U16's into Essex Cup Final
By Rich Einchcomb
U16's power past Chelmsford & into final
And so semi-final day arrived & with the rain finally relenting, what was expected to be the Academy U16’s toughest game so far got underway with our visitors Chelmsford kicking with the wind.
With ball safely pouched by Sean O, the home side set about getting their game going but were met with a fast, hard & determined defensive line. Following a few minutes of to & fro and handling errors, Basildon knocked on & the resulting scrum surprisingly saw the home pack shoved back so far that the referee had no choice but to award a penalty to the visitors just inside the Basildon half. Chelmsford opted to go for the posts but the kick flew wide of the posts & dead.
So, drop out from the 22m line & another error results in another penalty to the visitors for being off-side. This time Chelmsford kick to touch around 15m from the home try line but superb work at the lineout by Travis S sees the ball back on the Basildon side & quickly moved to Tom J who kicked clear to touch. Lineout ball secured by the visitors but the scrappy start to the game continued with them holding on in the tackle, and a penalty to Basildon. A quick tap & strong running from Taylor B, and slick passing saw play up to the Chelmsford 22m line where the home side were awarded another penalty. Tom J kicked to touch on the visitors 10m line & following good work at the lineout, Basildon knocked on again! A strong scrum & quick thinking saw the Chelmsford number 8 break from the base & carry up to half-way but isolated from his support, great work from Georgie A turned the ball over & it was quickly moved through the hands to Tayla C on the right wing who ran through to score in the 11th min. Converted by Travis S, 7-0 to Basildon.
The restart was safely caught by Kyan T & good handling saw ground made up the left. The Chelmsford tackler was penalised for not releasing & Tom J once again kicked the penalty to touch, but unfortunately the home side messed up the lineout & Chelmsford were able to clear. The next 10 mins or so saw the game seemingly descending into a war of attrition, with both sides making mistakes & no one able to dominate. In the 27th min the ball found its way out to Tayla C again on the wing running hard but he was eventually ushered into touch 10m inside the Chelmsford half. Once again Travis S nicked the lineout ball & it was passed inside to Taylor P running hard. Tackled and the ball was quickly recycled & passed through the hands out wide to left to Finley R-C, who evaded the tackler & scored in the corner. The conversion was missed this time so score was now 12-0 to Basildon.
The remainder of the 1st half saw Chelmsford fighting hard to get a foothold in the game but there was no further scoring so the half ended with Basildon 12-0 up.
Basildon now had the benefit of the wind & from the restart were immediately on the front foot. A strong chase saw the ball turned over by Sean O & slipped to Travis S who broke a couple of tackle attempts to power from the visitors 10m line through to score a fine individual try under the posts. Successfully converting his own try, 19-0 to Basildon.
Early success in the 2nd period & the green & white machine was beginning to click into gear. From the restart, good work from the forwards saw the ball quickly recycled & moved through the hands to Finley R-C on the wing. Strong running & suddenly Basildon were on the visitors 22m line, but a determined defensive effort from the visitors stopped the move in its tracks. Once more the ball was recycled & popped off to the hard-running Frank W who made ground up to 5m out. Another fierce tackle held Frank up but not before he freed his hands & shipped the ball to the supporting Omar A who looked certain to score under the posts………. right up to the point that he knocked on!
Scrum ball won, the Chelmsford fly-half was able to kick clear to touch around the 22m mark. The home side won the lineout cleanly but very good defending resulted in a scramble for the ball on the floor. The home side managed to hack the loose ball clear up to the Basildon 22m line where it was picked up by Finley R-C, who set off up his wing, evaded 3 defenders & scored in the corner. Conversion missed, score now 24-0 to Basildon.
At this point, everyone watching may have been guilty of thinking this game was won already but as is usually the case against good teams, Chelmsford restarted determined to have a say in this game. Every attempt to move the ball was met by the visitors fast defensive line, forcing the home side backwards at times & pressuring them into mistakes. From one such mistake, the visitors had the put-in at a scrum but a fantastic shove by the Basildon pack resulted in a penalty to the home side on Chelmsford’s 10m line. the decision was taken to go for the points but unfortunately, the kick from Travis S fell just short.
So, 22m drop-out for the visitors but they decide to try & run the ball out of their 22. Basildon reacted quickly & with no ground made, Chelmsford are forced to kick for touch. With lineout ball secured & maul formed, the ball was rumbled up to around 10m out but once again good defending saw the ball carrier on the floor & holding onto the ball, resulting in a penalty to the visitors. Touch found again around their own 22m line, Chelmsford won the lineout ball but pressure from the home side forced them backwards & they knocked on. The resulting scrum made no ground but the ball was at Frank W’s feet & he picked up & attempted to dart up the blind side. Tackled well close to the visitors try line, the ball was secured at the break down & spotting an opportunity, was picked up by Taylor B who drove hard & low over the line to score Basildon’s 5th try of the game. Conversion unsuccessful & score now 29-0.
53 minutes gone & surely the boys had done enough? Wrong! Chelmsford restarted with a kick deep into the Basildon 22. Caught by Louis B, strong carrying saw ground made & the ball was shipped to Tom J who full of confidence, spotted the opportunity for the cross-field kick pass to Finley R-C on the wing. Unfortunately, Finley was judged to have been in front of the kicker & Chelmsford were awarded a penalty around half-way. Taken quickly & with the Basildon defence not quite ready, the visitors made good ground up to within 10m of the home teams try line. Spotting space in behind, the ball was kicked through but good covering by Tayla C saw the danger averted, but not for long. A fairly straightforward exit went badly wrong, Basildon knocked-on & the visitors had a scrum 5m out. The ball flew through the scrum to the feet of the Chelmsford No.8, was quickly fired out wide & the left winger went over for the try. The conversion attempt went wide & the score was now 29-5 to Basildon.
Was this the start of the big comeback? How would the home side react? We wouldn’t have long to wait to find out. Chelmsford suddenly had their tails up but good pressure following the restart had the visitors knocking on. Scrum ball won & moved out to Sean O who was well tackled but the tackler failed to release & so Basildon were awarded a penalty. Opting for the quick tap & attempts to move the ball out wide were met with fierce defence, causing the home side to knock on again & from the resulting scrum Chelmsford kicked clear & to touch around their 22m line. With the throw to the lineout judged as not straight, the visitors were handed another chance to clear but disruption to the scrum caused scrappy possession & the home side turned the ball over. Quickly moved through the hands, the ball came to Tom J who ran hard towards the line but was stopped well by another good tackle. Good work at the break down saw the ball recycled quickly & popped off to Omar A who went over to score. Converted by Travis S & with 65 mins gone, Basildon now lead 36-5.
With confidence restored & little time left for their opponents to react, the home side stepped on the gas again. The restart was well caught by Tyrese M & supported by fellow forwards Georgie A & Rhys K, ground was made again. Taking their time & going through the phases, Basildon finally showed the form that had got them to this stage of the competition, culminating in slick handling of the ball out to Tayla C on the wing. Running hard as usual, Tayla beat 3 defenders & scored Basildon’s 7th try of the game in the 67th min. Converted again by Travis S, score now 43-5.
With very little left on the clock, Chelmsford restarted the game kicking to around the Basildon 22m line, but a fumble led to a scrum for the visitors. Ball in and a big push by the home pack saw the Chelmsford forwards marched back and the referee took this opportunity to blow the whistle for full time.
Final score Basildon 43 – Chelmsford 5
A slightly disjointed performance overall from the boys but credit to Chelmsford, who never gave up & kept fighting until the end.
Some interesting games to come but we now have the Essex 1 Cup Final v Upminster to look forward on 28th April.
Basildon RFC Academy U16’s: F. Wright, G. Acraman, L. Batman, K. Tasker, T. Singleton, S. Owers, R. King, T. Barnes, M. Fuller, T. Jones, F. Rix-Clancy, T. Purdy, O. Amran, T. Cox, G. Fouche, T. Mano, A. Samuels, M. Heath
Once again a word of thanks to: 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 for your continued support of the Academy