It was my first visit to the Reeds Weybridge (blue) ground and it boasts a most attractive setting. The pitch was lush and well marked, but there was a strong downfield wind and rain was threatening. Some confusion over the kick off time saw the home side already warmed up whilst there was only trickle of arrivals by the visitors. The wait time allowed some discussion about the ELVs, most players were aware, but their knowledge came from Super 14 and Tri-nations and free-kicks for handling in rucks was highly anticipated.
I have encountered the visitors, Economicals (black) a couple of times, and this time looked younger and fitter than their opposition, with a large bench to rotate through, something the home side regretted agreeing to.
The home side choose to play up hill and into the wind in the first half, and soon conceded three tries. They failed to protect the tackler and were turned over too often and this allowed the visitors to put considerable width on the ball. To be fair to the Reeds defence they worked hard to contain the onslaught which resulted in the tries proving difficult to convert. The pitch’s slope contributed to Economicals scrum being dominant and it was a surprise to see young and lean overcoming older and ‘wiser’. ELV-wise, setting scrums now involves getting the offside set at 5m, and extra couple of seconds for the front rows before the engagement. It was difficult to judge if they crept up as I was otherwise engaged with crocked feeds, binding and boring, unbound flankers and keeping scrum halves onside! Some thing to work on!
The side changed over at 27-0 to the visitors but the home side looked to make progress out of their claim that the slope was worth 50 points in the second half. A couple of good tries came early but increasingly they couldn’t breach the defence. I came close to awarding a penalty try when a floored black player caught a pass meant for a bullocking prop 7m out, but I couldn’t be certain it would have been a try given the number of defenders.
Soon after the new quick throwing law was used to great effect with the ball starting its flight a good 10-15m in touch, this added to general confusion within the oppo ranks!
In the final quarter the speed and fitness of Economicals took its toll on Reed and my good self, as pressure was turning territory into points. The penultimate try being a penalty try as the black centre was high-tackled 4m out, accidental but reckless so no yellow. Finally score 12-58 to the visitors.
no injuries or fighting!
My fitness seemed a little better,
I managed to keep a check on back-chat
ELV didn’t prove too problematic
Good feed back from both team.
I was bit quick on the whistle when good advantage might have developed
I wasn’t picking up all the handling in the rucks that Reeds seemed to witness.