Upton win first game of season
Lead the table on points difference
Upton began their midlands 3 west south season with a bonus point victory. Playing old rivals Bromyard for the first time in many years after their title winning season last year, Upton gave debuts to James Phipps, and Will ‘Freddie’ Barrell in the pack.
With Oli Banwell moving upstairs to Director of Rugby its was head coach Ben Hughes first competitive game in charge. The ex Gloucester player has brought a breath of fresh air to the club over the summer with his training methods which have been well received by the players.
However with only one pre season friendly which many players missed, Upton have not had chance to play together much and this showed in a physical and tiring first half. The majority of the half revolved around the half way line and the countless mistakes by both sides meant there were countless scrums. The half ended 0-0 and gave no indication of what would happen in the second half.
Hughes’s half time talk centred around patience and the belief that Upton’s fitness would prevail and so it did. The initial 5-10 minutes were quiet but eventually Upton’s pace, particularly in the forwards told.
The first try came from Matt Dunwell who went blind from a ruck and stormed over. Rob Heeley converted. Skipper and number 8 Max Macfarlane made it 2 shortly after when Jake Lee fed Heeley down the short side and the veteran hooker popped a pass to Macfarlane who burst through two tackles and raced in from the 22 yard line. Heeley converted.
Immediatley from the kick off Upton span the ball wide. Deft hands from full back Aldersey put Josh Finch away. He kicked over the covering defence but outside centre Joe Ayres hacked through to score under the posts. Heeley converted.
Bromyard then replied with an unconverted try of their own to make it 21-5 but Upton grabbed the bonus point when centre come flanker Rich Clive powered over out wide which Heeley couldn’t convert to make it 26-5.
By now Bromyard sensed the game was gone but Upton kept going and after a series of rucks the ball found itself to Barrell and the openside slipped over to score which Heeley converted.
Upton at this point took their foot off the gas and allowed Bromyard a second try and with the last play of the game the home side scored a 3rd.
Upton’s next league game is at home on 23rd September when the club will be unveiling their renamed ground in memory of the late Nigel Banwell.