Woodford 66 - 7 Basildon
By Elliott Keefe
Ruthless Woodford punish Basildon on final day
Woodford celebrated their promotion in style by winning at home on the last game of the season against bottom side Basildon.
Woodford won promotion to London 1 North whilst Basildon have been relegated to London 3, with the Essex league the likelihood.
Basildon lost hooker Jamie Hulse early in the game to concussion with a prop stepping in to hook at scrums and number 8, Elliott Keefe, throwing at lineouts.
Free-flowing Woodford ran in Several tries, with equally as man different scorers.
Woodford attacked Basildon from the very start by winning possession from their own kick off. Woodford were relentless in their attack and finally their outside centre straightened and cut through the Basildon defence to dot down.
Woodford again ran from the kick off and after several phases Basildon could not hold them out any longer. Another 7 points.
Woodford managed to exert huge pressure in the scrums and at several scrum infringements on the try line, the referee warned the Basildon captain that the next one would be a penalty try and a yellow card. Nobody knows what the captain said but it was provocative, it got the pack going. They were able to hold them at the scrums.
But soon after Woodford hit back quickly with another flowing try. It became apparent that their inside centre controlled the game with nice touches but a lot of support runners for him to pick a pass to.
Basildon’s plight this season has been their ability to regain and retain possession. This was evident again today. Basildon didn’t have any possession and when they did they either spilled the ball or were turned over.
Everyone’s favourite club, Woodford, at this point took to using Roman numerals to show the score. Eagle-eyed fans would have noticed a few errors with the numerals used.
Woodford continued to attack at will and their tactic of using their back row to run into the midfield and then putting their centre into space worked very well against a tired and porous Basildon defence.
Special mention must go to the Woodford 7 and 8 who were everywhere and very good on the ball. Their front row carried well and were without doubt the best 3 that Basildon had played all year. Their 12 was the standout player and along with the 13, really teased their opposite numbers. The back three carried well.
Woodford added to their total with two quick tries in the second half. Both wonderful, Woodford ran from their own half and showed great support lines to score. Woodford were aided in these tries by a Basildon team who simply couldn’t keep up with Woodford.
Soon after the Woodford fullback cut through the team and across the pitch to go over and then the Woodford 9 was able to snipe over for a well deserved try.
By this time, injury and fatigue had taken it’s toll on Basildon, both Brad Long and Jared Gounden had departed for Mark Cushiceri and Zak Bainbridge respectively.
Basildon to their credit started to have more possession as the game wore on and after several penalties in the Woodford 22, Sam Ridley was able to snipe over from scrum half.
Woodford finished the game with a try.
Congratulations to the league winners and we at Basildon wish them the very best next year.
Basildon showed great teamwork during the game. During a season in which many players and people have deserted the team, the coach and players left can hold their heads high. They have had a torrid season but have remained united.
Credit must go to Mark Cushiceri who again showed that at 107 he can still run pretty hard. Richard Heywood constantly does more than any prop in the league and Jake Knowles runs himself into the ground. Jared Gounden was tenacious and Sam Ridley worked tirelessly throughout.
Thank you to the supporters and players in the 2s and 3s who came to support us.
Basildon head coach/DOR/forwards coach/cook/something with trains Mark Cushiceri:
"I love Woodford and don’t you dare make me go home, I’m staying here and I don’t want to go anywhere else so get back in the car with the kids and go home, no wait, hold up”.
Basildon : Barham, Sargant, Longhurst, Long, Williams, Ridley, Gousten; Dewey, Hulse, Heywood, Walton, James, Knowles, Einchcomb, Keefe.
Replacements : Bramley, Bainbridge, Cushiceri.
Special mentions - Woodford player Jake Herga and their coach/chairman (can’t remember) for joining us in the changing room.
Dinner - Chicken Curry - 1 eaten, by T Dewey.
Referee watch - controlled the game wonderfully with much compassion and professionalism.
Medical advice from R Groves - when you are 7 and you suffer with Asthma always ensure you carry the essential inhaler.
Trips to the scoreboard naked - M Cushiceri and M James.
Best drink - Disaronno Sour, served with crushed ice and sliced lemon.
Best food - Cheese and biscuits.
Best outfit - Taylor Bramley’s gaming headgear.