What a match!!
Well what can I say apart from that from a spectator’s point of view it was a great, nerve-wracking match to watch...full of drama, tension and expectation but one thing is for sure every single player put in a huge effort and it showed!
This report is not 100% accurate as started to write notes then I just got caught up in the whole game...so all from memory!
We all knew it was going to be a close encounter as it always is against Bracknell...the difference is this year we put points on the board (last season result 31-0)...with almost a full squad available and the new experience of playing under floodlights, from the kick off Abbey were showing Bracknell that this was not going to be a walkover and that they were here to play rugby. It was almost instant that Abbey were on the attack, with George doing his famous dummy and slipping through the centres, setting the ball up for the forwards to take it on further...the pace of the game was set.
With the forwards moving up the field, with great tackles going in from Bracknell the support from the Abbey players for the ball carrier was always there...after some sustained pressure Abbey were awarded a penalty, Jack opted to go for posts...a great kick from George and the first points went to Abbey....the thing I really noticed when George was preparing for his kick, that boys were organising themselves, just in case he missed...which was great team thinking!
So we were up and Bracknell came back at us strongly, with huge tackles going in across the field, it was now Bracknell’s turn to put pressure on the Abbey line, with their forwards moving up the field and recycling the ball, despite a huge defensive effort Bracknell went over for the first try of the match which was converted. With great support from the touchline, Abbey were ready for the restart, again they went on the attack, moving up the field, Jordan did a great run making at least 20m...all good stuff and giving us all something to cheer. The boys were using their power in the scrums and I don’t think they lost any against the head...some great hooking by Connor! The ball was being passed well and the backs were fully involved in the game, now I think that Bracknell scored a try next with the ball going out wide to the winger who scored underneath the posts...but then Abbey came back again, they kept their control and heads up and from a high ball, caught by Eddie, he ran through, kept running, we thought he was going to score but got tackled...we were all screaming at him from the touchline...but again the support was there the ball was recycled and the forwards kept going...despite some great defensive work by Bracknell...we scored – Gorgeous George taking the honours, converted by George...it was 10 -14...oh so close!
Now the next bit is a blur but we had another penalty this time in front of the posts, so Jack went for posts...phew...it went over ok...13-14...even closer when the half time whistle went. During half time the ref spoke to both captains as there had been too many penalties from both sides...and warned that the next one would result in a card...no matter what the offence was.
Second half started similar to the start, with Alexander again making a great run, handing off as he went...it was all too much we were just so close to scoring...but then Bracknell broke away and scored ...it was 13 -21...too much tension on the sidelines for everyone..but the support must have helped the boys on as they all carried on playing so well, huge tackles going in and the rugby was so good to watch...then the breakthrough, Lewis saw a gap and those speedy legs kept going and he reached for line whilst being tackled to score underneath the posts...well I would imagine England players would get a similar response at Twickenham...so with 20 minutes to go it Abbey 20 - Bracknell 21.
As mentioned earlier the referee warned the players about penalties and unfortunately, we were the next to infringe, so we were down to 14 players with a yellow card issued by the ref...the defence had to stand strong and with some re-organisation, Abbey worked hard and kept on attacking. We got another penalty but this was just wide (it was very windy) but again Abbey were ready for the counter attack. The play continued and then Bracknell had a player yellow carded...so it was even at 14 a side. Now the next Bracknell try was a penalty try...the boys were disappointed and Jack and others thought that the ball was out of play so they had every right to play it...but the referee disagreed and Bracknell were now 8 points ahead.
With both sin-bins back on the pitch, Abbey were giving it their all...with Bracknell now on the up they kept attacking our line, but dogged defence meant they just couldn’t get through...unfortunately we had another player yellow carded for a trip...so again the team were up against it... Bracknell had the ball shipped it wide to the wing and despite being chased by the centres he went over to score under the posts. Score Abbey 20 – Bracknell 35.
With 3 minutes left on the clock, the boys knew they had to give it everything and they did but just couldn’t get through the Bracknell defence and the score line remained the same...but a absolutely fantastic game to watch and everyone felt so proud of the team, how they played and their true “be-lief”!
Credit must go to the referee, although there are always some decisions that are contentious, he only has one pair of eyes and he did kept the game under control, but the discipline shown by both sets of players and the authority of the ref ensured that we all enjoyed a great match. Must say thank you to Jacob for running the Abbey line...but don’t worry Charlie your job is safe
A HUGE well done to all the players, George LH, Brandon, Connor, Max, Jordan, Alex Miles, Alexander, Jack, Dimitris, Mike, George, Lewis, Zimi, Kai, Eddie and the subs Callum, Alex Audland, Will, Sam, and Charlie.
Also, thank you to all those who came to support the team, including our injured, ill ... David, Kaspar, Connor and our old player Paul......it was great to see you all there!
In my opinion they were all Men of the Match but the honours went very deservedly to Eddie, great defence and attacking play throughout the whole match...well done! Lots of other players on the chairs...and we all love Zimi...sooo slow at drinking half a pint of cola!