A beautiful hot and sunny day was the setting for Ipswich YM’s opening game of the season against Woodbridge at Hatchley Barn. This was a game that had been on YM's radar since the fixtures were announced back in July.
After YM’s win in the friendly against Diss the week before, a certain buzz could be felt amongst the players. They were keen to demonstrate in a league fixture that lessons had been learnt from the year before and to display how much YM's game had been sharpened up over the strenuous pre-season.
YM were influenced early on by pressure from Woodbridge that started straight from the kick-off, a high tackle forcing YM to concede a penalty just out side of their 22 gave an early opportunity for Jack Johnson to take 3 points and get Woodbridge on the score board. 3-0
YM were undeterred and came straight back to apply pressure after the restart. There were big hits from the forwards, especially from Kaselle Lee, forcing an early change from Woodbridge, J.P Heart being replaced due to sustaining knock during the tackle.
YM continued to apply pressure to Woodbridge's defensive line, numerous phases pushing Woodbridge further back into their half until Adam Saywer managed to break their line through a fantastic direct drive. This was followed up by Chad Hervey who powered the ball over the line to get YM's first score of the game. Barny Horsfield took the conversion to give YM a 3-7 lead after 15minutes.
In the following 20 minutes, the game flowed both ways with a constant stream of counter attacks. YM were able to exploit overlaps on a number of occasions, notably when Ben Hockley broke the Woodbridge defensive line to enable the YM backs to counter with Harry Bureau seeing an opportunity for a kick through. Unfortunately due to the speed in the Woodbridge backs they were able to gather and after settling themselves, clear the ball to touch.
Woodbridge's first try came from Tom Stones who collected the ball off the floor after an uncharacteristic fumble by Barny Horsfield. The conversion taken once again by Jack Johnson but was unfortunately missed, however this brought the score back into Woodbridge's favour, 8-7.
After a strong passage of play, the work YM had been doing on defense during pre-season came to fruition as Harry Bureau intercepted the ball from a lofty Woodbridge pass which enabled him to run straight under the posts to give YM the lead, Barny Horsfield again converting the try, 8-14.
YM were looking to go into the half time break with a good lead but unfortunately Woodbridge continued with the pressure and were awarded a penalty close to half time due to YM being off their feet in the ruck. Jack Johnson scoring a further 3 points for Woodbridge, 11-14.
YM started the 2nd half well and pressure was put straight back onto Woodbridge from the kick off after a fumble by them caused YM to be awarded a scrum. YM's scrums were proving to be very strong and at times too much for Woodbridge to handle, which in turn caused a further a penalty to be awarded.
This was taken quickly by Ben Hockley which saw him not being released by the tackler which resulted in another penalty being awarded to YM. YM choose to take the scrum as the penalty was only 10m from the Woodbridge line. As YM were very dominating in the scrum they pushed over the line for Kaselle Lee to drop on the ball to score the try. Barny Horsfield took the conversion and with help from the left upright, the ball sailed over to put YM 11-21 in front.
Over the next 30minutes, YM's defence held strong and although both teams lost a player each due to a scuffle on the near side touch line, the play was very open and both side's defence stood their ground after numerous attacks.
When both binned players were back on the pitch, YM were straight back down to 14 men due to Will Davis being put into the sin bin for a high tackle.
Woodbridge dominated the next 10 minutes of play, exploiting the extra man and running at YM at every opportunity. However, the YM defence stood strong with one particular break being saved by James Taber's last second tackle which meant that Ipswich YM were able to hold on and secure there first league win of the season.
You could certainly tell this was the first league game of the season and although there are a few things that need to be worked on you can certainly see a strong foundation of which YM can build upon as the season progresses.
Report by Alex Wold