Old Gs bounce back in style against New Ash Green
Old Gs back on track with a 43-0 victory over local rivals
Following a disappointing defeat at Sittingbourne the previous week Old Gs looked to get their season back to winning ways on Saturday when they faced local rivals New Ash Green in a North Kent derby. They did this in style with a seven try victory, with four of these coming from centre Greg Humphreys, two from hooker Andy Kidd and one for replacement winger Jamie Potter. Humphreys added eight points with the boot for a personal points haul of 28 points.
Old Gs kicked off and look to stamp their authority on the fixture, using forward ball carriers to take on their visitors up front, whilst freeing space out wide for the backline to threaten their opposite numbers with ball in hand.
Pinning New Ash Green back Old Gs soon registered the first score of the afternoon. From a line out in the attacking 22, then went through the phases with strong carries from Pat Foreman, Eric Roye, Mat Coomber and Andy Kidd creating the perfect platform to go wide. Doug Wilson fed Matt Holdstock who combined with Foreman to send Greg Humphreys over on a tight line for his first of the afternoon, which he duly converted. 7-0.
From kick off Old Gs were straight back in New Ash Green territory, using the boot to gain field position in order to play in the right areas of the pitch. Ball retention was key to the next score, with forwards going through the phases, again allowing the backline to shift the ball wide to Old Gs rhino Mat Wilson, who burst through multiple tackles. Hauled down yards short of the line, Andy Kidd was on hand to receive an offload and dive over. Humphreys again converted and it was 14-0 after 15 minutes.
New Ash Green were not going down without a fight and worked their way back into the game, using tight runners off the scrum half to batter into Old Gs defence. Despite being under the cosh for lengthy period in the middle of the half, the Old Gs rear-guard was in no mood to offer out the gifts that it had done the week before, with a solid defensive wall meeting each ball carrier, chopping down runners to good effect and the line speed was markedly improved to shut out the attacking play of their opponents.
To the fore in this defensive effort were Andy Morris, Mat Coomber and Brett Buckingham in the pack, all with huge work rate in defence and at the breakdown. Phil Costley was also proving to be a menace in the loose, appearing all over the field in support of ball carriers and a willing runner in numerous phases of play. Foreman was also proving to be a huge presence on his return to the Old Gs shirt, putting in one huge hit on the visiting full back to send him a full 20 yards backwards, whilst stealing the ball in the process.
Once the defensive pressure had been released Old Gs struck again. A rolling maul was set from an attacking lineout and Old Gs forwards rumbled towards the line. Despite it being collapsed short and advantage being played they moved the ball towards midfield. Foreman stepped and crashed the ball up, with support on hand to clear the breakdown. Doug Wilson fed Humphreys who breezed over from 10 metres out. He again converted for a 21-0 advantage.
As the half edged towards it’s end Old Gs registered the bonus point score. Big gains were made with ball in hand from Jack Nash, well supported by fellow loose forward Costley and Andy Morris. Wilson fed fly half Holdstock who chipped in behind the defence. The ball was won in the air by Old Gs, winger Ryan Lockyer tipped to Holdstock who released Kidd to glide over for Old Gs 4th try of the contest. The conversion slipped wide. Half time – 26-0.
Old Gs had performed well, banishing any memory of the performance at Sittingbourne, and were keen to press home their dominance on the scoreboard. They knew though that New Ash Green would come back at them hard and so it proved at the start of the second period.
A knock on by Old Gs from kick off gave New Ash Green a good platform to attack on the Old Gs 22. Buoyed no doubt by a few stern words they looked to start a comeback, again using strong carries close to the breakdown and in midfield to test the Old Gs defence. As per the first half though Old Gs were in no mood to let their line be crossed, all 15 men contributing to the cause both in the tight and out wide. The communication was to the fore, as was the line speed, with all first up tackles being made to frustrate their local rivals. However Old Gs were finding in difficult to get out of their 22, with a few lost lineouts and the wind in their faces meaning that New Ash Green dominated possession and territory in the opening exchanges of the half.
Old Gs still carried a threat with ball in hand and having cleared their lines with the boot, they again got back on the front foot. Costley was again prominent in the loose, well supported by Andy Kidd, Mat Coomber and Lewis Moss at the breakdown meaning the ball was on a plate for scrum half Wilson to feed to backline, who were enjoying their afternoon.
A further score soon arrived and it was a hat-trick for Humphreys and the score of the afternoon. In their own 22 they won good ball at the scrum, a facet of play that functioned well all afternoon. Foreman found Humphreys, who released replacement winger Jamie Potter, on due a Chris Johnson head injury, to fly up the touchline. Despite being dragged down by cover defence, Costley was on hand to keep the play moving. The ball was recycled on the short side to Humphreys who threw a dummy and coasted over to complete his trio of scores, and then convert for 33-0.
Confidence flowing, Old Gs were now on the front foot and despite the visitors efforts to keep them pinned back, Foreman and Holdstock used the boot to work the side back into the opposition half, putting pressure on the New Ash Green back three. The forwards built the platform to continue the attacking play, with Andy Morris securing good ball at the lineout at every opportunity. Another score followed, the backline going through the hands to create space for Jamie Potter to fly over. Humphreys couldn’t find the mark with the conversion, 38-0.
As the clock ticked down Old Gs registered one final score to seal the deal. Kevin Spain, on in the back row, carried hard, well supported by skipper Frazer Barnes. Again the breakdown was secured, with ball going through the hands of Holdstock, Costley and Potter to find Humphreys who crossed for his 4th try. 43-0 – the score which remained until the final whistle.
All in all this was an excellent performance from Old Gs, who were generally free flowing with ball in hand, scoring some excellent tries with some enterprising play. What was most enjoyable to see though was the spring back their defensive step, shutting out New Ash Green who brought a lot to the contest and had a few long passages of play where they threatened the home side. Old Gs wish them well for the rest of the season.
Whilst the plaudits will naturally go to Greg Humphreys for his personal points haul, this was truly a squad performance, with all 18 players that featured stepping up to the mark. However, note should additionally be made to the non-stop Phil Costley, who was a bundle of energy and a thorn in the side of the opposition throughout. Also to Pat Foreman who after a long absence from the Old Gs shirt, brought physicality, power and guile to the Old Gs midfield.
Andy Miller was pleased with the way the side responded from last week’s disappointment to produce the promising display, commenting, “This was a great disciplined performance. Our defence was key, especially in the second half. Hats off to the whole squad for the impressive team effort”.
With the expected performance benchmark now set, Old Gs continue the action next week as they travel to Southwark Lancers.