Sat 07
1st XV
Brentwood 3 Shelford 19

Brentwood 3 Shelford 19

By Leslie Gelling
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Resolute Defence Keeps Winning Streak In-Tact

An awesome display of defending by the Peacocks saw them continue their winning streak to 4 in-a-row in their rearranged away fixture with Brentwood. Brentwood turned us over at the Davey Field earlier in the season, primarily with a superior set-piece, running out winners 15-6, so it would have been a satisfying win on the road for Shelford atoning for that loss, in a manner that showed how far we’ve come in just a few months.

Brentwood started the game with such pace and energy that an early score by them looked inevitable, but Shelford’s aggressive defence and line speed kept knocking back their opponents at every opportunity.

An early hit by Matt Gregerson epitomised Shelford’s defensive mindset and organisation, forcing a knock-on in the process.

Brentwood’s early domination did create opportunities for them, after a break by their inside centre who was instrumental in most of their attacks. He slipped the ball onto their full back, but a superb tackle by Shingai Chiwanga forced the ball to be knocked-on in the tackle.

Brentwood did get their opportunity to take the lead, as we’re penalised for being offside in our own 22, but the Brentwood no. 10 puts the penalty kick wide. The match stayed scoreless at 10 minutes, and Shelford had weathered the early Brentwood storm.

Shelford then went on the attack, and a neat kick by centre Jack Brosnan in behind the Brentwood defence sees them retrieve the ball and having to concede a 5-metre attacking scrum. We continue to attack, but lose the ball in contact, giving Brentwood the chance to clear their lines. Another Shelford attack sees Louis Tang nearly score in the corner, but good defending by Brentwood sees the game remain 0-0 after 20 minutes.

Shelford finally take the lead through a Lewis Cracknell penalty from around the 22-metre line, after Brentwood are penalised for coming in at the side of the ruck. 0-3 to Shelford after 23 minutes.

Shelford extend their lead further after Sam Till turns the ball over at the breakdown, as Brentwood are penalised for not releasing the ball. Cracknell slots a superb penalty from beyond the 10-metre line, 0-6 on 34 minutes.

Brentwood come back into the game, and we’re penalised for not releasing the tackled player. The Brentwood no. 10 slots the kick, 3-6, 38 minutes.

Shelford however finish the half strongly, winning another penalty at the breakdown, and Cracknell slots another fine penalty kick from beyond the 10-metre line, 3-9 at the break. No first half tries for either side, but what we witnessed was a fiercely competitive and entertaining game.

Shelford were then the team that came out firing in the second half, as we went through numerous phases before the ball went wide. Although the pass doesn’t go to hand, Louis Tang kicks the ball through and touches down for the game’s first try, 3-14 on 45 minutes.

Shelford continue on the front foot, and Brentwood are penalised for a high tackle on Vili Koroibanuve. We kick the penalty to the corner and work a catch & drive before coming short of the line. A number of our pick & drives are then thwarted by Brentwood before sharp work by Charlie Baker catches the Brentwood defence off-guard and sees him dot down in the corner, 3-19 on 55 minutes.

Another superb break from deep in his own half by Louis Tang almost results in a fantastic solo try, but he’s stopped short on the Brentwood 22 line, but his attempted offload is knocked-on. Still 3-19 at 60 minutes.

Shelford’s catch & drive work at the lineout continues to improve hugely, and our ability to continually move the ball to the back of the maul and keep the ball alive nearly results in another score, but Brentwood manage to keep us at bay.

As we enter the final 10 minutes, Shelford are penalised for a high tackle, but Brentwood’s frustrations boil over as they try and take matters into their own hands, but this only results in yellow cards then being issued to both sides, with Vili and Brentwood’s no. 10 see