Match Report - Surrey 1 - Vandals v Old Amplefordians
By Stuart Howkins
Dominant Vandals put a gutsy Amplefordians team to the sword
WEYBRIDGE VANDALS 40 OLD AMPLEFORDIANS 7
Vandals continued their winning start to the new year with this comprehensive victory over the old boys of Ampleforth College, whose most famous of their alumni, was ex England captain Lawrence Dallaglio. How their side could have done this with his rugby knowledge and expertise of back row play. But Vandals flankers John Cottam, Karl Hoade and No 8 Joshua Carter invariably had the upper hand, as did the front five driven by lock forwards and captain Adam Bullett. Struggling early on in the set piece and losing their hooker to injury, the old boys were probably happy to go to uncontested scrums for the remainder of the game, but, although reduced to fourteen men, they never lost their appetite for the game, demonstrating good handling and running skills, and bringing out the best of vandals defence, however, playing one man short eventually took its toll, and once Vandals had scored their third try, the old boys were under constant pressure from a home side who attacked continually and whose efforts were rewarded with three further tries.
Amplefordians were the more dominant in the opening passages of play and Vandals were forced to defend, which they did with great resolve. Winning turn over ball, they moved up field with a superb run from deep by lock Luke Dones, which was supported by full back George Bolster and fly half James Wellden. A knock on close to the try line thwarted this effort, but Vandals were soon back on the attack, with Joshua Carter thundering forward into the heart of the visitor’s defence. Good support and off loads from team mates set up a try for centre HARRY Reed which was converted by fellow centre Joe Spencer, the first of five successful kicks. Winning possession again well inside their own half Vandals showed their willingness to mount attacks from a long way out, and Luke Phair rounded off a good handling movement with some blistering pace and a fine try.
A powerful line out drive from the forwards set up a further try scoring opportunity, but Amplefordians took advantage of a knock on to mound an attack of their own. An aggressive run by their prop brought a penalty, and after more driving play they got a deserved try which they converted the score of 14 pts to 7 to Vandals remained the same until the break, and an intriguing second half lay in wait.
Vandals got the early territorial gain at the start of the second period, but Amplefordians, with a break out of defence by their fullback, took them in striking distance of a second try, but once again they met stern resistance, and a penalty to Vandals for not releasing was the signal for Vandals to regain some dominance. A kick from George Bolster was latched on to by winger Greg Lynch for Vandals third converted try, and another Bolster kick was followed up by fly half James Wellden for a fourth score. At 28-7 Vandals had the game won, but they continued to pile on the pressure on their opponents, with Cassian Bramham-Law, coming on late as centre replacement, penetrating the defence on more than one occasion. Captain Adam Bullett then emerged from a break down to drive towards the try line. He was held up but Karl Hoade was up in support, and a determined surge gave the flanker a well merited try. Amplefordians were still attempting to run from inside their own half, but were getting no change out of Vandals defence, and conceding further penalties, they found themselves behind their posts for a sixth time, as George Bolster, capping a fine performance, fastened onto a Cassian Braham-Law kick for his side’s final score.
Vandals 2nd XV complemented the first team success with a 64-12 demolition of Effingham and Leatherhead RFC 3rd XV, running in twelve tries at regular intervals to see them extend their league at the top of their table.
Written By John Farrow