Pre-season preparation paid off big time with this performance against last season’s third-placed side. Equally exciting is the prospect of more to come as the Eds grow into the season.
The first scrum of the match confirmed the power of the Eds’ pack as Old Laurentians were shunted backwards. Shortly after, a driving maul took play deep into the visitor’s 22 although the Eds were repelled by strong rear-guard action. Eds’ No9 Brad Darlaston’s kicking game was on song all match and it was his long kick, followed up well, that set up a good position for the Eds. The ball was fed to No10 Ryan Southall who slipped through the tackles to score under the posts, converted by Brad Darlaston: 7-0.
A fine Old Laurentians line-break set the Eds’ defensive alarm bells ringing only for No 13 Craig Jones to make an excellent recovery tackle. Shortly after, No1 Gareth Cartwright was sin-binned and replaced by Sam Oldham.
From a maul near the half-way line Brad Darlaston’s pass picked out Ryan Southall who interchanged passes with No14 Tay Brown to gallop down the right wing and then score under the posts, again converted by Brad Darlaston: 14-0.
The second half saw both sides competing to seize control of the match. The Eds’ forwards drove play into the visitor’s half and was shortly followed by the try of the match. Oldham carried the ball well and his offload resulted in a ruck from which No12 Jack Darlaston passed the ball to Ryan Southall. This was followed by 6 textbook draw-and-passes across the width of the pitch, with forwards and back combining for Brown to score in the right corner: 19-0.
A brilliant Sam Southall break raised hope of a fourth (bonus point) but this time it was the visitors’ defence that rose to the occasion to snuff out the threat and counter with a line break from their excellent No10. Ryan Southall tracked back well to make the tackle. Shortly after, No11 Luke Roberts also tackled well to prevent a score.
Old Laurentians were steadily gaining momentum and camped in the Eds’ 22. Eds’ defended well but, as the pressure intensified were caught napping by a swiftly-taken tapped penalty: 19-5 with five minutes to go.
Attempting to score the fourth try Eds threw everything at the visitors, who were equally determined not to concede and the match ended at 19-5.
The Eds’ seemed to be playing fewer forwards’ phases than last season, before bringing the backs into play with a steady flow of quick quality ball, and the whole side played as a unit. No6 John Graham had a fine all-round game, although the same can also be said of the whole pack. No3 Dave McAdam anchored the scrum and made one particularly eye-catching ‘dump’ tackle. No2 George Parker got around the field well and threw in accurately at line-out time. No’s 4 and 5 Nick Sephton and Brandon Carter provided the ‘engine room’ in the tight and the loose. The back-row combination of Phil King, Ryan Hatch and John Graham was well-balanced and effective in attack and defence. Combined with a disciplined defensive display, this will be a difficult side to beat.
Coach Jimmy Gopperth commented, “It was a really pleasing start to the season, the boys showed great determination and their attitude was spot on. We still have a lot to work on but we are heading a the right direction. Looking forward to another good performance next match”.
Old Eds’ Scorers:
Tries: R Southall (2), T Brown
Conversions: B Darlaston (2)
Old Eds First Team: G Cartwright, K Parker, D McAdam, N Sephton, B Carter, J Graham, P King, R Hatch, B Darlaston, R Southall, L Roberts, J Darlaston, C Jones, T Brown, S Southall
Subs (all used): J Holder, D Oldham, R Singh
Next Match: Pinley (Away) Saturday 28/09/19 3:00pm KO