U18's back to winning ways
By Rich Einchcomb
U18's come out on top
The Academy U18’s first home game of 2019 saw them welcome Old Brentwoods Colts to the Onion Bowl for what would be the 1st of 3 meetings between these sides scheduled for this year and so with the icy ground suitably thawed, Old Brentwoods got the game underway.
A safe catch by Dan C, off-loaded to Archie D & the home team set about making ground. The Old Brentwoods defensive line was up quick and after a succession of hard hits & well contested rucks, Basildon attempted to get the ball moving. Good initial work saw play up to just over half-way but strong work by the Old B’s number 8 resulted in the ball being turned over & quickly shipped through the hands to the wing. Strong running had the away team 5m from the Basildon try line but excellent defensive pressure led to the ball being dropped & spotting an opportunity, Jack A picked up & set off up the wing. Looking like he would go all the way, good covering by the Old B’s full back saw Jack & the ball in touch.
Line-out ball won by the away team but good work from Brandon K saw the ball back on the Basildon side & moved quickly through the hands to Max B on the opposite wing. Max carried hard into contact & spotting a mismatch on the far side, the ball went through the hands again. Strong carrying & ball retention by Jamie H & Alfie O moved play up to within 10m & quick ruck ball found Ethan R running an excellent line, through a couple of tackles & under the posts for the 1st try of the game in the 15th min. Conversion missed, 5-0 to Basildon.
Old B’s restarted & the close nature of the game continued. Both sides were hitting hard & fast & no one team was dominating. Following another period of cancelling each other out, Alex E carried hard into the opposition’s half & although tackled well, manage to present the ball to Travis K who quickly moved it along the line. Strong running by TJ & ball recycled again finding Sam S charging through tackles. Held up eventually but quick ball & good support saw the ball through the hands again to Jack W in the 22nd min who scored in the corner. Extra’s missed, 10-0 to Basildon.
Once again, the away team restarted & the ball was safely gathered in by Jamie H. Decent ground made but the Old B’s defence was making it difficult for Basildon. Around 5 mins of stalemate was ended with strong work around the breakdown by Tyler P forcing Old B’s to spill the ball just inside their 22. Dan C picked up well off the ground & with surprisingly slick footwork ran hard through 3 tackle attempts to score under the posts. Conversion kicked by Alex K & with 28 mins gone, Basildon lead 17-0.
With possession regained following the restart, the home side were now beginning to dominate and this was demonstrated just a few minutes later when an attempted clearance kick was pouched by Henry M & he ran hard & direct back into the opposition half. Ball secured, the forwards got to work with the pick & go. First Archie D & Victor C, and then Alfie O & Kurtlan E made great strides towards the Old B’s try line. Ball secured again & spun through the hands to Max B on the left wing, who stepped inside & scored Basildon’s 4th try. Extra’s added again by Alex K & Basildon now lead 24-0.
The restart kick was again safely caught by Dan C who immediately carried hard up to half-way where he off-loaded to the supporting Victor C. More direct running saw play up to around the Old B’s 22m line but unfortunately the ball was knocked on. At the resulting scrum in the 34th min, Basildon’s pack pushed strongly forcing their opponent’s front row to stand up. Penalty to Basildon, tapped quickly to Brandon K who carried hard before off-loading to Alex E & Alex stepped inside 2 defenders to score under the posts. Conversion successfully kicked by Alex K & the half comes to a close with the score Basildon 31 Old Brentwoods 0.
With their coaches words of wisdom ringing in their ears about the referee & “let’s win the 2nd half”, the visitors started the 2nd period with renewed determination. Early pressure had the home team struggling to exit their 22. For the next 5 mins, Old B’s chased, harried & spoiled all attempts to play & were rewarded in the 40th min when strong carrying from the large prop sucked in too many Basildon defenders, space created & ball off-loaded & Old B’s had their 1st score of the game. Conversion was missed & score now 31-5.
More strong words under the posts, this time from the home side & Basildon restarted looking to reassert themselves. A good chase & pressure on the catcher had the visitors going backwards & excellent joined up defending sees Old B’s struggling to clear. This continued for the next few mins leading to a knock-on, Basildon ball. Scrum ball won, Brandon K picked up from 8 & powered towards the try line but was again stopped illegally & following a couple more attempts at crashing over, the visitors were penalised again. This time the home team were smarter, tapping & throwing a long pass out wide to Jamie H in space who scored in the corner. Conversion missed, 36-5 to Basildon.
Surely the Old B’s heads would now drop? Wrong! Credit where it’s due, the visitors came storming back & helped possibly by individual mistakes & perhaps Basildon thinking the game was safe, went on to score 2 converted tries in the space of 5 mins! And so we entered the final 15 mins with the score at 36-19 to Basildon.
Once again, raised voices under the posts. How would the home team react? Was the big comeback on?
The game restarted with the Basildon kick dropping right onto the 10m line & a good chase & pressure led to them regaining possession. A series of strong carries & quick ball from the breakdown allowed Basildon to regain some form of control & slowly but surely, they began to dominate again. For the next 5 mins or so, the home side moved the ball smartly from side to side, probing for the opening & were rewarded for their patience in the 60th min when awarded a penalty for yet another high tackle around 15m out. A quick tap & with the visitors defence not set, the ball went quickly through the hands for Henry M to score close to the corner. Conversion unsuccessful, score now 41-19.
Old B’s restarted with a kick that fell short of the 10m line & from the resulting scrum, the home team were again on the attack. The ball was carried up by Ethan R & quick ball was recycled. Once again hard running by Sam S took play deep into the visitors red zone where they conceded another penalty in the 63rd min. A quick tap to Archie D, who made good ground into contact & popped the ball off to Dan C. Again, into contact & quick recycled ball was spun through the hands out to Henry M who in almost a carbon copy of his 1st, scored his 2nd & Basildon’s 8th try of the game. Conversion was missed again so the score was now 46-19.
The visitors restarted & with Basildon once again in possession, the game looked like it was done. The home side continued to play with energy & pace & Old B’s became more & more frustrated, leading to a string of penalties awarded against them. The home team pushed for another score with a strong run by Josh B up the left wing. Briefly held up, Josh off-loaded to Victor C who made good ground & popped the ball off to Ethan R, who in turn took play up to within 5m of the visitors try line. A rather messy breakdown ensued with Old B’s fighting hard to repel the green & white surge, but unfortunately they were penalised by the referee for going off feet & Basildon were awarded a penalty try. Score now 53-19 to Basildon with around 1 min left to play.
There was just time for Archie D to gather the restart & off-load to Max B before yet another high, swinging arm type tackle came in, resulting in the 2 teams getting to know each other better & the referee bringing the game to an end!
A much improved performance from the squad & big thanks to Tom E for refereeing.
We look forward to welcoming Old Brentwoods back for the U18 Essex Waterfall Cup semi-final on 3rd February.
Final Score: Basildon 53 Old Brentwoods 19
Basildon RFC Academy U18’s: S. Slim, A. O’Toole, T. Leagas, D. Cantwell, J. Hall, A. Davies, A. Einchcomb, B. Kirkum, T. King, J. Breen, M. Bohea, T. Potts, E. Rudgley, J. Anderson, H. Mathieson, A. Keable, K. Eplett, V. Che, J. Watford
Special mention for A&B Taxis, Quill Construction, Delphi Derivatives, Spectrum, More Light Glass, Edison Motor, Instant Living Space, Beez Neez, Cymba & Greene King, and various club members at Basildon RFC. Thank you for your continued support of the Academy.