Stowmarket 51 14 Basildon
By Elliott Keefe
Stowmarket storm to win over Basildon
Stowmarket ran out convincing winners against bottom side Basildon on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Multiple first-half tries for Stowmarket gave them a 34-7 half-time lead.
There was to be no Scotland Six Nations-inspired comeback for Basildon.
But a further try for Basildon and a long period of attack on the Stowmarket tryline made the game more worthwhile and something to work on for next week.
Having travelled with a scratch side, Basildon’s only sour note of the day was losing Jim Harman to a swollen Knee late in the second half.
As mentioned, Basildon named a brand new front row (Dewey, Payne and Harman), selected James at second row, Jones at flanker, Cushicieri at centre and Groves at Full Back. Shirmer and J Chaplin were named on the bench.
The game set off at a frantic pace with Basildon happy to place from anywhere. Stowmarket forced an error from Basildon and then gained a penalty which the Stowmarket fly half slotted over.
Shortly after the restart Sam Ridley was able to charge down the fly-half and race on from 40 yards.
From there on Stowmarket kicked into life and seemed to make metres from every phase play. All of their forwards could carry, in particular their loose head, stocky second row and bulky flanker. They also linked well with their backs who could carry through the middle and out wide.
Stowmarket’s first try was from their stocky winger who beat his opposite winger and collected his own kick through to dot down in the corner.
Stowmarket scored twice through their winger with red hair like the fires of hell, the first he kicked past our full back and collected and for the second he glided past him.
Their impressive scrum half was next to score, he sniped well from a ruck in the twenty two and carried two Basildon defenders with him over the line. Unfortunately this was his last involvement in the game as he was injured in the process of scoring.
Basildon spoke positively at half time but Stowmarket scored twice in quick succession.
Basildon then mounted their most sustained period of attack. Making their way into the Stowmarket 22 with some hard lines from the centres and classic pick and go from the forwards they were awarded several penalties, opting to tap and go they eventually found their way over the line.
In this time the referee ruled out two tries. During several phases of play, Basildon stormed into the Stowmarket 22 and the ball was swept right to left, with Jack Longhurst finding Levi Causton on the wing and in plenty of space. Unfortunately the try was ruled out for a forward pass.
The second was from a scrum on the Stowmarket five metre line. The pack managed to shove Stowmarket’s over their try line and whilst Elliott Keefe was laying over the try line with the ball the referee blew his whistle for another Basildon penalty.
Stowmarket took control of the remaining 15 minutes and scored at the death, their winger getting his hat trick, with the easiest of the three. From a scrum on Basildon’s 5 metre line, their replacement 8 went blind and fed the speedster, who stepped inside and then out to dot down in the corner.
The Stowmarket captain said after the game that the score didn’t reflect what happened on the pitch. Whilst both teams never gave up, with much velocity at the breakdown and hard tackling throughout, Stowmarket made ground too easily and often dazzled.
The players that took to the field for Basildon can take immense pride in their performance. The club is decimated by injuries and the team was changing up to an hour and a half before kick off. Kieran Payne played with the flu and had to be replaced at half time just before passing out.
Mike James was a constant menace at the breakdown and brought some much needed grit to the pack. Many of the opposition recognized Mike and he thoroughly enjoyed the many battles they had.
Rob Jones, playing his first game this year, put in some thunderous hits in defence.
Sam Ridley varied his game wonderfully and used Mark Cushiceri and Jack Longhurst to full effect.
Robin Groves excelled as a scared goat at Full Back. A thankless task that he passed wonderfully.
Basildon: Groves, Causton, Longhurst, Cushiceri, Sargant, Ridley, Gounden; Dewey, Payne, Harman, Stewart, James, Jones, Einchcomb, Keefe(capt).
Replacements: Bramley, J Chaplin, Shirmer.
Dinner - Sweet and Sour Chicken. 7/10.
Next match - 30/03 v Norwich.
Outstanding award for debut no song, debut no beer, debut no naked mile - J Shirmer.
Best Barman and lunchbox- Jack Longhurst.
Breakout star - Pedigree Dentastix.
Best discovery - Passing round a block of Mature cheddar.