Upminster made the short journey to face a Chelmsford side buoyed by some much improved recent performances and who fancied their chances of causing an upset. Upminster lost the toss and played up the hill in the first half. Welcoming back Tommo for his first game since March following a series of injuries, Michael following a broken arm and John debuting from the bench, there were some changes to the backline.
The boys looked rusty to start with as Chelmsford stuck to their age old game plan of keeping it tight. They could not be blamed for this tactic as they boasted a huge set of forwards and recognised they would be second best with regards to pace, right across the park. The initial advances were repelled by some forceful tackling from the whole team and Chelmsford soon realised that Upminster were not going to be bullied out of the game. However it was Chelmsford who opened the scoring after 5 minutes when, from a penalty, a failed kick for touch bounced favourably and was pounced on by the chasing Chelmsford player. The conversion missed the score stood at 5-0 and this was to be as good as it got for the home side.
It took a little while longer for Upminster to fine tune their handling and running lines but after 15 minutes Michael did exactly that, hitting a good line from the 10 metre line and outpacing the covering defence to score under the posts. Jamie converted for 7-5. Upminster now began to dominate with only lapses in handling and concentration restricting the scoreline. However on 16 minutes a delightful back move saw Tommo, now playing on the wing, steaming for the corner. As the cover came across and aware that he wouldn’t make it, he threw a delightful lobbed pass back inside which was collected by the supporting Brad, who scored the try. Upminster were now dominant in all areas of the pitch. The forwards were scrummaging admirably against bigger opposition and dominating in the tight, the loose and in the contact areas. Ross was causing the opposition all sorts of problems and was regularly being put into space by the inside backs and on 25 minutes he exploited this space, used his pace, well at least some of it (have we ever seen him at full tilt?), and raced away from inside the U’s half comfortably beating the defence to score under the posts. With the conversion successful the h/t score stood at 19-5.
Playing down hill in the second half, Upminster brought on their entire bench. John made his debut and it was reassuring that the changes didn’t appear to effect the team at all. This really is a very strong squad of players. From the kick off some exquisite passing between backs and forwards, led by Chris, had the watching fans drooling. However we had to wait 4 minutes for the first try when, from a ruck on the Chelmsford line, Blaine crashed over. Just three minutes later this was added to when a fine wiper pass put Jimmi away down the right and he rounded the defence to score. Converetd for 31-5.
The next score was probably the score of the day. Jamie took the ball deep in his own half and beat a couple of defenders. As he was tackled and falling to the floor he somehow off loaded to Blaine to continue the move. The ball was then recycled and moved wide to the left where John took the pass and skirted round the defence before angling back towards the posts. He then displayed great unselfishness in drawing two defenders and unloading perfectly to Jack to score under the posts. Converted for 38-5.
To Chelmsfords credit they never gave up but never really had the answers to the pace and technical skills of the Upminster boys. The next score came when Jamie chased his own kick and scored a well deserved try, and this was added to by Nathan with five minutes to go as he got the try his workrate fully deserved.
It would be difficult to single out individuals from what was an excellent all round team performance. 8 tries with 8 different scorers tells its own story. But MOM was nominated as Chris, despite Gav’s protestations, for his all round performance involving scrimmaging against an 18 stone giant and displaying finesse with ball in hand.
Team: Josh (rep Panda), Jack W, Chris, Charles (rep Harrison), Owen, Nathan, Sam, Blaine, Adam (rep Will) Jamie, Michael (rep Louis), Brad, Ross (rep John), Jimmi, Tommo (whole game, no injuries!!!!!!!)
Tries - Michael, Brad, Ross, Blaine, Jimmi, Jack W, Jamie, Nathan.
Conversions - Jamie (5)