Match Report - Surrey 1 - Vandals v Reeds
By Stuart Howkins
Vandals outscore rivals three tries to one but narrowly lose in a closely fort contest that is arguable Vandals performance of the season.
WEYBRIDGE VANDALS 19 REEDS WEYBRIDGE 23
In an Enthralling game of rugby Reeds just managed to hang onto a slender four point lead and in doing so maintained their unbeaten season. Had Vandals scored in the dying minutes it was nothing more than they deserved, and not even the most die hard Reeds supporters would have begrudged the home side the Victory, especially as Vandals had outscored their local rivals by three tries to one. When the referee blew for no-side the relief on the faces of the Reeds players was plain to see. Vandals had taken them all the way and could count themselves extremely unfortunate not to come out of the contest with more than one bonus point. They have two more league games to play and can feel confident of the positive results which will confirm their runners-up spot and a play-off against Hampshire 1 side to decide who is promoted to London SW3 next season.
Vandals got off to the perfect start with winger Greg Lynch taking advantage of a turn over to breeze past the defence to score the first of his side’s tries. Reeds responded with a penalty after some good phase play, Pete Davidge bisecting the posts. The same player then slotted over a further kick after Vandals were penalised at a lineout, to make the score 6 pts to 5 in Reeds favour. The next period of play brought a number of penalties, as both sides attempted to gain the upper hand, but it was Vandals who struck next with their second try. After winning a penalty from a line out drive they kicked for a second line out, and driving forward again, they moved the ball wide with fly half Harry Weatherall finishing off some fine handling. Centre Joe Spencer converted to give Vandals a well deserved lead at 12 pts to six. Reeds exerted some pressure leading up to half time, but were unable to penetrate Vandals defence. They did however convert a third penalty to go into the interval only three points behind.
It was proving to be a tight battle as forecast, with one score looking likely to make the difference, and the second half continued to keep supporters of both clubs enthralled as the rivalry on the pitch continued.
Vandals were first on the attack at the start of this second forty minutes and could have got back as six point cushion, but the kick was missed, and it was Reeds who converted a fourth penalty to bring the scores level at 12 points a piece. Winning a turnover and a penalty, Vandals penned Reeds back in their own half with Weatherall making another incisive break. Reeds weathered this storm and rallied to score a vital try through Van Veale. The conversion kick hit the post which could have proved costly. Reeds were in the lead by five points at 12-17, but with a converted try Vandals would be back in the driving seat, and could possible see out the game. Their chance came when a wayward kick from Reeds was fielded by George Bolster. Sensing a great opportunity for the counter attack the full back motored up field going past bewildered opponents. Up in support was Weatherall and centre HARRY Reed and it was the latter, with work still to be done, who scored Vandals third try. With a Spencer conversion Vandals now lead by 19 pts to 17 and on course to inflict a first defeat of the season on their rivals. But Reeds fought back and won enough territory for Davidge and Johny Rogers to kick two vital penalties to leave their side leading by four points.
There was still time for Vandals to score their fourth try and secure what would have been their finest Victory of the season. They pounded away at Reeds line, but just could not find a way through. A huge team effort, nevertheless, and one which they will hope to replicate in the next two weeks, and in the play-off and the Surrey shield cup final.
Written by John Farrow