The Perfect Tonic
By Roger Barrett
On a very blustery morning a Shelford squad of 19 travelled to Brentwood only a week after the Cup Final disappointment.
On a very blustery morning a Shelford squad of 19 travelled to Brentwood only a week after the Cup Final disappointment. It proved to be the perfect tonic as despite the conditions the visitors played some excellent running rugby. They ran in 6 tries, all of which were converted by Harvey Taylor, not an insignificant feat given the wind. It was also a chance to trial out some players in new positions, with Harvey Taylor playing scrum –half, Ryley Stiebrins-Brown at stand-off and Harry Calne at full-back (and wing).
The forwards had an excellent game, winning back possesion on numerous occasions at the breakdown, with Freddie Sales and Harry Keiller proving to be particularly effective. Rob Lucas racked up his traditional bucket-load of tackles and there was a welcome return to rugby for Olly Davies after a lengthy injury break. Tom Macfarlane put in a great shift as replacement hooker and Scott Revell possibly had the greatest gains per carry than anyone on the pitch.
The backs certainly were not going to be outdone and after some early handling errors they played with an energy and focus, both in attack and defence, where they gave the home side precious little space to play in. The opening half was a fairly close encounter, with Ned Westbrook and Will Rand dotting down to open up a 14-0 lead. But just before half-time a clever kick through by Brentwood allowed their wing to race through to touch down and reduce their arrears to 7-14 at the break.
In the second period Shelford had the wind and pitch slope in their favour and they made it tell. The home side could not get a foothold in the game and spent precious little time in the Shelford half – and when they did the visitors quickly turned them over. Despite this it was still a very competitive game and Shelford were made to work hard for their four tries scored through Will Rand (following a lovely lay-off by Kyle Harris), Kyle Harris and a brace for Ryley Stiebrins-Brown. Given the conditions both teams deserve great credit for playing a highly entertaining game of rugby.