The new season is upon us and a rock hard ground at the Fortress awaited the Old Boys and their opponents. Last season saw the home side win on both occasions but nothing was to be taken for granted as Beccs always give a great account of themselves. With a number of players on holiday, at a music festival or unavailable with broken nails and bent eyelashes a strong starting XV was supported on the bench by Club Poet, Tim Abbott, Coache's son Ed Burton and Club Stalwart Dan Harrison. Due to the eclectic mix on the bench the boys were buoyed into action and although they faced the hill and wind in the first half, they still put in a fine first half performance.
Both sides kept it in their packs in the early stages but it was Willies who were made to pay with first blood drawn by the opponents. After missing his first penalty the fly half managed to connect with his second attempt and put the away side 3-0 up. Undaunted the Old boys kept to their game plan and a strong run from Alex Cross was met with the perfect pass from scrum half Will Burton. Brushing aside the tackle with a lovely attacking line, Cross duly went under the posts for the first try of the game. Captain Callum Bowie added the extras and after 20 minutes the home side were 7-3 ahead.
The Willies continued to look for gaps and made good inroads but a final pass was never quite on. Slightly against the run of play came the next try. Beccs were passing the ball down the back line and winger Peter Cole rushed forward sensing the interception. A gangly outstretched hand plucked the ball from the sky like a monkey after its banana and he raced through to score. Once again Bowie added the extras.
Beccs continued to press but their passes were not always quite going to hand. This however did not seem to deter them and from broken play they looked most dangerous. After a couple of near misses and continued pressure from the referee's whistle the Willies line was finally broken. With the opposition backs linking up well with some neat offloads they registered a try in the far right hand corner. The angle proved too tight for the fly half and with try scorer Cross meeting the full price of the continued off side decisions shortly before half time the pressure was on the home side when reduced to 14 men. Fortunately no points were conceded and the sides went in at half time,14-8 to Old Wills.
The second half saw a number of missed chances by the home side and a late rally by Beccs, but all a little too late. Bowie scored a huge penalty from the half way line out to the left but this effort was eclipsed by the tenacious Darren Finn. With nowhere to run and no pace to even try it, he let swing with his boot and struck a mighty drop goal from just inside Beccs half. It sailed over much to everyone's amazement and Bowie's fantastic penalty was forgotten. Bowie scored a close range penalty and Beccs fly half successfully hit the target one more time. Both sides gave as good as the got in the final stages with near misses at both ends. However the score remained at 23-11 to the Willies and a winning start to the season was recorded.
With a number of players due back, competition for places is at a level not seen for a while at the Willies. Excellent debut's for Bradley Ward and Pat Edgcumbe were had and Alex Cross had a storming game. Some fantastic defence work from Olly Woolcock and Lewis Hepper kept the Willies in when the screws were being turned. A tense but enjoyable game to spectate.