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Colts step up to the plate

Luctonian RFC

Last Updated: Aug 26, 2013 10:02am
Kingsland, County of Herefordshire
By Luctonians RFC
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After the disappointment of Cobra crying off on August 10th, we were able to welcome Newbridge and Newtown to Mortimer Park to finally enter into competitive rugby.

Having attracted between 40 and 50 players throughout pre-season we arranged to face both sides in an attempt to give all players game time. The idea was to put together our strongest XV to start against Newbridge, and rather than carry huge numbers on the bench transplant players across from the Newtown game when required. This meant that the candidates for a 1st XV shirt come September 7th would have at least 40 minutes of game time behind them.

The squad to face Newbridge altered greatly in the week leading up to the game with Will Burton, Geraint Langdon, Jimmy Norris and new centre Elliot Brooks all missing from proceedings. Our increased strength in depth this year meant that obvious candidates were able to exploit the opportunity and Brett Prior, Ed Gough and Rob Crowley wore the 10, 12 and 13 shirts respectively.

Having previously faced Newbridge on two occasions we knew that they would pose a real challenge and they didn’t disappoint on this occasion. They started the brighter using their considerable centre partnership to win the mid-field collisions to set up good positions for the pack to work off. We were able to weather the storm, and having gained possession and built a couple of phases were awarded a penalty on the Newbridge 10 metre line. A quick tap and run by Nathan Roy-Smith caught the defence on the back foot and a well-timed pass to our new recruit, flanker Adam Clayton led to a Try to the left of the posts. 5-0

Newbridge then regained the momentum and following a series of pick and go’s from a failed lineout drive their number 8 exploited some poor fringe defence to score. 5-7 Shortly afterwards Newbridge were afforded a Scrum in our 22. We disrupted well driving the scrum up on the left, however the combination of good play by the Newbridge 8 and our own players focussing on the melee, freed the 9 who fed the 12 (the only Newbridge player in motion) who ran untouched between 10 and 12 to score. 5-14

Towards the end of the half Newbridge were again camped on our 22 metre line. Having turned over possession we hastily opted for a box kick without having the players in position to chase. The kick was fielded by the Newbridge Full-back who ran in under the posts. 5-21 The combination of Coach Bemand’s half-time words and Newbridge’s policy of introducing several replacements brought about a second half reversal in fortune.

Firstly Anthony Marfell was able to peel of a lineout maul and score in the corner (12-21). Then Newbridge played out of their half and were able to score their fourth following some weak tackling (12-28). Following a mid-field scrum we then witnessed the result of new planned back-line move with several runners coming to the line together. On this occasion a hole was left for Charlie Meredith to break the line before angling inside the fullback to score under the posts. (19-28).

With the final play off the match Newbridge broke out of their own 22 through the centres only to cough up possession on our 10 metre line. A quick pick up and pass by Paul Hulland found Alex Rumsey in space who ran 40 metres to score. (26-28) 4 tries a piece. Against Newtown we were able to dominate the set piece, and took the lead through the award of a penalty try at scrummage. Despite creating several other opportunities we were unable to extend the lead. The disruption of losing the likes of Brad Talbot, Fin Ralph and Alex Butt to join the Newbridge game may well have played a part in the score remaining at 5-0.

Both games provided positives with our new recruits performing well, evidence of our new structures becoming apparent in our play, and superior fitness levels being displayed (Credit to Ady Watts’ team). Another positive is the inclusion of so many of last year’s Colts who look to have stepped up to compete for Senior Shirts this time around. With examples such as Will Burton and Drew Cheshire to follow I’m certain we’ll see another home grown talent make a mark soon.

I’ll write next week reflecting on our first experience of the new Scrum Engagement sequence as well as looking ahead to Lydney.

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