Uxbridge lack of clinical edge proves costly in narrow defeat to Hammersmith and Fulham
Closely fought game sees Bridge fall short 19-15.
Uxbridge’s second pre-season game of the 2018-19 season saw us return home to Gatting Way to take on a well-drilled Hammersmith and Fulham side with youth and pace in abundance.
Unfortunately for the home side, one usual area of domination- the scrum, was neutered and the three 30-minute periods would be played uncontested.
The opening exchanges ebbed and flowed with Hammersmith and Fulham spending more time in the Bridge half but found a defence that was up to the task of keeping them at bay, with telling tackles from Kyle Buckingham, Simon Batts and Tom Rainey.
A questionably straight lineout led to the visitors opening try down the left flank, before they extended their lead when the visitors handy centres came crashing through to dot down.
This whirred the home side in action in the second third and with more ball in hand, started punching holes and playing in the right parts of the pitch. Strong carries from Rainey, Sam Cater who was everywhere, and Adam Dender took the game to Hammersmith and Fulham and the ball was eventually worked left for Stefan Manners to dodge a few tackles and dot down. The tough conversion was missed.
Uxbridge’s period of domination continued and several phases of recycling and work from the forwards allowed Michael Bijowski to carry over for his first try in what is fair to say is a good while. Dean Poland was introduced for his debut and contributed with some monster kicks, hard carries and excellent tackles.
As the game entered the final third, penalties and errors both forced and unforced from both sides made the game scrappier before a break from Sam Dillamore, assisted by Buckingham allowed Cater to score an excellent team try out in the left corner.
Looking for what would likely be the winning score, both teams found a second wind and Hammersmith and Fulham almost got an identical try to Uxbridge’s third had it not been for winger Dan Evans’ brilliant last ditch covering tackle.
The visitors managed another try and despite Uxbridge’s best efforts the clock was against them and the final score was 19-15.
A performance that had elements of good and bad, but the key learning was that we need to be more clinical when in the right areas of the pitch.
Next week, Uxbridge have two games. The First XV are at home in the Herts and Middlesex Cup to Watford (K.O- 3pm) and the Second XV are away to Twickenham Third XV. Players are encouraged to make themselves available and update on the poll accordingly.