Five ways went into this weekend’s fixture against Claverdon buoyed by recent results but respectful of a side that had managed to put quite a few points on them in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
The plan was fairly simple - concentrate on performance, decision-making and execution. If Five Ways could master these hopefully the result would follow.
Five ways seem to have put behind them the early games of the season when they started so slowly and came out from the kick off all guns blazing, controlling possession and field position. This led to a barrage on the Claverdon line. Unfortunately, poor body position and a little bit of white line fever led to a turn over and Claverdon managed to clear their lines.
The forwards, being marshalled well by scrum half Dave Potter, set about gaining some yards and getting the team back onto the front foot. After some good breaks from Jay Wilkes & Nell Davies the ball was spun out to the backs and put through the hands, trying to make amends for the earlier white line fever. Some tenacious tackling from Claverdon led to a turnover and, with Five Ways set up for an attack, a great counter attacking opportunity was avaialable. A quick couple of passes set away the Claverdon winger for the only score of the half.
Half time 0 – 7
The half time team talk was simple from skipper John Mounter more of the same keep at it and the chances would come.
Five Ways started the second half a little slowly and discipline slipped. A couple of sloppy plays led to a penalty for Claverdon which they duly dispatched increasing there lead to 10 points.
However, Five Ways knew with a strong bench they still had plenty to offer and set about playing the game in the right areas and getting right back into it.
The forwards powered off again and got some good field position sucking in plenty of Claverdon forwards. When the time was right the ball went wide and after a couple of good phases a boot from a Claverdon player managed to hack the ball down field where they managed to turn the Five Ways team. Initially the scramble defence was good. After quite a few phases of play and the pressure mounting the referee spotted an unfortunate John Mounter trying to turn over the ball. The referee considered this to be a penalty right in front of the posts but, more importantly a yellow card for the inspirational captain of the young Five Ways team.
The penalty was knocked over and with a player down Five Ways now trailed by 13.
Claverdon now took control of the game and managed to use the extra man to their advantage. After some good phase play they spun the ball wide for a score in the corner. 18 points to 0 after such a great start and plenty of hope. How quickly a game can change!
Five ways steadied the ship and when back to 15 ended the game on a high. George Leech, now playing Scrum Half following several injuries, jinked his way over from close range. Ian Chaston stepped up to add the extras, could a comeback be on? Not this time as the referee deemed that to be the last play of the game and Five Ways came up a little short in this tough game against a solid Claverdon side.
It was a strange feeling at the final whistle. Five Ways had managed to carry out 2 of the 3 requests from Head Coach Steve Watkins, performance & decision making, but the execution just left them a little short.
Man of the match was split this week – Nell Davies & Jay Wilkes for a tremendous forward performance and overall play across the pitch.