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Atherstone 1st XV 29 - 28 Coventry Welsh

Warwickshire Cup First Round

Last Updated: Sep 7, 2014 09:28pm
Atherstone, North Warwickshire
By Julie Douglas
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This weekend was certainly a test of the hard work that has been put in over the summer at Atherstone RFC as they opened their season with two highly competitive matches over two days.

The first was on Saturday against the Meat Machine at the Neil Cleaver Memorial Day hosted by Tamworth RFC and the second on Sunday against Coventry Welsh in the First Round of the Warwickshire Cup.  To a man, every member of the squad that took part in either both the matches or just one of them, played with absolute commitment demonstrating excellent team work and dogged determination to succeed.

Cameron was full of praise for his squad saying: ‘I've played and coached rugby for a long time and this weekend is right up there with one of the best I've ever had. If we continue show the same commitment, passion and desire we have showed over the course of the last two days this team will develop very quickly into a top team’

Still recovering from a bruising battle against the Meat Machine, Atherstone made a slow start enabling Welsh to take an early lead with a successful penalty kick quickly followed by an unconverted try to take an eight point lead within the first twenty minutes.  The home side responded with a try under the posts which came from a quickly taken tap penalty.  Jamie Lawrence collected the ball and powered over under the posts setting Andy Redman up for the conversion.

An excellent individual run saw Welsh extend their lead with a converted try.  Atherstone soon settled into their stride and began to put together phases of play to launch a number of attacks.  Having been awarded a penalty, Redman put in an excellent kick giving his team a line-out just on their opposition’s 5m line.  Jon Wright was instrumental in securing the ball and taking it into the pack to set the drive in motion. John Perry was the ball carrier who grounded the ball for an unconverted try cutting the deficit to three points. A successful penalty kick from Redman brought the score level at the half time break.

From the start of the second half, it was clear that both sides were not going to give up without a fight as both vied for possession and territory.  It was the home side that scored first as a tap penalty provided Lawrence with his second try which Redman duly converted.  Welsh responded with a well worked try from a lineout which went unconverted but narrowed the gap to two points.  The visitors edged ahead with a penalty kick. Tenacious tackling from the Ratcliffe Road outfit ensured that none of Welsh’s attacks were fruitful.  Atherstone’s final try of the match came as a result of outstanding foresight from Ben Wiggan who followed up a penalty kick deep into Welsh’s territory.  In an attempt to maintain possession the visitor’s winger tapped the ball back into the field of play.  Wiggan was in the right position to collect the ball and sidestep the fullback to go over the line.  Redman added the extras to take the score to 29-23.  Welsh continued to pressure their hosts and were eventually rewarded with a penalty inside Atherstone’s 22 which was taken quickly and effectively shipped through hands to go over for an unconverted try cutting the deficit to one point with ten minutes still to play.

Despite Welsh initiating numerous attacking moves in the closing stages of the game, the Atherstone defence remained steadfast with players putting their already bruised bodies on the line to hold onto their slim lead until the final whistle.  The victory puts Atherstone into the second round with a home fixture against Alcester on Saturday 6th September.

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