A bright blue sky and a perfect playing surface greeted the CS Stags to King Georges. A game between the best of London 1 last year, CS having won the South Division with the same win/loss record as Brentwood. Both sides contributed to a pulsating match that was won with the last kick of the match to spark celebrations in the crowd and on the pitch.
An even start with some lovely rugby from both sides, both going close but CS had the first opportunity to put points on the board with a penalty but the kick narrowly missed. Brentwood looked to play their usual fast paced game but a combination of tough defence and lack of precision held them at bay. They did score the first try of the match on 25 minutes, Bradley Burr spotting space and putting in a neat grubber for Adam Thomas to touch down. Burr added the conversion and when Josh Standard beat 3 players to score a fine individual try on 30 minutes it looked like Brentwood would have a healthy lead at halftime. Credit to CS though as they put together multiple phases and the fly half opened up the defence and put his centre under the posts. Right on halftime Brentwood were pushing hard for another score but a CS’ scramble defence managed to regain the ball from a chip through and kick the ball dead to bring up half time. Brentwood had played some nice rugby in the first half and probably should have been further ahead, Ed Hornby and Adam Thomas being the pick of the backs, captain Ben Amato led from the front again forcing turnovers and Joe McMillan impressing on his debut. CS had a big, experienced, organised pack and put pressure on every Brentwood lineout but despite this Brentwood had the better of the territory and play.
H/T Brentwood 12 - 7 CS Stags
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first but Brentwood couldn’t maintain any territory or possession for the first 10 minutes as CS played some intelligent rugby. They took the lead on 50 minutes with a try from their forwards, the conversion was good and Brentwood were behind for the first time in the match. Slowly they managed to gain a foothold in the match, they started to win their lineouts and moved up the field with some flowing rugby. Points were proving hard to come by though, Chay Pollinger was denied a try in the corner by a great last ditch tackle which dislodged the ball from his grasp as he was diving in the corner. Bradley Burr missed a routine penalty not long after and it looked like CS would take the spoils. Massive credit must go to all the Brentwood players who kept trying to play rugby deep into the second half. Joel Bevans-Royston made good metres with every carry, Liam Batty replaced the impressive Tom Simpson and looked at home straight away. Safe under the high ball with great distribution and it was one of his passes that released Chay Pollinger to take the play deep into the CS half and force them into illegally killing the ball. Burr kicked to touch 5 metres out, the forwards won the lineout well and 3 phases later CS killed the ball again. This time it was 15 metres out, straight in front of the posts and time was up so Burr slotted the ball over to win a fantastic game of rugby. CS must have thought they had done enough to win but on reflection Brentwood did play the better all round rugby and deserved the 4 points. They kept up the intensity throughout the match and won clean ball when it really mattered, a mark of a good team.
The Davlav Man of the Match went to Matt Whaley, the 17/18 player of the year picked up where he finished last season, strong in attack and defence.
Team: McMillan, Payne, Visser, Killington, Whaley, Aldous, Bassenger, Amato, White, Burr, Hornby, Thomas, Stannard, Pollinger, Simpson Subs: Bevans-Royston, Batty, Vogel