Spring was in the air when the Old Boys took to the field on Saturday to take on New Ash Green.
Looking at NAG it was easy to see why teams had struggled to put points on them this season. With one of the biggest packs in the league it was clear that the Old Wills scrum would be going backwards at a rate Ben Shears would have been pleased with going forward. Undeterred by NAG’s size the Old Boys looked to play their expansive style of rugby while the front row prayed for a limited number of scrums.
Much the same as last week the game kicked off with the away team looking to get early points on the board. With by far the larger of the two packs NAG looked to keep it tight for the first 5 minutes of the game with the ball being recycled well by their forwards. It took the Old Boys these 5 minutes to wake up and realise that NAG were not going to roll over and let them play their game without a fight. Once the Old Boys had woke up the game really got going with the forwards gaining plenty of ground with the car ball. Excellent work from the Pearce brothers saw vital yards made towards the NAG 22. Once the ball was secure it was shipped wide to the pace of the backs and turning on the style and making amends for his shocker last week Birthday boy (20)Jamie “Jam Jam” Sanger found himself on the end of a pass that saw a straight forward dash to line to produce the first try of the game. Conversion missed 5-0.
This try came about 15/20 minutes in and was the result of a team effort that saw this young side batter the NAG defensive line right until the try was scored.
From the restart the Old Boys looked to put pressure on the catcher. With Oli Woolcock chasing hard the NAG winger fumbled the catch and a line out was awarded just outside NAG’s 22. With the line out won the ball was shipped out to the backs where a superb tap tackle on Ben“Speedy”Shears prevented the young Willie from scoring out wide. Further Willies dominance was to pay off however when old boy Mark “Squelchy” Welch finished of some great hands to crash over in the corner shortly followed from the restart by a brilliant individual try that saw him find himself at fly half. Being a winger and never really having to pass “Squelch” stepped two of the NAG rushing defence to finish off under the posts for the Old Boys 3rd of the day. Captain Bowie added 2 out of the 3 conversions and the sides went in at half time with the score 19-0 to the home side.
This had been a battle from the first minute and the Old Boys were well aware that if they took their foot of the gas NAG would punish them. The second half was very much the same as the first with the standard of ruby by the home side some of the best they have played all season. Knowing that their pace out wide was creating chances every time, quick play was again the order of the half. NAG did try to slow the game to try and bring their lumps into play but with the Old Wills scrum doing just enough, two attempts at push over tries by the away side were seen off. With NAG’s reliance on their pack the Old Boys knew that if they kept the ball moving at pace and shipped the ball wide at every opportunity more tries would come in this second half, and they did with 3 of the youngest players on the team all getting on the score sheet.
Ashley “Slick Back” Smith finished off a well worked move to crash over followed by Jamie “Jam Jam” Sanger for his second of the game and of course the score would not have been complete without a couple from our pace man Ben “Speedy” Shears who got a brace. His last try his best of the season. Coming from a man that has scored 20+ plus he has a collection to choose from. This one a cute little chip and chase with the ball popping up right at the last minute for the winger to gather and drop over the line beating two NAG covering defence in the process and winding himself as he crashed over. A great try to score and a pleasure to watch from the side line.
This game was all about the backs in terms of the points put on the board, their sheer pace and quality of play was too much for NAG on the day. The tries scored although a few were down to pure class were a result of a team effort. The forwards especially the front row put in one hell of a game against a much, much larger pack to allow the pace of the backs the space to do their thing and not only win the game but entertain the large crowd on the touch line.
So a special mention to Tim “Too Posh” Abbott, Oli Woolcock, James Sanderson (making his first full start) and Reece “Jar Head” Price who stepped into the front row towards the end of the game. A big display from some not so big men. (Well there not that small but smaller than NAG)
MOTM – This week it had to go to the men in the front row. Giving up at least 5 stone each to the NAG props James and Tim got on with their jobs, didn’t moan once and were very pleased when the final whistle went so they could try and regain the feeling in their necks.
DOTD – The Barmy Army felt that this award should be shelved this week with no contenders in mind. The chairman Daz Painter had other ideas and as chairman it is his prerogative to do pretty much what he likes. A lovely pint was poured with the Captains name on it for poor kicking and failing to get a conversion attempt 2 feet off the floor.
UP THE WILLIES!!!!!