So then, given that Craig has told you the outcome, it just falls on me to tell you the story of how we got there.
A relatively sensible 10am arrival after a short hop up the M1 to Wellingborough RFC for our East Midlands Cup tie.
Weather was murky damp and a bit misty. The pitch was a bit soft underfoot but not bad enough to hinder running rugby.
The boys have been working a lot in recent training sessions on a specific type of defence – the blitz – which basically means everyone rushes up when the ball is available and puts pressure on the opposition. It was this style of play that set the tone for the entire match. Our flankers and backs were in the faces of the Wellingborough lads so quickly that we didn’t give them a chance to play.
It was from this aggressive defence strategy that we scored our first points.
A fly hack and chase through from Ross allowed him to touch down in wide out on the left, just inside the 15m line to put the A’s 5-0 up. Fynn won the cross bar challenge with the conversion to keep the score 5-0.
Continued “in your face” defence effectively neutralised the Wellingborough attacking options and further pressure resulted in a Wellingborough error, a pass back into the goal area that didn’t go to hand . . . not a Wellingborough one anyway. Ross again showed good awareness and pace to get to the ball and touch down just before it went dead.
The conversion was nicely in front of the posts and Fynn took the points to put us 12-0 up.
For the rest of the half we were camped firmly in the opposition half and it was a shame we were not able to put more points on the board despite the sustained pressure. Credit to Wellingborough for their courage in defence.
Into the second half the pressure continued and the tries started to flow. Scores from Bartek, Liam and Lui all showed a combination of pace, strong direct running and use of space created by others. Ross’s hat-trick try should obviously have resulted in the purchase of a round from Chris Denton, I guess he is waiting for Friday to make sure everyone gets a drink . . . Very generous.
The final word on the try front goes to Jake, following the tidying up of a kick over the top by Alex, a pass inside the 22 only gave Jake the short 85m yard sprint to the line pursued by the Wellingborough pace man to score under the posts and resulted in a well-earned lie down in the goal area.
Alex converted 2 of the tries and this led to the final score of 41-0
At one point in the second half I heard one of their players telling his teammates that the game may be gone but they must score at least one try to reflect their effort.
It was entirely to our credit that Wellingborough didn’t cross the whitewash and holding them to zero sent a strong message.
After the first half and at the end of the game the referee was very complimentary of the skill levels we showed. He said we did the basics really well. As we all know doing the basics really well tends to end up with a good result.
As the team themselves summed up at the end of the match, the areas of strength were –defensive pressure, support, powerful running and decision making was pretty good as was communication. Obviously all of them can always be better!
Areas that they weren’t happy with and felt they could improve included tackling low, still too many missed opportunities to stop players by taking their legs and that the scrum was not the all-conquering beast it usually is.
This was by no means the perfect performance but the fitness, effort and team play is all getting better game by game, perfect timing as we continue on our run of back to back games.
I know myself and the coaches all felt very proud of the effort today and obviously pleased by the result.
So, onwards to Bedford. . . . . .