determined defending. Eds soon delivered a real blow to Drayton when a loose pass was gathered on the halfway line by winger Dave Coles
, the winger showing great speed and acceleration to out sprint any of the chasers to score in the corner. Eds started to dominate the breakdown area, their forwards getting the upper hand in securing their own rucks, which was no mean feat considering a large constituency of the Market Drayton side were Fijians recruited from the local army base, who brought their own brand of physicality to all facets of the game. Gray was able to keep the scoreboard ticking over by adding a penalty after a Drayton player was penalised for an infringement at the breakdown. Just before the end of the half, Eds crashed the ball through the centre a couple of times, and after securing quick ball, distributed with speed from right to left to create an overlap, which winger Adam Walker took advantage of for the fairly substantial half time lead.
Drayton looked a different team in the second half, showing some of the skill and flair with ball in hand that they had done in the previous encounter. It was clear that both sides were suffering the side effects of a very physical encounter as often that lass pass failed to go to hand due to fatigue. It was however an attractive half of rugby and an evenly matched affair with some lovely running rugby being played by both sides. Drayton were the first side to break the deadlock when a loose ball from an Eds lineout was gathered by their prop who went over for their only score of the game. Although the match had been played with a fair amount of aggression and physicality, it was generally within the laws of the game. This was until the last quarter when a few of the Drayton players realised they were chasing a lost cause and resorted to frustrated ‘cheap shots’. The referee handed out 3 yellow cards and a straight red for late and illegal hits (predominantly to their Fijian contingent) and a yellow card to Eds blind side flanker Andrew Jervis
for a high tackle. With Drayton finishing the game with 13 men, Eds were able to suck in their defence and create space out wide to feed Captain Michael Bourke
who scored the try just before the final whistle.
Eds travel to Clee Hill on Saturday to play their postponed game in hand, which if they win will see them go above Telford Hornets to top of the league. A coach has been laid on by the club for the 2.15 kick off.