Wanstead 29 - Braintree U 14s 19
In previous seasons Wanstead had thumped Braintree, and this was no thumping.
The first ten minutes of the game, indicated how much Braintree have improved. They put Wanstead under pressure from the off, looked much the better team, varying play through backs and forwards, and should have scored on at least four occasions. Impatience in the final play being all that stopped them feet from the line.
The fact they didn’t score seemed a psychological blow, the doubts returned, and after fifteen minutes Wanstead scored first when their centre exploited an overlap in broken play to run round the Braintree defence from a long way out.
Braintree’s lack of belief then showed when several players avoided tackling, allowing Wanstead to score when a back row forward simply ran through from the ten metre line.
There was some outstanding defensive work though, and Wanstead’s powerful number 8 was almost always kept firmly in check. On the one occasion he broke through he was chased down by Jay and bravely tackled before the line. But Wanstead had crossed for a third try by half time.
The good news for Braintree was that their scrum was absolutely dominant, but the forwards were not committing to the ruck, and often lost the ball at breakdown, and that was primarily where they were losing the game.
After the break however Braintree came out fighting. A series of driving runs by the forwards with Beesea and Jay to the fore led to a scrum in midfield just outside the Wanstead 22. Slick passing through the backs after a half break by James and winger Josh scored his first ever try for the team in the corner. James kicked a great conversion, and belief at last started to grow.
Another series of drives by Braintree put Braintree within ten metres of the line. A penalty was awarded for lifting a leg in the maul, Braintree wisely kicked to the corner and set up a maul from 5m which although it seemed unstoppable was finished off with a breakaway try with another excellent conversion from James.
Braintree seemed to be back in business. Unfortunately they allowed Wanstead two further scores with their centre again creating a good individual effort, but Braintree didn’t give up and Beesea capped an excellent personal display when he broke through four tackles to score in the corner, Braintree had won the second half.
Most spectators agreed Braintree would have won the game had they played the whole game like they did the second half, or the first ten minutes.
Tries; Beesea (2), Josh
Cons; James (2)