Five Ways headed into the season opener against Trinity Guild feeling well prepared after a great pre-season with Head Coach Steve Watkins at the helm. With performance and structure the key parts of Steve's ethos, the team were keen to show this on the field, and they did not disappoint.
From the off, it was clear that this was going to be a physical game with Trinity Guild having the weight advantage in the pack. Early on Trinity made some decent ground and gained themselves a penalty within the Five Ways half. This was cooly slotted through the posts by the Trinity fullback, giving them a 3 point advantage.
Five Ways were not disheartened by this though and started putting some great phases together. This lead to a winding run from Captain Ian Chaston who broke deep into the opposition 22 before offloading to Joe Brook in support who went over for Five Ways first score. The conversion was added by Chaston.
Discipline wasn't one of the highlights of the day for Five Ways who too often gave away penalties and conceded good ground in the process. Despite this, the work at the breakdown was strong, leading to plenty of turnovers. The backs were linking really well and Sam Bosley showed good speed when he made a break down the wing but was unfortunately marshalled into touch. From the resulting line out, Trinity Guild showed their ability in attack and some slick hands from their backs saw them make a 40 yard break down the outside. If it was not for a superb covering tackle from Craig Davies in his own 22, the Five Ways deficit would have been drastically reduced.
Although struggling in the scrums, Five Ways were definitely not lacking in the mauls. Many attacks from Trinity were held up by the Five Ways pack, winning the ball back in the process. FWOE started to string together some strong phases with the forwards securing quick ball for the backs. This lead to a break from John Mounter who linked nicely with Tom Dacre before the ball found it's way out to Aidan Ruddock who powered over for Five Ways second try of the game. Again, Ian Chaston added the extras.
Every time the backs got the ball they seemed to make decent ground in attack, Ben Ernstzen pulling the strings very effectively from 10. The ability of the backs was shown again when John Mounter and Sam Bosley's interplay gained the team 30 yards. Unfortunately the attack broke down and the ball was turned over.
With Trinity Guild in possession, one of their players made a break and was met by a great tackle from Robin Hadley. Unfortunately, the ref did not see this the same way and decided that the intent in the tackle was worthy of a yellow card and sent Hadley for a 10 minute spell in the bin. A controversial decision but Five Ways stuck to their game plan regardless.
Despite being a man down, Five Ways continued to make good ground through the pack punching the ball forward. After numerous, well executed phases, Five Ways earned themselves a scrum just outside the opposition 22. From this, Nell Davies did brilliantly to pick up the ball from the base of the scrum and fed Ben Ernstzen who went on a lovely jinking run and created a 2 on 1 before feeding Martin Harrison who opened his account for the season with a try in the corner. Ian Chaston definitely had his kicking boots on and slotted a beauty from the touchline to add the extra 2 points.
With the extra man advantage, Trinity began playing with more confidence and continued to make good ground. This led to a break for their winger who was destined to score. Captain, Ian Chaston had other ideas though and came across to make a great tackle into touch, leading by example and foiling a try in the process.
Unfortunately though, a few minutes later he, nor the rest of the team, could stop Trinity's rumbling scrum. From this, Trinity's strong 8 picked up and crossed the line for their first try of the game. The conversion hit the post leaving the score at 21-8 at half time.
Five Ways started the second half strongly which led to good field position for the team. Continuing on from his strong ball carries and great work in the scrums, Kyle Mitchell picked a brilliant line and broke deep into the Trinity 22. He skipped around one player but just as he threw the try scoring pass, a Trinity player purposely knocked the ball on and spent 10 minutes in the bin for doing so. Ian Chaston slotted the penalty adding another vital 3 points to the tally.
The game continued in a very open fashion with both teams making good breaks and decent ground. On 55 minutes, some great handling from the whole team saw the ball reach Sam Bosley who showed his pace and ran in from 30 metres to score the bonus point try for Five Ways. The ever reliable Ian Chaston slotted the conversion.
Literally minutes later, the ball again found itself out wide and this time Ian Chaston made a great break down the wing. Sam Bosley did well to support but this time Chaston backed his quick feet and stepped inside 2 players to touch down under the posts. Again, Chaston added the conversion.
Nell Davies, continued to make some strong runs from the base of the rucks which led to a John Mounter break. Unfortunately, there was no support for Mounter and the attack broke down.
Five Ways seemed to slip off the accelerator for 15 minutes or so and saw some sloppy play from them. Trinity took full advantage of this and started to grow in confidence. Trinity chipped over the top and Sam Bosley did well to get across and cover. He cleared the ball which found its way to the Trinity winger who ran the ball back at pace. After stepping inside a few tackles, he crossed the line for the try and the conversion was added.
With a sniff of a comeback on the cards, Trinity really picked up the intensity and started putting together some good phases. Some good link play and offloads saw them add another try to their tally and again, the conversion was successful.
The final 10 minutes saw the ball change hands on numerous occasions. Five Ways dug in deep though and really proved themselves in defence. The ball was eventually knocked on and the ref blew his whistle to signal the end of the game with Five Ways leaving the field victorious. Final score at The Masshouse, Five Ways 38 - 22 Trinity Guild.