Didcot II 14 v Tadley Bandits 22
Bandits win on the road
It was the usual fun and games getting a team together to travel but in the end the Bandits managed to get 15 together, veterans Mark Adams and Harvey C added to the experience in the backs taking on the winger roles, at the other end of the age range it was good to see Joe Mills back from uni and Will also made an appearance. The Backline was jigged about a bit with last weeks N0.8 Leo S playing 12 and Simon D stepping up to 10, Pieface was 1st to put his hand up and volunteer for Scrum half.
It was a hard pitch and a very hot day, the Bandits got off to a good start and it wasn’t long before Will showed his pace for a good score. 10 mins in Full back Matt Watt limped off and Didcot very kindly lent us Chris for the rest of the game, Chris went to 13 and Joe M went to fullback.
Didcot had some good strong runners and a tidy off-loading game and when they broke through it was only a high tackle which stopped the try being scored so the ref rightly called a penalty try making the conversion a formality and giving Didcot the lead.
Tadley hit back straight from the kick off which was knocked on by the home side and with everyone else stopping Will played to the advantage and got his 2nd .. The lead was short lived as Didcot got a 2nd despite a great cover tackle from Joe, the off load went to hand for the score again converted and a 4 point lead.
Twenty minutes in and 4 tries already it looked like it would be a high scoring game but the conditions started to take a toll, the weather slowed the game down and with a lot of fair complexions and bald heads on display it was tough going, a series of injuries disrupted play and made it very stop start which suited Tadleys edge at set piece, the scrum going well and the lineout with Rick & Chris B jumping to win good ball. Didcot looked dangerous with ball in hand the game was evenly contested but it was Tadley that managed 1 more score before the break when Joe showed great pace to go over for a try, Denning converted and Tadley had a 17-14 lead at the break.
Didcot had the best of the early parts of the 2nd half, Tadley defended bravely and some great steals from Will, rick & Simon kept them at bay. The conditions continued to see more injuries with Didcot using all there bench and Tadley with walking wounded, Denning and Bosh limping about. The Bandits had managed to hold onto their slender lead going into the last quarter but had barely been in Didcots half, on a rare foray into the home side 22 Tadley had a scrum. The game had already been very scrum heavy, rookie 9 Pieface had had plenty of opportunities to work on his skills and he was now getting the hang of it, which was a good thing as we had 10 mins of what seemed like continuous scrummaging, it was a blessed relief when eventually Will found a space for his hat trick try.
The long scrum session meant just back from injury Tom L wisely moved back from the frontrow to flank, pie went to his customary hooking role and Will went 9, this line up only lasted a short time when joe limped off. Tom went to 12, Leo added to his repertoire of positions by going 10 with Denning moving back to fullback and Tadley played the last 10 mins with 14, Didcot would have lent us more but they had run out of subs themselves and the game was played out by two exhausted sides and it ended 22-14 to Tadley.
A fine game to finish the league campaign, played in a great spirit the home side showing how this league should be played happy to lend players regardless of the result. Tadley had to dig real deep players not used to a full game like Bosh, Harvey and Mark really stepping up but if the Bandits are going to keep going everyone will have to go on a recruitment drive again so keep an eye out for players, there really is no better way to spend a Saturday than playing rugby.
Bandit of the Match – Joe Mills
Bandits- Matt W, Harvey, Joe M, Leo, Mark A, Simon D, Pie, Tank, Murph, Tom L, Bosh©, Chris B, Will, Kris J, Rick