Mustangs vs Weymouth RFC
Mustangs off to great start in D&W Phase 2
New Year, new broom and back to winning ways. After a slightly disappointing end to 2018, the Mustangs laid down a tremendous marker for how they want to play the rest of this season. Following a delayed start due to the distance the opposition had to travel, the boys absolutely flew out of the starting blocks. Thumping tackles were made, rucks were cleared out with intensity and immediately it was the away team that looked on nervously. Jake got the scoring underway. After a fast-paced move was held up on the 5m line, he was available to take a pop pass and dive over. More pressure followed before we were given a demonstration of Weymouth’s potent attacking threat. One player, in particular, had spectacular pace and outstripped our defence in a race for the corner, Ollie H just managed to get hold of him as he crossed the line but wasn’t able to prevent the ball being touched down before pushing the player into touch.
Clearly riled by this, Ollie H soon did what he does best, returning the favour to leave their defence in his wake and putting us back in the lead. He almost got another straight afterwards. From a scrum on half-way, Alex fed Calum who held his pass just long enough to open up a gap for Ben to run through. He pinned his ears back and only a tremendous covering tackle prevented him scoring but he managed to slip the ball to Ollie who went over. Unfortunately, the pass went slightly forward so we had to go back for a scrum. The disappointment wasn’t to last long. The Weymouth scrum was of a considerable size and looked like it would give the Tongan set-piece a run for its money, however we have 3 secret weapons in our scrummaging armoury. Firstly, the heart shown by whichever 6 pack down means that our whole will always be significantly greater than the sum of our parts. Secondly, in Ed we have our very own Newtonian paradox – he is both an irresistible force and an immovable object. Finally, Samuel is probably the only hooker in the world who can hook the ball from the opposing No 8’s feet. And so it was that despite being their put in, we turned the ball over. Alex then demonstrated tremendous quick-thinking and even quicker feet to pick up the ball and bag a great poacher’s try.
Ben then got his try-scoring exploits underway with a tremendous run down the right wing before Ollie picked up his second and our 5th. At that stage, it looked fairly comfortable but Weymouth proved nothing if not resilient and came back with several probing attacks. Despite some great defence, they managed to get it out to their speedster who headed for the line. Although snagged by both Ollie and Ben, he somehow wriggled free to score. We immediately went back on the attack but just couldn’t make the pressure count. Both Ben and Lawrence G were held up over the line and we had a couple more forward passes at critical moments (note to coaches...) before suddenly Weymouth broke from inside their own 22 and George found himself on the wrong end of a rapid 2 on 1. Despite his best attempts, they made it past to make it 5-3. Despite some barrelling runs from Austin B through the centre, it was probably Weymouth that had the best of the remainder of the first half and it was the Mustangs who were more relieved to hear the ref blow for the end of the period.
The second half was a slightly more comfortable affair. Weymouth continued to battle valiantly, but with the slope and wind with them, the Mustangs were able to stretch their legs. From the scoresheet it looks a little like the Ben and Benji show, with both players getting their hat-tricks, but that doesn’t do justice to the tremendous team performance. Ben got the scoring underway, following some excellent work from our forwards in punching holes in the defence that provided him the space to run through the middle. Benji then got his first. He’d had a slightly quiet first half but then that ‘Benji look’ descended across his face and he was away, shrugging off defenders and making his way to the try line with laser-like focus. From their kick-off, Jake caught the ball and headed off on a run through the centre of their defence. He was eventually caught about 10 metres out but had been tracked all the way by James H, who then brushed off their attempts to bring him down and stretched out an arm to score. Benji then got his second, scoring despite having to carry both the ball and a Weymouth player over the try line.
Calum was then off on a side-stepping run. Brought down by their full-back, he released to Benji who was tackled just short of the line. The forwards cleared out and Ed went for the line and was stopped with inches to go. Ben, having supported Ed’s drive, was quickest to the ball and finished his shortest run-in ever. The score-line would suggest that the Mustangs had it all their own way but Weymouth continued to look dangerous on the counter. Only some superb defence stopped them advancing further and George made two try-saving tackles. They did manage to get one back before Benji scored his third with a regular right-wing dart. Then came the crowd-pleasing moment of the day. Stanley picked the ball up on half-way and barrelled through the opposition. On and on he went and there was a roar from the sideline as it looked like he would make it. Weymouth eventually threw about 4 players at the problem to bring him to a halt, but only for Samuel to pick up and dive over himself for a score that his performance fully deserved.
Overall, a superb team display and a great way to start 2019. The coaches would like to recognise those lads not selected who came along and got stuck in pre-match and supported throughout – excellent team spirit. Thanks also to our neutral referee, Alan Tindale, who was most complimentary about the lads’ performance and behaviour at the end.
There was superb defence demonstrated across the pitch but Tackle of the Day goes to George for his two try-savers in the second-half. Lots of candidates for Man of the Match, including Ben and Benji for their try-scoring and Samuel for his all-round performance, but the award this week goes to Calum. It was an excellent fly-half and captain’s display in which he was the fulcrum that enabled everyone else to perform so strongly (and also performed one of the cheekiest intercepts seen for many a year).