Yesterday Pavs welcomed Towcestrians to Burntstump in the latest round of the Midlands One competition. Towcestrians clearly arrived at Pavs with the intention and hope of reversing the result of October’s fixture which Pavs won 48-21. For their part, Pavs made three changes from the side that defeated a strong Rugby Lions XV last time out, with returning Ed James coming in for Josh Flanagan, fit again Matt Molyneux in for Phil Eggleshaw and Ollie Collingham starting at number eight.
On a blustery, cold yet bright afternoon Tows kicked off with the prevailing conditions at their backs. Pavs were unable to secure the ball which allowed Tows to get on the front foot and control the play for the opening minutes. After eight minutes and with Pavs first venture into the Tows half, hooker Keiran “sniffer” Wells (anybody remember Allan Clarke erstwhile 70s goal poacher? – different sport same ideal) found himself in space in midfield cutting a fine line to score. George Billam did the necessaries to give Pavs a 7-0 lead. Impressive flanker James Reeson was then forced to leave the fray with a back spasm to be replaced by Alistair Plant. During the next phase of the game honours were shared between both sides until Doug Billam ducked, dived, bobbed and weaved over to extend Pavs lead to 12-0. Tows could be forgiven for feeling a little disgruntled at not scoring themselves but the final pass would just not go to hand. Having said this, on twenty five minutes Tows did force the ball over the line and convert to narrow the gap to 12-7. Aforesaid “Planty” departed to the bin and Pavs battled on with fourteen. At this time Pavs upped the pace and were awarded a series of penalties and chose to eschew the kick in favour of the scrum. Tows defended bravely before George Billam finally added the three points to give pavs a 15-7 half time lead.
Some matters were clearly addressed by coaches Nathan Eggleshaw and Adam Corcoran and Pavs started the second half with vim and vigour. On forty-three minutes skipper Doug Billam again burst through to score with brother George adding the extras to bring the score to 22-7 in favour of Pavs. Bustling Josh Hall was also forced to vacate the field with a back injury to be replaced by former Pavs Junior Ed James. To make matters worse, winger Richard Hatton then took a heavy contact and was removed from the pitch for safety reasons. This gave Pavs an organisational issue which ended in the arrival of Cal Mason and the departure of lock Ollie Hanson to the wing. On sixty one minutes Tows spilled the ball in no man’s land with the final pass going to Hanson to sprint in and score. Billam added the conversion to extend Pavs lead to 29-7. It would be churlish at this stage not to also mention Cal Mason’s interception, it is open to debate whether he meant it but it certainly looked good! Tows did not give up in any way and accordingly they narrowed the lead with a fine try and conversion on seventy to minutes to bring the score to 29-14 which was how the game ended.
All in all, a satisfactory afternoon for Pavs. Tows were a much improved side and gave Pavs more than a few issues. Three injuries area always difficult to manage, but Pavs overcame by displaying the right stuff and sticking to the plans that have served them well so far this season. A big well done must go to Ollie Collingham for his performance and selection as MOM by Towcester- richly deserved.
Squad; Stirling, Wells, Collier, Hanson, Allen, Hall, Reeson, Collingham, Green, Billam G, Hatton, Billam D, Barton, Taylor W Rep; Mason,Plant,James
Updated 19:51 - 11 Feb 2019 by Diana Turner
Scorers; Billam D 2 tries, Wells 1 try, Hanson 1 try, Billam G 1 pen/3 conv
Man of the Match; Ollie Collingham
Nigel Youl - 1st Team Manager