Drifters travelled down the road to play their local rivals for the third and final time of the season. The first game of the year saw a comfortable win for Drifters, whilst the drawn cup match was still a bitter pill to swallow. Following a month of competitive training sessions, with the best numbers seen on a Tuesday and Thursday for years, selection was a tough call for Mark and Tom. Drifters went into the game with their strongest possible side, the return of Timothy Summersgill and Brad Mathews to the starting line-up added some much needed power to the pack, whilst Sam Hawkridge was given his opportunity at 13.
The game started at a frantic pace with Drifters managing to win four penalties at the breakdown within the first 10 minutes, unfortunately poor handling errors and some over thrown lineouts from Drifters meant that possession was squandered just as quickly as it was gained. The game settled down and allowed drifters to settle into their game plan. The first try came within 20 minutes. Following some slick handling from the backs Rob Wills found himself with Slough's Hooker as his opposite man and managed to ghost past him to score in the corner (the score was unconverted). Following the score, Slough began to get a foothold in the match. Drifters poor discipline saw Slough kick for territory and get their driving mauls going. It was from one of these mauls that saw one of Slough's men cross the try line out wide which was converted to give them the lead. Drifters, with the kick up the backside they needed, found themselves deep into Sloughs territory. Unfortunately, Brad Matthews went down with a knock meaning Drifters would be without his services for the rest of the game, but Brad would miss out on 60 minutes of valuable exercises, which judging by recent weigh in's during the January Biggest Loser Competition, he was desperately in need of! Drifters pushed for the line and were unfortunate to have a Matt Brown try chalked off for apparent blocking by none other than the referee. However, during the last play of the half Matt Brown managed to bundle his way over the line again under the posts for an easy conversion. HT Slough 7 - 12 Drifters.
Slough started the second half giving away a string of penalties allowing Drifters to make their way up the pitch before Matt Brown managed to find himself within penalty range to add three points. Soon the tide changed and the referee started to repeatedly penalise the Drifters pack for infringements at the breakdown. Slough kicked for the corner but unlike the first half drifters pack managed to negate a number of Sloughs attempts to cross the line. However as has been a common theme for the boys from One Pin Lane this year Drifters went down to 14 men with Brad Parker being sent to the sin bin for reportedly slowing down the ball. From the resulting penalty Slough's hooker found a hole from a quickly taken penalty to sneak over. For almost the first time this season Slough fly half missed the conversion leaving the game balanced at 15 - 12, he would make amends soon after with a close range penalty leaving the scores tied with 15 minutes to go. Drifters penalty count remained high and Slough found themselves back in Drifters 22, down to 14 men drifters could not hold out and they managed to make use of an over lap to score out wide with 5 minutes to play. With a little help from the woodwork the try was converted and Drifters had 5 minutes to change things around to maintain their unbeaten run (within 80 minutes) over their local rivals.
Drifters for the first time of the half managed to put their training into practise and worked the ball away from the first receiver and started to cause Slough some serious problems. Penalties came and with a minute to spare Drifters were now camped in Sloughs 22, following a well worked move firstly out wide to the left before sweeping back on themselves the backs managed to release Sam Hawkridge to score on the touch line with the last play of the game. The score left Matt Brown with work to do to convert to bring the scores level, unlike at Tadley earlier in the year Brown managed to get the ball off the ground and the ball sailed through the posts.
Credit has to be given to Slough for the way they played and on reflection a draw was a fair result, Drifters have a rearranged fixture against Risborough on the 4th at home and will be looking to get back to winning ways.