Five Ways welcomed Rugeley to the Masshouse on a cold Saturday in January, FW looking to get their season back on track with a win at home.
From the kick off it was plain to see FW were confident and intend on getting the first score. Good pressure from the forwards led to Ways being camped in the oppositions 22 in the early stages. A strong carry from Neil Davies up the blind side led to a ruck just short of the line, Richard ‘Herbert’ Sollom dived for the line but, unfortunately, the try wasn’t given and his wait for try goes on. The pressure continued and the Rugeley defence was finally breached and Joe Brook carried over for the opening try, the extras were added by Ian Chaston.
Rugeley were not a team to drop their heads and straight from the restart got their hands on the ball which led to a penalty. They opted for the 3 points which was taken. Ways continued applying the pressure and made some good ground after a high tackle which saw a Rugeley player into the sin bin for 10 minutes. Ways played for territory and set up for the line out, a great throw from rookie Hooker Benji was taken down and the forwards drive started. Held just short of the line, they reset with Craig Davies going blind and pushing his way over the line. Unfortunately this was also disallowed as the referee didn’t see the grounding. The Rugeley defence held strong for the next few phases and on the next penalty FW opted for the 3 points, which were added.
Rallied by their determination, Rugeley continued to press and counter attack FW. This led to a break and with some good offloads their number 8 managed to power his way over the line for Rugeley's first try of the game. The extras couldn’t be added. Rugeley grew in confidence and started to apply the sort of pressure FW had exerted on them, a mistake from their forwards was capitalised on and with some good handling from FW the ball reached Tom Griffiths on the wing who danced his way up the touchline and got Ways second try of the game. Due to Tom being lazy and scoring in the corner the extras couldn’t be added. This drew a close to a very entertaining first half.
Half time – Five Ways 15 – 8 Rugeley
The second half began with great anticipation from both teams and the win could go either way. Rugeley took advantage of a slow FWs and got possession back from the restart, after several phases they manage to get the ball over the line and added the extras to tie the game.
Previously, this would dent FWs confidence but it seems to set a fire in them. Ways continued to manage the ball well and the forwards were controlling the game and getting great field position for the team. After more time in Rugeley's 22 and some great carries from the forwards, the ball found its way into the arms of Neil Davies who powered through several attempts to bring him down but got over the line to score for ways, no extras added.
This score gave Ways the belief they had in the early parts of the season and started to play with flair and skill. This was personified when, having been awarded a penalty advantage and hearing the call, John Mounter played a delightful kick out to Ian Chaston on the wing who collected the ball in the air, stepped inside the full back and scored under the posts for the bonus point try. This time the extras were added.
The latter stages saw the game flow in both directions and capitalising on a gap, John Mounter broke through the Rugeley defence on half way and led a charge to the 22. With support from his teammates the ball found its way out to Craig Davies who carried strongly and was bundled over the line for FWs 5th try of the game. Unfortunately, the extras weren’t added (again).
With nothing to lose Rugeley continued to battle their way into the FWs half and into the 22, with strong carries from their forwards Rugeley were metres away from the line. This saw a side of FWs that shows how well rounded a performance it was, carry after carry Rugeley were driven back and kept out by a strong and brutal FWs defence. After being held up on the line, Rugeley were awarded a scrum and with a big effort managed to drive over the line for their 3rd try of the game.
This was the best performace from Five Ways this season and is a benchmark for the remaining fixtures. Although this was a massive team performance, Mark Bunn and John Mounter were recognised as Forward and back of the game.
Full time - Five Ways 32 – 25 Rugeley