On Saturday (7th November), Five Ways 1st XV welcomed Keresley to the Masshouse for their 5th league game of the season. Unfortunately, the game was conceded before kick off as the opposition were unable to field a front row. Despite FWOE picking up the points automatically, both teams decided to field a team to allow a game still to take place.
Keresley arrived with 13 players keen to play and in true rugby spirit, Five Ways loaned 2 players to ensure a fair competitive game was had by all. Special thanks goes to Matthew Maughan and John McGlade for stepping over to the other side. They definitely did not hold back as they were keen to show Head Coach Steve what they could do.
The first 5 minutes of the game were best forgotten as there were numerous errors leading to what felt like endless scrums as the referee introduced both packs to the laws of scrummaging. Five Ways strung together some good attacking play but lost the ball at crucial moments allowing Keresley to fight back. Eventually, from a scrum in the Keresley 22, an 8 pick saw the ball reach Joe Brook who timed his pass to perfection to Jess Banner who raced on to the ball from depth and at pace before stepping inside the fullback to score under the posts untouched by the Keresley defence. Try converted by Ian Chaston making the score 7-0.
The next 15 minutes saw Five Ways attempting to move the ball out wide and utilise the pace in the backs, in comparison to Keresely who were adamant to see a forward controlled game. The attacking play by Five Ways was not perfectly executed with a number of passes judged to be forward, some very rightly so. In the remaining 5 minutes of the 1st half, a scrum in Keresley territory saw a steal by the Five Ways pack which lead to a penalty kick to touch. The resulting lineout gave quick ball to the backs and James Mounter who stepped around and bounced off 4 players. He was cleared out and quick ball again found Jess Banner who literally stepped through the defence to dive under the posts for his second try. Chaston's successful conversion brought the first half to an end with the score 14-0.
In the 2nd half, Five Ways committed to using the structure they have been practicing all season and good link play between the forwards and backs saw Five Ways break the gain line with every attack. A quick tap penalty inside the Keresley 22 released Full Back Chaston through a gap and in true Hooker fashion, Ash Hayden was on his inside shoulder to finish off an excellently worked try. The ever dependable Ian Chaston, yet again converted.
As the game progressed, Keresley stuck to their forward orientated game, while Five Ways continued to try and play their structured linked game. However, the forward pass affliction of the 1st half continued to haunt Five Ways as a number of promising attacks where brought back for the offence. It is doubtful whether there has been so many scrums in all previous games as there was in this but as the battle went on it was clear Keresley started to get an ascendancy in the scrum.
Five Ways continued to attack and, after another penalty in the Kersley 22, Ash Hayden exhibited some nifty footwork and a strong handoff to score under the posts. Chaston kicked the extras. As the game entered the final 15 minutes, mistakes on both sides where becoming the norm rather than the exception. Nevertheless, in the last play of the game Five Ways mustered up enough energy to answer their Coach’s sideline muttered wish of another score. A number of good phases of play by the hard working forwards ended up with Chaston going in unopposed under the posts and converting his own try. The whistle blew with the final score 35-0.
Credit to Keresley for fulfilling the fixture when they could have easily called the game off completely. There is no doubt that the return leg will be a totally different story.
Five Ways continue their unbeaten start to the season and with more people turning up each week to training competition is starting to hot up for places.