Colts come out on top at Tadley
Great game of rugby in spite of the weather
The conditions were pretty soggy at Tadley but I confess to being pleased that the lads could get a run out rather than the game be cancelled. Tadley always give us a good game and today proved to follow all of our games against them. Defensively the Abbey lads were awesome today, every lad, to a man, put their body on the line and tackled their hearts out. Communication was much better than in recent weeks and the lads could be heard from one side of the pitch to the other. Harry, who seems to love playing at Tadley as he always plays well there, had a super game, he put himself about the park from full back and worked hard both on and off the ball. Tommy Andrews used his speed and footballing skills to excellent advantage today, running some great supporting lines and tackling well, pushing his opposite number into touch on a number of occasions. Matt Kilford, playing for the first time since October, showed a clean pair of heels on a few occasions and tackled superbly too. Shack, Connor and Remi managed the game with their usual skill, tenacity and determination, all 3 lads tackled and ran with the ball superbly today and were a credit to the side. James had a great game, scragging a burly Tadley forward who had picked up a loose ball, holding on to him for long enough to slow their progress forward - James was rewarded for his efforts and improving fitness with 'man of the match' today...
Eddy O was solid in defence as always, he tackled hard and used his not inconsiderable strength to our advantage in the scrums, rucks and mauls, he used his versatility to play both front and second row which proved very useful when both Jed (who had his best game for quite some time, tackling, rucking and putting his body on the line for the rest of the team, more please Jed - and Mitch who had run himself around the pitch working his socks off for the team hitting ruck after ruck) - both needed to be subbed. Tyreece, as Captain today, played his heart out. He showed is strength and determination on a number of occasions picking the ball up at the back of the scrum or a ruck and taking the team forward some considerable way before being brought down...sometimes our support work was a bit slow (particularly in the forwards) and this meant we were isolated at the breakdown and the ball was turned over. Jack Daley also played well, he hit every ruck and maul and could always be seen at the centre of the action working hard for the benefit of the team. Aaron, Ross and Josh Evans did their bit for the team all taking a turn in the backs and doing excellently, Ross played the first half at outside centre and combined well with Remi, Tom and Matt Kilford (great to see you Matt, some great runs and superb tackling well done) to get the ball down the line (although he could have passed a little more), he was rewarded with our first try at around the 15 minute mark, he had made a superb run down the right with Tommy Andrews hot on his heels and shouting for the ball (quite rightly), a tackle before the offload was recycled well by Connor and the forwards managed to get Ross, who then put his forwards hat on, over the line close to the posts - Shack converted. Soon afterwards Shack himself, ran strong and hard through the centre, kept his leg drive going and placed the ball down close to the posts, he converted his own try....Tadley wanted to ensure they put points on the board and so, when a ball went loose, they hacked it forward, the footrace saw Connor, Shack and Ross chasing down the Tadley lad who was determined to score and although Ross got to the ball first and touched it down, the try was awarded to Tadley as one of the lads had tackled the Tadley lad off the ball......Their conversion was not successful.
Paddy made an instant impact when he came on at half time, with one of his trademark powerful runs through midfield, he continued to work hard throughout the game, taking over from Jack Saunders who had also used his strength and power to our advantage throughout the first half. Ryan had a couple of good strong carries today and also could be seen tackling and using his height well in the line outs and mauls, Ryan always tries hard to work his way through the middle of a maul and latch on to the ball, well done Ryan. Ed Wisener played his first game this season in the back row as we were using Josh and Aaron in the back line. Ed carried well and tackled well..it was great to have you back Ed. Finally, but by no means least Bill, who, like Paddy made an instant impact with one of his trademark stonking tackles knocking the Tadley centre at least a metre backwards, Bill is always hardworking and leads by example, hitting hard and low and rarely missing a tackle.....
It has to be said that Tadley never gave up...they kept on at us and, particularly in the second half they upped their game to contain us to a nil nil draw, only narrowly missing an opportunity for a try as the seconds ticked away for full time, the forwards managed to turn the ball over at a ruck and Connor as he had done on a number of occasions today cleared our lines excellently for the final whistle to be blown.
This was a good game to watch, although our penalty count was far too high again. Our handling and decision making needs improving but, all in all a super game...well done lads!