The evening was blustery with light rain, but the pitch was in good condition even after all the rain we’d had.
In all my 12 years of coaching I have never seen the squad so up for a game and this focus and determination came out right from the first whistle.
Tring kicked the game off and set their stall out as they charged forward and caused the OA’s receiver to knock-on. From this position Tring drove forward, going through the phases before the ball was moved out to the backs. Unfortunately with a slippery ball it took a little while before our handling got up to speed and the first few moves ended up with OA’s getting possession of the ball. Having not even been in our half OA’s kicked the ball up field and ended up scoring the first points of the game with a converted try.
From the restart Tring again established great field position and after a patient build up and slick handling in the backs, Zak Michalski’s beautifully timed pass sent Drew Bowness over in the corner for Tring’s first try of the evening.
Again patient work by the forwards took the ball up field from the kick off creating space and time for our excellent back to demonstrate how dangerous they are with Will Wood going over for our second try of the evening.
My pre-match briefing focused on our need to defend strongly a message that was implemented on the field. Our tigerishdefence around the breakdowns was superb with Matt Craig, Theo Freedman, EddieArmitage and Robbie Tomlinson putting pressure on their ball carriers and Joe Oakes stealing the ball at the breakdown. The backs also played their part putting pressure early on the ball carrier, tackling strongly and forcing errors
The pattern was repeated again; strong running from Richard Stewart, Henry Stubbs, Jack Hunter, Ed Ellson, Tom Geere, Ian Jarman& Eddie Armitage, led to a ruck just short of the OA’s line from which Tom Geere sneaked over for try number 3.
The final try of the half came from space created by our ability to go through the phases again and the backs to work their magic exploiting the ragged defence, culminating in Will Wood scoring his second try of the night under the posts giving Ed Ellson and easy conversion
The second half started much as the first with Tring moving the ball well, playing intelligent rugby Freddie Clark commanding the forwards and exploiting the space at the right time by bringing the backs into play. Within 10 mins of the half starting Tring scored their final try with Eddie Armitage making the most of the space created to burst through and score; Ed Ellson adding the extra 2 points.
Tring’s substitutes rolled on and played their part. For the forwards; Jordan running strongly, Sam Gibbons & Ollie Morris tackling and defending round the fringes and Jack Steadman causing problems at the breakdowns. For the backs; Jacob Barr making use of the space, Nick Williams tackling like a daemon and Harvey Draper running strongly with the ball.
OA’s played the game with a strong spirit and determination and never gave up; successfully defending the rest of the half and finishing the last 5 minutes as the stronger team.