This weekend saw us back on the road to a very damp and misty Grove RFC. With four of our boys unavailable due to County commitments and with some still carrying injuries, we were down to the bare minimum of players. We saw 3 new players, Craig at hooker, Hugh in the centres and Kheson on the wing. As with all new guys, they were immediately made welcome by the rest of the team and played as if they had been with us from the start of the season.
Today we played a Grove team who were likewise struggling for players. However, we were fortunate enough to have 17 players so we were able to lend them a couple so that we could play with two full sides. That said, Grove were a well organised side with a big, mobile pack and a very fast set of backs.
Although we had some boys playing out of their preferred positions, we got off to a bright start with the pack not only holding their own but dominating play. Yet again, they played with a huge amount of passion and showed that they are really now working together as a unit. The backs ran some great lines and were able to break through the opposition’s defence on numerous occasions. The first half saw tries from Phil, Stevie and Hugh, two of them being converted by Sam giving us a 19 – 0 lead at half time.
All credit must be given to Grove who started the second half very positively and kept us pinned down for some time. However, two great tries from Alfie and Miles, both converted by Sam, sealed our 33 – 0 win.
I would like to give my thanks to Louis, Kheson, Jake and Andrew R who played a half each for Grove. Their application was commended by the Grove coaches who praised their performances, something they’d not seen from other clubs.
Again there were many outstanding performances but I would like to pick out two individuals.
Sam Bannister who has played on the flank so far, filled the vacant position of loosehead prop having not played there for years. He was awesome and complimented what was a very strong front row. Craig, in his first game for Reading, had a terrific game at hooker. His work rate was amazing and seemed to be at the heart of all the rucks and mauls.
Also, welcome back Alfie from injury. Your contribution both on and off the pitch is fantastic.
However, my congratulations must go to the team as a whole. They are now working for one another, looking after one another and keeping each other’s discipline when the going gets tough. As we head towards our first league game of the season next weekend, I couldn’t have asked for a better team performance to use as a springboard. Well done guys, great performance, enjoyed by all watching from the touchline.