Upminster welcomed Romford to their ground for a league fixture, having soundly beaten them in the cup only a few weeks earlier.
Upminster welcomed Romford to their ground for a league fixture, having soundly beaten them in the cup only a few weeks earlier. On an extremely windy day, which made handling and expansive play particularly difficult, it was soon evident that the visitors were extremely pumped up for this match and brought with them a large group of supporters who were intent on questioning every decision that the referee made. Playing downhill and with the wind in the first half, the match quickly became a niggly affair, in much the same way as the earlier fixture.
Upminster opened the scoring after only 5 minutes when fine handling saw Ross put away out wide for a fine try. The conversion hit the post and the score stood at 5-0. Unfortunately Upminster were unable to release their backs with the frequency that they would have liked. The opposition were intent on playing a tight game and the Upminster boys had their hands full up front. They competed well but were unable to secure the quality possession that we all would have liked. This was in part due to the opposition completely flooding every breakdown, but also due to the conditions and some basic errors in ball retention. As the half wore on, and the game becoming an error strewn affair, Upminster scored their second try when Jamie crossed the line after Ross had again been put away. However this was to be the final score of the first half which ended 10-0 and left the Upminster boys an uphill battle in the second half.
Romford came out in the second half intent on disruption, baiting the U’s players and general niggly play. The boys did well not to rise to this but it clearly had an impact on the fluidity of the game. Scrum after scrum was reset, generally slowing the game down. However after five minutes, with the backs freed to counter attack from their own 22, the ball was moved neatly along the line to once again put Ross away for his second try of the day. Leading 15-0 we could have expected Romfords heads to drop but they continued with their gameplan and were rewarded almost straight from the kick off when a forward crashed over from short range.
With the result now in a little doubt, and U’s defending admirably, the next try would be crucial. It went to Upminster as Tommo chipped over the defence, collected his own kick and scored out wide. With a lead of 20-5 the game was pretty much won, however, with tempers frayed following an incident where Jimmi was fly hacked off the ball and after the whistle, the game degenerated somewhat. Ross completed his hat-trick when he collected Tommo’s cross kick in the corner and despite a late Romford try the U’s held on for a relatively comfortable victory.
All in all it won’t go down as a classic. It wasn’t great to watch and was probably even less enjoyable to play in, but was one to chalk down to experience. As a side we cannot expect everyone to turn up and let us play our own game and must react to opposition spoiling tactics. That the boys were able to score five excellent tries is to their credit. That the match didn’t become a straight forward brawl is also to the credit of the team as was the response to the baiting and moaning of opposition players and supporters. What is clear is that we are not playing kids rugby anymore and that teams will be more and more intent on disruption and spoiling tactics. All you can do in those circumstances is to silence the opposition by winning and that is what was achieved. Sometimes you have to “win ugly”!
Job done, move on!
Team: Panda, Jack, Chris, Owen, Tom, Charles, Sam, Harry, Will (rep Adam), Tommo, Ross, Jamie, Ben N (rep Brad), JJ, Jimmi. Subs - Louis, Ben C,
Scorers: Tries Ross (3) Jamie, Tommo.