Plenty of entertainment as Spartans host Hinckley and Holt
By Andrew Thomson
Wymondham RFC, 7th April 2019
Squad: Aiden Davies, Ben Harvey, Billy Evans (captain), Cheu Hung Lo, Conrad Harrison, Giles Starling, Harry Thomson, Harry Trenerry, Isaac Birch, Jack Burrill, James Ketteridge, Joel Holderness, Matt Elsby, Seth Ahier, Oli Reek, Toba Oladapo
Coaches: Neil Davies, Jon Hood, Jim Starling, Andy Thomson.
Wymondham Spartans 0 - 7 Hinckley
Hinckley are from Leicestershire, proper rugby country, and we haven’t crossed swords since Minis. Those were hotly contested encounters but today is more relaxed. Hinckley are on tour and clearly out to enjoy themselves; Holt have joined us to get a game on an otherwise dull and, as it turns out, rather wet Sunday.
The Spartans take on Hinckley in the opener and we’re under pressure from the start, locked in our own half and having to defend hard. Both sides struggle to keep hold of the wet ball so it’s a stop-start game with many a fumble. Hinckley try to break the deadlock by kicking through and win our lineout but Giles rips the ball and we’re off, spinning it wide but again it ends with a knock-on just as things start to look promising.
The conditions suit Hinckley’s game of short passes and hard carries, but they get little change out of the Spartan forwards. Cheu Hung demolishes their biggest carriers and all the Spartan forwards contest hard - what could have been a very one-sided battle is anything but. The backs use line speed effectively and throttle any attempts to open up the game and though the visitors’ kicks make in-roads, they don’t break our defence.
Half time comes at 20 minutes with no scores on the door and Bill kicks deep in the opening stages of the second spell to get us into the right part of the park. Hinckley try to maul it from the line out but Trenners wriggles through and snares their ball carrier. Possession’s back with us - but only briefly. Hinckley win it back at the ruck but then lose it as tackles from Seth and James keep them in check and James rips the ball.
Typically, just as we’re beginning to wrestle a decent foothold in the game Hinckley get the score - a short and perfectly judged line from the hooker opens up the way to our tryline and though Toba gets him down it’s wet enough to slide over. It’s a fine score by the visitors and duly celebrated in proper touring style.
The game is opening up now and Joel at full back catches and counters, feeding Isaac who gets to within five metres. We can’t quite make it but go again, winning a penalty and when our way is blocked Ben chips through again getting us within touching distance of their line.
In the end we run out of time and Hinckley have the win. The conditions have suited them but they’ve been a thoroughly impressive operation with excellent lineout skills, well-practised drills and a cool head in defence. The Spartans have been none too shabby either, gritty and determined up front and though the backs couldn’t quite get the touch paper lit, they never gave up trying.
Wymondham 36 - 5 Holt
Holt played Hinckley after us - and scored two tries against them before being overtaken - so the Owls come into this game with flagging energy levels. Their cause isn’t helped by the rain stopping so the Spartans seize the chance to get back to their scoring ways. Oli opens the account after good work at the line out and some decent off-loads in Holt’s red zone. Conrad quickly adds another when Matt fields Holt’s penalty and breaks with Isaac taking it on and brilliantly gathering his own chip through.
The tries come quickly - Trenners again holds up Holt’s maul and Bill crashes through with the resulting possession. The next one’s a peach: Conrad catches the restart, steps and breaks, feeding Isaac who’s again running crucial support lines. He crosses but hands the ball to birthday boy Jack to dot it down for the score - which Jack then celebrate by adding the conversion.
The Spartans are in full cry now and Holt are losing players to injuries. Bill scores again and then Toba catches and breaks delivering a beaut of a pass to set up Isaac to cross. Holt get a deserved consolation in the corner but by this stage both teams are down to 13 players so it’s time to call it a day.
No Men of the Match today but a big doff of the cap to the forwards for their hard work against Hinckley - a very fine performance against powerful opposition. Our thanks to both Holt and Hinckley for a thoroughly enjoyable and sporting morning’s rugby!