On Sunday 1st April Watford hosted Old Albanians (B) in their final league match of the season. This was to be the first meeting between the clubs at junior level. Many of the players and parents will recall that Watford have come up against Old A’s every year for the past 7 years in the end of season County Plate competition and lost mainly in the final of the competition.
The match was played in warm and dry conditions and the ground hard and unyielding. Perfect conditions for playing running rugby. From the kick off Watford fared well and after just 3 minutes, after a good break down the left flank, Tom Broome crossed the line for a well taken try. Running rugby is only possible if you have the ball and Old A’s are a good rucking side. In this facet of play Watford had not pitched up and to a similar extent the scrum. Time and again Watford made breaks only to have the ball turned over or got the put in at the scrum to see the ball taken against the head. As a result on 9 mins Old A’s crossed the line and converted the try. Watford continued in the same manner frustratingly coughing up possession after good initial work. On 18 mins Jack Meade
crossed over after some good continuity play only to see Old A’s get another back on 25 mins again after a turnover (half time score 10-12)
After the turn and a proper ‘straightener’ from the coaches Watford flew out of the blocks. Only two minutes in Curtis Woodham crossed the line, with impressive pace, after some good phase play and quick ball out wide converted by Henry Capell who at last had some quick ball to feed off, something he was deprived of in the first half. On 31 mins Johnny Stangroome showed his pace out wide and crossed in the corner. Then shortly afterwards Aidan Maguire showed some good strength and pace for a front row after ‘picking and going’ from the base of a ruck and cutting inside to score close to the posts converted by Henry Capell who continued to distribute well and after a series of very quick ruck balls unleashed the back line with Jake Edwards tearing holes in the defensive line before going wide and Johnny Stangroome going over for his second on 40 mins. Watford really let loose afterwards with Curtis getting his second on 47 mins again after showing some blistering pace on the wing.
From the kick Old A’s made some ground but kicked the ball down the throat of Sohum Patel who ran fully 60 meters back at the opposition using his considerable pace and swerve to go over on 49 mins. With the game now gone Old A’s put together some good phase play and threw the ball wide to score in the corner on 50 mins only for the impressive conversion attempt from far out to hit the post some way up it. Final Score 44 – 17 finally putting an end to the run of defeats against a very good side.
So there it is our first league campaign comes to an end with Watford finishing 3rd. You can only play with whatever players are available for the season which we averaged just 16 players per match, yes 16.
The lads should be very proud of themselves this season. They played and trained well and learning took place. There is however always room for improvement. When the cup run and the season comes to an end we will take stock and move forward. We now have 29 players on the books and exciting times ahead.