The Bs get their title challenge back on track at a sunny Windsor
It was a case of "from the ridiculous to the sublime" as the snow and hail of two weeks ago was replaced by a lovely sunny morning in Windsor and from having only just enough players two weeks ago we also had 22 boys raring to get involved. The Bs were looking to seal the bonus point win which would keep their Division 2 title challenge in their own hands. They more than earned their bonus point win, running in 8 tries to 1 from Windsor, which was conceded close to the end when the large number of substitutions made things a bit disorganized.
The Blues opened the scoring in the first minute. A ruck was won by the Blues on the Windsor 10m line. Scrum-half Euan Lindsey fed Number 8 Matt King who ran hard, straight and true through the Windsor back line, beat the covering full-back and scored under the posts. The speed and energy was particularly surprising since he had just come off an 8 hour night hike and very little sleep from what remained of the night camping out in a tent! The conversion was made.
A period of sustained pressure from the Blues in the Windsor half saw Windsor win a ruck and attempt to relieve the pressure through a down-field kick. The clearance was taken cleanly by Full-back Alex Crossman around the Newbury 10m line and he looked to run the ball back up to his forwards. Not only did he do that he ran through the Blues forwards, through the Windsor forwards, beat the covering centre, winger and full-back, running it all the way back to score a spectacular try in the corner. The conversion was missed.
After another period of sustained pressure in the Windsor half the Blues scored their third try. The excellent Blues forwards won a ruck on the Windsor 10m line. Matt did a "pick 'n go" from the back of the ruck and charged through the Windsor winger's tackle and on down the touchline, beating the covering full-back on the way to score in the corner. He had almost slowed to a walk when he got there and the opportunity to run round behind the posts was declined. The conversion was missed.
More pressure by the Blues forwards saw them score again soon after. A maul on the Windsor 22 was won by lock Tom Pugh with some excellent ripping, he fed prop Callum Ffrench who drove it on before releasing fly-half David West to break through the Windsor back line and score under the posts. David converted his own try.
Half time came with the bonus point secured and a 24-0 lead.
Substitutions had been made in the first-half and at half-time but they did not disrupt the excellent Blues play. All the newcomers played their part in ensuring the Blues started the second half just as they finished the first, on top. The first score of the second half soon came from a penalty to the Blues on the half-way line. Blues' penalty-runner Matt took the pass from Euan at speed, broke through the Windsor forwards and on to the Windsor 22 where he was finally stopped. A series of rucks by the rampant Blues forwards saw them move the ball up to the Windsor 10m line where a final pick and drive by lock Will Butcher saw him score under the posts. The conversion was made.
Matt then broke out of a ruck around the Windsor 22 and scored under the posts. The conversion was made.
More substitutions were made and things began to get a bit untidy but the Blues scored again. This time a scrum on the half way line saw the backs running with ball in hand, feeding it down the back line where big winger Callum Hambrecht collected the ball between the 10m and 22m lines. A firm hand-off saw-off the Windsor winger as it did the full-back and he scored near to the corner flag. The conversion was missed.
Cue more substitutions whilst we tried to ensure that everyone got at least a half of playing time. This reorganizing of the team resulted in a bit of scrappiness from the Blues and allowed Windsor to have a bit of pressure which ended with them scoring under the Blues' posts after a series of 5m penalties against the Blues.
The Blues came back though with a nice running and handling move by the backs saw winger A Swann (twins - no clue which one!) beat four or five Windsor defenders all within the 5m line before scoring himself. The conversion was missed.
Final Score: Windsor Bs 7 - Newbury Bs 48
All-in-all a very satisfying performance, still a few things to work on, but back on track after the last match. All the boys gave a good account of themselves but apart from the try-scorers mentions should also be made of:
[*]Some great tackling, particularly by Will Butcher, Tom Pugh and David West with Josh Rees putting in some great tackles from the scrum flanks
[*]Team support work by all players
[*]A strong go-forward platform provide by a good performance by all the forwards in rucks and mauls