U15s v Lydney
Clifton put Lydney to the sword
We earned ourselves a rematch with Old Patesians in the final of the Gloucester Cup with a fine 29-5 win away from home at Lydney.
Our five tries to one victory gave us the same winning margin as Lydney’s win over us at Clifton two years ago in this cup (27-3).
But revenge wasn’t the point. No one even mentioned it. It was only my son who spotted that coincidence on Sunday night.
In fact nine players out of our squad of 22 weren’t even there for that under-13s match, showing what a positive impact the ‘newcomers’ have had.
The two games were similar in that there was nothing much between the teams until after half-time.
In this latest encounter the first half was a real arm wrestle with Lydney forwards repeatedly running onto short balls close to the ruck – a similar tactic to Chippenham’s who had had some success against us.
Drawing on that experience our forwards put in their best defensive performance of the season, with big hits preventing their sizeable pack getting over the gain line.
The first of our five tries came from Dom, who ran in from 20m after Matt drove into his opposite number and popped the ball off.
Elliot’s conversion made it 7-0 which was how it remained until half-time - thanks to a great tryline stand by our forwards.
Cliché moment – you have to earn the right to go wide.
And so we did. A series of powerful scrums by us eventually yielded an Ollie hook against the head.
We spun the ball down the back line, where we were starting to look more and more threatening, and Ashe raced over to make it 12-0.
Until this point Lydney’s quality centres were managing to contain Matt and Sam C. But the game was opening up as tiredness began to creep in and Sam C took full advantage to score the first of his two tries after more good handling from our backs. 17-0.
Lydney weren’t going to go down without a fight, though. And their pack drove over from a lineout close to our line, giving them a glimmer of hope at 17-5.
This was a crucial time with Lydney threatening to get within a single score and we once more found ourselves on the defensive. But a great maul from our forwards earned us a scrum near our tryline.
Then our pace asserted itself as Matt counterattacked from under our posts and carried the ball beyond the 20m line. Sam C took it on and raced away from all their cover defence from 70m out to ensure the win.
More pressure from us led to George breaking through their line from about 20m out to score under the sticks. Elliot’s conversion made the final score 29-5.
An exceptional all-round performance from every member of the 22-man squad.
I don't usually add anything to Hamish's excellent reports, but this time I will because it was such a good performance. Lydney are a good, tough side capable of beating anyone and this season they have swept all before them. To go to their ground and earn such a comprehensive victory was therefore a great achievement. Our tackling around the ruck and in midfield was outstanding and stifled their main attacking threat. With our defence holding firm, in attack we were devastating. Our forwards steadily took control and our backs looked dangerous whenever they got the ball. This team does not rely on any one outstanding player, but has pace to burn across the backline, and any team thinking they can take us on the outside better have a plan B. We also showed that we have options on the bench which enable us to change the shape of the team and the way in which we play if we want or need to. This was the first time in months that we have been at anywhere near full strength, and if we can stay that way it will take a truly exceptional team to beat us.