Training day contest brings feast of tries
By Andrew Thomson
Wymondham RFC, 7th October 2018
Squad: Aiden Davies, Alfie Funnell, Ben Harvey, Cheu Hung Lo, Conrad Harrison, Giles Starling, Harry Thomson, Harry Trenerry, Isaac Birch (captain), James Ketteridge, Luke Clarke, Luke Hayhurst, Matt Elsby, Matt Pitcher, Oli Reek, Seth Ahier, Toba Oladapo.
Coaches: Neil Davies, Tony Garside, Jon Hood, Jim Starling, Andy Thomson.
Wymondham Spartans 64 - 17 Southwold
This is a hastily arranged training game after both the Spartans and Southwold ended up without their planned opposition for today. Southwold very decently volunteer to make the journey inland even though Wymondham haven’t moved into our swanky new pad yet. Both teams are short of a few regulars and the visitors are a mixed 15s & 16s squad but they’re here in numbers, the sun’s out and we’ve got a game.
It’s a scrappy and mildly flappy start as Southwold waste no time in sending in their big men but Toba breaks, we just keep a hold on the ball and Ben ships it out for Matt P to get the opener. It’s a day for the backs with a dry pitch and little wind and Wymondham’s handling is the difference in the opening exchanges. Matt gets his second a few minutes later after a deft off load from Harry Th with Ben again adding the extras (the first of many from the kicking tee).
Southwold come back at us, using big runners and a nifty off-loading game. We hit them hard - Matt P and Cheu Hung putting in big tackles - but we can’t stop Southwold blasting through the middle of a ruck and it gives them the go-forward to score. It’s an even-handed tussle for a time with the visitors threatening to level things but Wymondham are quick to pounce when Oli chop tackles one of their big men, we turn defence into instant attack and ship it wide for Alfie to scorch in at the corner.
Southwold again threaten, getting to within a couple of metres of the Wymondham line but Reeky, Cheuy and James won’t let them through and are rewarded with a knock on that snuffs out the attack. We’re quick on the counter and winger Matt E gets two on the trot after fine work again from Matt P and Harry T. Wymondham’s backs are linking well and James at 9 and Ben at 10 are serving up good quick ball despite decent Suffolk line speed.
We’re losing too many of the rucks though simply because we’re not hooking the ball back reliably and it again lets Southwold back into the game and back into our 22. We keep them out again initially but the pressure tells and they score just before the break making it 31-10.
It’s a warm day but there’s no let-up in pace. Luke C, playing his second game for us, makes a hard carry to get us on the front foot and he’s soon joined by Luke H on for his first game. Matt E completes his hattrick thanks to swift work orchestrated by Isaac getting the backs realigned to exploit a narrow Southwold defence. They try the same trick on us and have fast hand, but our defence is up to the challenge so they switch back to the big boys for some more forwards’ fun. Short powerful runs drive us back but Seth, Conrad and AJ pile in and Giles proves himself a very decent scrummy scooping up loose ball and firing it out to waiting hands.
Wymondham run in tries as Southwold tire - first Harry T then a fourth for Matt E and a cheeky score by James straight from the restart after a double chip and chase. Southwold out-ruck us right at the end and grab a well-deserved consolation try just before the whistle. The scoreline’s unjust as both teams have played fine rugby - and demonstrated some much-needed work-ons. All in all, an ideal training game!