Sat 22
Trentham
37
-
14
League
1st XV
Five Ways stumble against Trentham

Five Ways stumble against Trentham

By Jess Banner
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Despite one of the best performances of the season, Five Ways suffer their first defeat of the season to Trentham.


As the autumn sun set on a warm Saturday afternoon a mouth watering fixture of 1st vs 2nd lay ahead. The nerves and excitement were tangible and certainly brought a different feeling in the air. This Saturday felt different very different. The mood was unsettled slightly when FWOE's normally settled side had to make large scale changes due to unavailability. However when the changes were made and the dust had settled on head coach Steve's team sheet the side looked no weaker than it had in the previous winning weeks. The excitement was back. Opportunities for shirts were present.

The nerves were building nicely when the referees whistle started a ferocious fixture. Five Ways started the game with a deep kick off which was chased well by the pack. However from the start the league leaders showed they like to play running rugby and their outside centre and main strike runner brushed off a tackle to score a length of the field try. With the mouthy Trentham 'substitute' (or shit picker as he didn't even grace the field but was instead resigned to field clearing duties) heckling the away side it was vital we reacted well.

And react well they did. The home side were determined to run every thing regardless of field position, however, they were constantly battered backward in defence by the men in blue and gold. To Trentham's credit, they maintained their attacking philosophy, however, they came unstuck when their fullback threw a dubious pass against a press defence which was intercepted by inside centre John Mounter who ran the ball over the line from 50 metres out. Some have even said it was as far as 60 metres. The score after ten minutes 7 v 7. All square. Game on.

The game continued at a break neck speed with the fwoe accepting and matching the physical challenge put down by Trentham. At times it was a game of attack vs defence. Trentham dominating the possession but at times their attack was in the wrong areas of the field as FWOE pinned their efforts back in their own half. Trentham clearly had a plan and they stuck to it putting the ball through the hands and running everything but Five Ways seemed to relish the battle of the gain line. The defence was well organised after the initial try and the forwards can't be praised highly enough. From one to eight they were excellent. Special mention goes to Matt Williamson who continues to grow and impress as a player and Joe Callaghan who carried the ball tirelessly to the coal face. Benj Howlett, starting in his preferred position of flanker, worked like a man possessed. He doesn't say much but his actions on the pitch speak loudly.

The old heads (Gaz Morgan, Jamie Wilkes, Craig Davies, Aidan Ruddock) added much needed steel in a solid wild dogs display. Trentham continued possession did pay off as they broke the FWOE defence down and scored a second try (sorry lack of detail I can't remember it due to a clash of heads).

At 14-7 Five Ways would not give up and the forwards started to own the pig skin for a prolonged period of play. A long period of possession followed with the ever impressive Tom Fletcher at nine marshalling the team around the park before releasing the backs. The ball was moved swiftly through Joe Brooks at ten to Richard Sollom at second receiver and onto John Mounter in the 13 channel. With James mounter playing in his old position of wing the defence was well positioned and numbered. James called for a kick to the corner. Ten metres out the younger mounter (John) delicately chipped for his brother who caught it on the full. James rolled back the years and, in typical characteristic fashion, chose the direct route to the line. With work still to do he took the physical route running over three players to score in the corner. A try made by the forwards finished by the backs. Captain Chaston slotted the extras to level the scores.

The rest of the half seemed to continue on the half way line with Trentham's possession meaning FWOE defensive resolve was tested. Despite some desperate Five Ways red zone scramble defence following good attacking play the home side only managed a penalty which was conceded following an illegal tackle by George Leech. Leech saw yellow but more than made up for this misdemeanour throughout the whole game with his no nonsense approach. Half time 17-14 to the home side. The second half continued much the same as the first. Trentham, to their credit, began to exploit a few more holes and score more tries.

FWOE continued to play hard and when Phil Smith came off the bench he hit the ground running and tackled anything that ran near him. The Five Ways defensive line was well organised and solid. The backs trusted the new drift defence pattern established for this game with inside shoulders covered with trust and communication. Richard Sollom provided much needed physicality in the hit backed up by every one around him. The forwards marshalled the narrow areas around the breakdown and Trentham were forced to kick more often. Chaston combined well with Tom Griffiths, returning the ball with interest with some positive counter attacking rugby.

Trentham's continued possession did pay off. Throughout the second half they spotted gaps and steadily increased their lead to a final score of 37-14. With minutes to go on the clock and with the contest won by the home side the game was some what marred when the brain dead Trentham substitute scrum half thought it was acceptable to stick his fingers in the backside of a FWOE player. As he ran around the pitch bragging about his actions like a confused prison inmate, the Trentham players seemed confused at his actions. It can only be hoped he is banned from rugby for a long period of time if not indefinitely. What went through his mind to think this was acceptable on a rugby pitch is beyond any ones understanding at Five Ways and, judging by the numerous apologies offered by several home team players, it appears Trentham shared the same view that this action has no place in our game.

I would like to thank Trentham for a good game of rugby and particularly their coach who sought me out after the game to apologise for what had happened and thank us for a good game of rugby. A thoroughly enjoyable game which will leave both sides feeling positive about the return fixture which will be a great game to be involved in. Trentham were good value for the win scoring some good tries on route to victory. A good rugby side whose style of play is a credit to rugby. FWOE gave a very good account of themselves and were positive in an excellent team performance despite the defeat. Each player can take pride at their performance. Head coach Steve Watkins described the performance as 'The best he has seen from Five Ways'. Let's look forward to playing them at The Masshouse for another enjoyable game of rugby.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 22, Oct 2016

Kickoff

15:00

Meet time

12:00

Competition

Midlands 4 West (North)

League position

1
Trentham
2
Five Ways Old Edwardians