MIXED BAG OF FORTUNES FOR HINCKLEY
Reported Today: Emma Bassford
Game 1 - Hinckley vs Mold:
In the first mini-game, Hinckley hosted Welsh side Mold to start off proceedings. It was a good start by the home side as back Finn Deevey-Ryan raced across the whitewash for the try’s opening score. This was unconverted but Hinckley lead 5-0.
However, Mold quickly returned the favour as a big mistake in defence meant that the opposition scythed in for their 1st score. This too was unconverted, 5-5. Hinckley regained momentum through the forwards, as Number 8 Seb Smith bundled over to re-establish the lead, this time it was an easier conversion to kick therefore flyhalf Lewis Gardner knocked it over with ease and Hinckley went into the break with a 7-point lead, 12-5.
They couldn’t have made a worse start to the 2nd half though as Mold struck back quickly and their flyhalf converted successfully and things were all square at 12-12. Deevey-Ryan replied almost immediately with his 2nd try of the match and Gardner converted to restore the 7-point lead. From then, unfortunately, Hinckley were torn apart by Mold’s attack as the Welsh side scored three tries (with two converted) in succession and Hinckley could not find a response.
Final score: Hinckley 19 – Mold 29
Game 2 – Mold vs Saffron Walden:
In a tight affair, Mold squeezed past Saffron Walden.
Final score: Mold 15 – Saffron 5
Game 3 – Hinckley vs Saffron Walden:
After some stern words from the coaches in the changing rooms, Hinckley ran out onto the pitch more energised and crucially more enthusiastic than in the opening game. Sam Racklyeft kicked off proceedings, the ball is turned over and Ben Deacon carries upfield. Hinckley clear the ruck and Ed Burgess runs a great line and powers his way into the oppositions ’22. After several phases, the ball was whipped away to Smith who crashed over on the left-hand side. 1st blood to Hinckley and although Racklyeft was just a bit too narrow with the conversion, the hosts lead 5-0.
The Londoners tried to bash their way at the Hinckley defence but Hinckley were rejuvenated by the efforts of both Dan Johnson, Jacob Bassford and Racklyeft. Eventually, Hinckley win a penalty at the breakdown subsequently Racklyeft finds touch upfield. Another robustly efficient lineout & maul had the visitors on the backpedal and a simple but ruthless attacking phase saw Deevey-Ryan sidestep his way almost untouched to race under the posts. Gardner nailed the conversion and Hinckley had extended their lead to 12-0.
At the restart, Gardner tries to dink the ball over the top for the two centres to chase but Saffron Walden cover well. Fortunately, soon enough Hinckley won the penalty and the ball was kicked into touch in the opposition’s ’22. Again, a powerful lineout and maul drove the Londoner's back to their 5 metre line and Smith splinted off in search of a 2nd try but credit to Walden they held the Number 8 over the line and it was a scrum reset. However, this time Smith was not to be denied as he crashed over from the back of the scrum to get his 2nd try of the match. Racklyeft kicked a marvellous conversion to get the full 7 points. That was the last score of the 1st half and Hinckley lead 19-0 at halftime.
At halftime, Nick Jacques was on the wing for Racklyeft who suffered quad cramp with Deeve-Ryan moved to outside centre. Saffron Walden restarted the game with the kick-off and the ball made its way to Deevey-Ryan, who sidestepped past 3 defenders and showed scintillating pace to get around the winger and dove over the whitewash to score an astonishing individual try. Gardner was agonizingly just wide with the conversion. Hinckley now had a commanding 24-0 lead over the visitors. Jacob Reid came on for Burgess with Deacon moving to loosehead prop and Freddie Colloby was on for the brilliant Johnson. Racklyeft recovered from the cramp to return to the field as flyhalf substituting the ever-reliable Gardner.
Captain Sansome caught the conversion and Hinckley pressed again. Some great carrying & handling from Bassford and Colloby laid the foundations for Smith to pick and go, surging forward. Smith offloaded to an onrushing Bassford to the right and the lock-forward raced ahead. Bassford was tackled well on the ’22 but the ball was passed along the reinforcements to Deacon who dummied and cut inside Walden’s disarrayed defence to score under the posts. Racklyeft converts as the home side extend their lead to 31-0. Sam Stayte came on for Zac Mumford and Luigi Massarella came on at scrumhalf for Jonno Davies while Bassford & Jakob Warren are replaced by Josh Babb and Nathan Horton.
Saffron Walden seek consolation and they got it when they go through the phases before a good line from the lock-forward resulted in him crashing over and the visitors got their 1st try but was unable to convert, 31-5. With the game nearing its conclusion, Hinckley made numerous changes: Kian Poulsen on for Shaun Hubbard and Luke Granger on for Sam Bailey in the backs while in the pack Bassford and Warren were back on for Smith and captain Sansome while Sam Dunger came on for Deacon with Babb moving to loosehead - Dunger playing at openside and Horton moving to 8 who incidentally had to throw in at the lineout.
The visitors now had some spring in their step and Hinckley were disrupted by the numerous changes as their dazzlingly quick right wing brushed aside Hinckley defenders and raced underneath the sticks to grab his side’s 2nd score. This time the flyhalf converted and the score was now at 31-12. The last few minutes were definitely topsy-turvy with both sides pressing at either ends of the field but neither could convert. Saffron Walden press with a final flourish but a knock-on meant that the game was now over.
Final Score: Hinckley 31 – Saffron Walden 12
In short, Hinckley will be pleased with how they recovered from their opening defeat and will be disappointed on how they adapted to substitutions and the actual impact of the bench itself. Meanwhile Mold will be very pleased, having battled their way to a clean sheet and finally Saffron Walden can hold their heads high knowing that they came across too rather successful and proficient Teams.
Mold W2 L0
Hinckley W1 L1
Saffron Walden W0 L2