After two tough away games on the trot to Cranbrook and Hastings the Old Boys were looking forward to some home comforts and getting back to winning ways against this week’s opposition, Sittingbourne.
The weather was perfect with a cold sunny fresh day at the fortress, with the pitch still holding up and soft underfoot the scene was set for a perfect game of rugby.
With this game being played as a double header for league and cup there was an extra sense of importance this weekend. The Old Boys knew that Sittingbourne would be well up for this game with the extra motivation of going further in the cup and would have to be at their best if they were to take the win.
The game kicked off with Willies playing up the slight slope and into a low sun making high balls difficult to see. From the off Sittingbourne came out the blocks at rapid speed and set about recycling quick ball up the field deep into the Willies 22. Still asleep at the break down Willies let a simple try go over out wide with less than 2 minutes on the clock no extras added 0-5.
Not a great start!!
This seemed to wake the Old Boys from their slumber and from the restart started to play some rugby. Good work by the forwards saw the ball recycled well at the break downs and with the backs gaining vital yards up the field Willies began to impose their quick style on the game, pulling Sittingbourne from one side of the pitch to the other to open up space. After several phases Sittingbourne’s defence became scrappy and bodies began to lie on the floor at the break down attempting to slow the Willies quick ball. A penalty was awarded right in front of the posts with Captain Bowie electing for the 3 points and duly converting.
From the restart the ball failed to go 10 meters but with Willies winning the ball and quickly releasing the backs advantage was played and quick ground was made via the car ball deep into Sittingbourne’s 22. With the forwards now in full flow the ball was kept tight and recycled well by scrum half Will Burton. With Sittingbourne’s defence becoming scrambled as Willies dominated the break down space opened up for Big Bad Gregor to crash over just to the left of the posts. With Bowie adding the extras Willies took the lead 10-5.
Sittingbourne were not just here to make up the numbers though and from the restart make quick ground with smart kicks up the field. With scrambled defence being turned over and Sittingbourne opting for a scum 5 meters out. With a large weight advantage Willies were always going backwards and it was only a matter of time before the ball crossed the line…with the scrum half going for the CONTROLLED placement and downward pressure on the ball for the try…. he knocked on. Well everyone saw he knocked on except the man in the middle who awarded the try anyway. Extras missed but with the Willies feeling very hard done by the half time whistle went.
A very scrappy half for the Willies with only about 15 minutes of good phase rugby put together. Poor control at the break down saw the Willies become frustrated and this in turn affected the way they went about the game. It was hoped that the second half would see better control of the game but in all honesty it was as scrappy as the first.
I won’t go into too much depth with the second half. We started brightly and Smithers was on the end to round off an excellent team try out wide after very good work from all the forwards. Extras missed but once again Willies took the lead 15-10. Really we should have kicked on from here and put this game to bed but as the first half, poor control at the break down led to a frustrated Willies side giving away too many penalties after good work to gain attacking ground. Sittingbourne to their credit continued to battle on and played the game how it should be played. Rich Pearce spent 10 in the bin for I believe throwing a punch at a ruck which didn’t help matters but the storm was weathered. Both teams kicked a penalty each to take the scores to 18-13 and apart from a Sittingbourne rolling maul half the length of the field neither team ever looked like scoring any more points.
So a scrappy win for the Willies this week but none the less and important one. Vital points in the league along with our name in the bag for the next round of the cup may be seen by many as a good day at the office. For this young Willies side though there is more too just winning and always want to play the game with flair and style. There were moments of this throughout the game with some great off loads and support play by the forwards with the odd majestic pass from the backs chucked in but this was by no means Old Willies at their best.
MOTM – Fast Becoming Mr Versatile with great vision, strong tackling, pace and a great off load out of the tackle Aaron Dimmick was this week’s receiver of the coveted Dirty pint! The young Willie showed great vision throughout the game made some great tackles and kept his head when those around him lost theirs.
DOTD – Easy – You spend time in the bin you get a Dirty pint so well done to Rich Pearce.
Next week sees the Willies on the road again away to HSBC. Coveted with one of the best pitches in the whole of Kent and South East London it is hoped the Willies can make use of this and exert their style on the game and get the win. So good luck to all the boys next Saturday. A big WIN would be the perfect 30th birthday present for me!!!
UP THE WILLIES!!