Evesham U16s day in the sunshine was clouded by a loss to visitors Stow. The Gloucestershire team proved too strong in the forwards and dominated most of the match, winning 17-40. Evesham were slightly lacking the overall cohesion and composure they showed the previous week against a stronger side.
Nevertheless there were positives to build on, not least Evesham’s good early start. Superb defensive pressure from the backline forced Stow to concede a penalty in their 22, it was taken quickly and spread wide, Martin Di Franco was unlucky to knock-on with the line in sight. Mike Harris narrowly missed a kick at goal from the next penalty, and then Stow took control. Evesham struggled to contain their powerful forwards despite brave tackles from Alex Stoddart, Ash Charlton and Ben Middlicott amongst others. Stow’s dominance of the set-pieces gave them the platform to score three tries during the rest of the half, all scored from powerful forward drives. Evesham had few opportunities, but did capitalise on Stoddart’s dogged determination when he hacked through a loose ball and chased it down, tackling the defender and securing the ball for Dom Berry to pick up and score. Harris kicked the conversion to make it 7-19 at the break.
Evesham, buoyed by fresh legs from the sub’s bench, came into the game more in the second-half. Matt Camp, Callum Barnett and Ash Icke all made their presence felt in the forwards. This gave opportunity for the backs to get some ball, distributed well by Harris with a man-of-the-match performance at outside-half. Centre Wilf Watson looked typically dangerous with a couple of searing breaks, one of which saw him score under the posts as he ran onto a perfect pass from Jake Shotton. Harris was successful with the conversion and an earlier penalty kick to complete the home team’s scoring. The visitors continued to take their opportunities impressively, scoring three further tries in the second half.
Evesham know they will need to improve their set-piece play before taking on Edwardians at Solihull on 9th October in the first round of the North Midlands Cup.