Berkswell & Balsall 17 Old Eds 15
The Eds XV travelled south of the county on a freezing cold day.
For the second week running they came out on the wrong side of the score-line in a close match. Despite scoring 3 tries to 2 they were unable to close out the match from being in front and again conceded a penalty in the closing minutes. Each side made handling errors - probably as a result of the biting cold.
Eds kicked off down the slope and a line-out in the Berkswell 22 area led to a catch and drive, with lock Barrie Jones breaking off to thunder over for the try which centre Tom Burdett was unable to improve: 0-5 after twelve minutes. The first half was fractured by restarts as the Eds tried to take further advantage of the slope which they did with the best move of the match when they won a line-out at half-way and Jones again carried the ball 15m into midfield. Quick ball from the breakdown to No10 Ashley Kalnins enabled him to dummy through the line, draw the defence, and release hooker George Parker to sprint 20m to score: 0-10 at half-time.
Berkswell restarted the second period with an early attack down their left wing. Several phases of attack led to a break through the Eds’ defence for a converted try: 7-10 after four minutes. More Berkswell pressure was soaked up by firm Eds’ defence forcing a handling error. Burdett was yellow-carded during this period and the Berkswell No10 scored near to the posts following sustained pressure: 14-10 after 17 minutes of the second half.
From Eds’ restart No8 Ryan Singh took the ball into contact and scrum-half Scott Pittam fired quick ball to Kalnins who again broke through the cover defence to go over from 25m, putting the Eds in the lead 14-15 on the hour. The Eds needed keep the ball in Berkswell territory as much as possible. A penalty touch-kick opportunity was missed and within seconds Eds were back in their 22. A Singh pass from the scrum-half position was moved on by skipper Phil King to send centre Rob Galloway on a characteristic bullocking run deep into Berkswell territory. Berkswell stole Eds’ line-out ball, kicked upfield and Eds’ fumbled the kick – conceding 50m territory unnecessarily. Shortly after, Berkswell kicked through but Pittam won the race to the line to touch-down for an Old Eds’ 22m drop-out. Once again, in Eds’ territory, Berkswell won a penalty close to the posts and kicked over: 17-15 with three minutes remaining. Despite their best efforts, the Eds couldn’t manage to overturn the result.
Mention has to be made of Joseph Moore who had a solid debut playing a full match at lock. Fellow debutant James Benjamin came on during the second half and had a fine game playing out-of-position at No6.
Next week the First Team are at home to unbeaten League leaders Droitwich.
Old Eds First Team: G Cartwright, G Parker, D McAdam, J Moore, B Jones, C Fielding, P King (Capt), R Singh, S Pittam, A Kalnins, N Sephton, T Burdett, R Galloway, L Roberts, S Southall
Subs: J Benjamin, C Fielding, S Haberfield,