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1st XV Squad - Match centre

Gosford All Blacks
M Doolin, M Butler, J House, S Richardson
D Shaughnessy (2)
Sat 30 Sep TBC - South West Division - Southern Counties North Full time

Thatcham win nail biter

Gosford All Blacks 22 Thatcham 24

Thatcham secured their first 5 point victory of the season on the road at Kidlington, but only just. It was a nerve wracking afternoon for visiting supporters as each time Thatcham got their noses in front the All Blacks pegged them back again. In what proved an evenly balanced game, Gosford will probably feel a little hard done by to come away with only 1 point. In many ways it was a mirror of the previous season’s encounter which Thatcham also won by a two point margin.

This season’s starting fixtures have not worked out well for Thatcham, who came into this game after a three week lay off after their opening defeat Buckingham. Hardly the best preparation, but they started sharply and went ahead after five minutes when new recruit Derek Allan, at fly half, made a break through midfield to put fellow new boy, Martyn Doolin in to touch down. Danny Shaughnessy adding the conversion. Thatcham were looking confident with the ball in hand, but the home side were quickly back on terms when an ill judged long pass was coolly intercepted for a clear run in and conversion to even the scores at 7 – 7.

Thatcham resumed attack and a good spell of forward domination saw the visitors camped five to ten metres out with a succession of penalties and two All Blacks sent to the bin. Mark Smith at no 8 came closest as the ball was illegally knocked from his hands when a score looked a certainty. It only seemed a matter of time and, if nothing else, the next infringement was sure to bring a penalty try. But credit to Gosford as the 13 men managed to clear the danger with the visitors left scratching their heads in puzzlement.

On the half hour mark Thatcham stretched their lead after another break from Derek Allan put Marty Butler in space, but still with work to do. Shaughnessy converted again to put the visitors 7 – 14 ahead. But Gosford were not long in closing the gap after a good long range penalty brought the scores to 10 – 14 going into the half time break.

Thatcham had the better of the early exchanges in the second period, but were still rocked back regularly by the strong running All Black backs. It was a game that was in truth, won upfront by the visitors pack with Mark Smith again putting in a sterling shift at the base of the scrum but it was Club Captain Nick Rance, playing our of position at inside centre, who made an outstanding contribution in both attack and defence, that just edged out Smithy for the Newbury & Building Society Man of the Match. Ten minutes into the half Thatcham put together a good move through the hands of Toby Littlechild and Nick Rance, via Allan to put Jordan House in for his first try on his debut.

The All Blacks’ risposte was inevitable and Thatcham looked to have fielded the danger when another loose pass helped the home side to a second try. Too often Thatcham seemed to be forcing the offload when a more conservative approach might be more judicious, but on the positive side shows a confidence and desire to play a running game. Neither of these tries were converted so the score went to 15 – 19. It was end to end stuff but Thatcham went further ahead through winger Sean Richardson right in the corner with ten minutes left on the clock, but the 15 – 24 lead brought little comfort as Gosford renewed their efforts. After a long spell of pressure the home side was duly rewarded with a converted try, but Thatcham just managed to hold on for the narrowest of victories.

First points under the belt for Thatcham, so job done, but Gosford surely won’t be far from chalking their first win with performances like this one.

Thatcham Team:
1. Matt Langdon (Capt.); 2. Jamie Evans; 3. Lewis Davies (h/t Dave Chambers); 4. Tom Bestwick; 5. Jack Moore; 6. Chris Dixon (h/t Luke Higgs); 7. Martyn Doolin (55, Ash Taylor); 8. Mark Smith; 9. Danny Shaughnessy; 10. Derek Allan; 11. Jordan House; 12. Nick Rance; 13. Marty Butler; 14. Sean Richardson; 15. Toby Littlechild.

Thatcham Scorers
Tries: Doolin; Butler; House; Richardson
Conversions: Shaughnessy

Bob Moore
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Nick Rance

Player of the Match

Nick Rance

Key moments

Try Martyn Doolin scores for Thatcham
Conversion Danny Shaughnessy kicks a conversion for Thatcham
Try Marty Butler scores for Thatcham
Conversion Danny Shaughnessy kicks a conversion for Thatcham
Try Jordan House scores for Thatcham
Try Sean Richardson scores for Thatcham


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80:00 Player of the Match
Nick Rance is awarded player of the match for Thatcham
75:00 Try 0 - 24
Sean Richardson scores for Thatcham
55:00 Try 0 - 19
Jordan House scores for Thatcham
End of period 1
26:00 Conversion 0 - 14
Danny Shaughnessy kicks a conversion for Thatcham
25:00 Try 0 - 12
Marty Butler scores for Thatcham
2:00 Conversion 0 - 7
Danny Shaughnessy kicks a conversion for Thatcham
1:00 Try 0 - 5
Martyn Doolin scores for Thatcham
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Gosford All Blacks
  • Thatcham
  • 0
  • Martyn Doolin Try 1:00'
  • Danny Shaughnessy Conversion 2:00'
  • Marty Butler Try 25:00'
  • Danny Shaughnessy Conversion 26:00'
  • Jordan House Try 55:00'
  • Sean Richardson Try 75:00'

Team selection

Littlechild, Toby Littlechild, Toby
Richardson, Sean Richardson, Sean
Butler, Marty Butler, Marty
Rance, Nick Rance, Nick
House, Jordan House, Jordan
Allan, Derek Allan, Derek
Shaughnessy, Danny Shaughnessy, Danny
Smith, Mark Smith, Mark
Doolin, Martyn Doolin, Martyn
Dixon, Chris Dixon, Chris
Moore, Jack Moore, Jack
Bestwick, Tom Bestwick, Tom
Davies, Lewis Davies, Lewis
Evans, Jamie Evans, Jamie
Langdon, Matt Langdon, Matt

League round up

Other Southern Counties North results

High Wycombe


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Beaconsfield 22 104
2. Windsor 22 90
3. Buckingham 22 88
4. Aylesbury 22 72
5. Thatcham 22 68
6. Wallingford 22 61
7. Reading 22 57

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