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Another battle with Long Eaton

Long Eaton 2nd XV 29 - 20 Rolls-Royce RFC 1st XV

Last Updated: Oct 13, 2013 04:18pm
Wilsthorpe, Erewash
By Robin Kennea
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Rolls-Royce travelled to Long Eaton to face off against the local rivals for the third time this season, the record between the clubs currently standing at 1-1, with Royce’s 2nd XV suffering badly the week before in the defeat, as Long Eaton's big powerful Centre had terrorised the inexperienced defence.

However, they would be ready for him this time...

Rolls-Royce travelled to Long Eaton to face off against the local rivals for the third time this season, the record currently standing at 1-1, but Royce’s had suffered badly the week before in the defeat, as Long Eaton's big powerful Centre had terrorised the inexperienced defence. However, they would be ready for him this time.
It was by no means a full strength squad, with two debutants and a number of people playing out of position, including the rather odd looking number 9 from a couple of games last season making his first appearance of the season.
Royce’s came out of the blocks flying, chasing down their own kick-off hard to keep Long Eaton pinned deep in their own territory. Royce’s were stringing some good phases together but could not keep hold of the ball for long periods, however when the ball was lost the defence early doors was ferocious and Long Eaton could not find the exit door to their own half.
The scrum half missed an early shot of goal as he pulled the relatively easy penalty wide, but from the long Eaton 22 drop out the Royce’s magic happened. Some good forward play set up a strong platform, and Royce's spun the ball wide, allowing centre Danny Reddington to make an arcing run to get outside his man and race away to the corner. It was a great try and nothing less than Royce's deserved for their early efforts, but the conversion was narrowly missed from right on the touch line.
Long Eaton stung into life and put some pressure on Royce’s from the re-start. The next phases of play were very much in the middle of the park, with the two centres, Danny Reddington and Sam Payne, along with debutant flanker Frank Philips, doing an excellent job of snuffing out any potential Long Eaton attacking moves, as well as nullifying the threat of their big centre, which lead to a second penalty chance for Royce's which was slotted this time.
Alex Smith, who had rocked up for 2XV/Vets match was surprised, similarly to many others, at the lack of vets and was putting in a great shift at prop, along with fellow front rower Simon Fox they were setting a great platform for Royce’s to build from, but unfortunately the same could not be said for the line-out. Despite it looking good in the warm-up it misfired all day, which hampered Royce's progress back up field. No matter though as Danny Reddington blew the Long Eaton defence apart as he raced in for a great solo try from his own half, and with the conversion points added Royce's had built a nice 15 point lead.
A late Long Eaton try did nothing to dampen Royce's spirits at half time and the mood in the camp was good. However, with Alex Smith almost spent, putting in more than was required of him, and Rob Gratton's return from a broken nose cut short with another injury this time to his shoulder, the prospect of fresh legs was nil, and Royce's knew they would have to dig deep if they were to come away with this one.
And for the next 20mins they did just that, with few attacking options in the final part of the field, but they defended like lions and gave Long Eaton nothing. This was not to say Royce's were under the cosh, but with the line-out still misfiring and with Andrew Dunne now propping (not his normal position) the scrum had now also lost stability and Royce's first phase ball was really suffering. Add to that the fact the rucks had become a very scrappy affair, and Royce's were now playing off back foot ball, but doing the best they could with it. Long Eaton finally broke the deadlock with a well worked try against a defence starting to show signs of fatigue to level the score.
This re-motivated Royce's and they went on the attack, building some great phase play, and they motored into the Long Eaton half, and as both forwards and backs got involved carrying the ball, eventually the scrum half picked and went blind spotting the lone defender, drew him and popped the ball to winger Jake Branchett to dot down in the corner for his first Royce's try. Unfortunately the conversion from out wide was again just missed.
Could Royce's hold on from here, Unfortunately not, the team was just too tired by now and Long Eaton hit back immediately, with a converted try to try to take the lead. This rather took the wind out of the Royce's sails and in the dying moments Long Eaton's big centre finally broke free to kill off the game.
This was a still a gutsy good performance from the whole team, something to be proud of and learn from. Honourable mention to Jake Branchett for his first try and a solid 80 minutes, and Long Eaton suggested Man of the Match go to Danny Reddington for his solid defence and two tries, although his centre partner Sam Payne on his debut deserved much credit for some big hits, and always being on Danny's shoulder waiting for the pass that would send him free only for Danny to never pass as usual! But the final decision was to give the Man of the Match award to Frank Philips, who was everywhere, and got there faster than anyone else in the team by a clear margin, a full 80 minute performance.         

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