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Woodford 29 v Cheshunt 14
On a windy Sunday morning Woodford took on Cheshunt team from the Herts/Middlesex league; the game played on a surprisingly good surface at Woodford’s Roding Lane pitch.
From the kick off the wind showed it was going to be issue as the kick off drifted into touch. From the scrum restart Woodford showed their intent with a powerful and sold drive from the front five of Mick Chamberlain, William Tindall, Callum Levy, Max Venditti and Euan Fay. Woodford took the initiative and moved the ball quickly down the back line brushing aside the opposition.
Further Woodford pressure led to the opening try as a cross field kick by Alex Marks was cleanly collected by Michael Batt on the wing. With still some work to do Batt burst through the defence to cross over the try line. The conditions were always likely to prove difficult for kicking and the conversion drifted beyond the posts, 5 – 0 to Woodford.
The time to strike back is just after a score and as Woodford concentration wandered Cheshunt took an opportunity to get into the Woodford half. A promising break was halted by solid tacking from Chamberlain and Fay.
The Woodford scrum was in form and dominated an opposition that had some big units but were under the cosh. Tindall continued his good hooking form securing clean ball for Woodford.
A number of promising positions were compromised as Woodford came up offside too often. The penalty count increased against the home team and Woodford had to adjust their approach and temper their enthusiasm.
The power of the pack saw Woodford drive to the line with the back row of Rhys Philips, William Curness and Jed West only to be thwarted by the goalpost.
The strong wind made handling difficult as Woodford were too ambitious and produced too many errors. Scrum half Tom Mead kept a steady stream of ball to the backs but the continued pressure by Woodford in the rucking and mauling could not be translated into points.
A switch to the wing by Will Carey nearly paid dividends but solid tackling by Cheshunt contained the threat. On the other wing AJ Hamilton had made a number of strong runs and he was rewarded by a move that saw him cross the line for the second try, which was converted by Marks, 12 - 0.
Woodford continued to dominate and the play rarely moved out of the Cheshunt 22. However, for all the possession Woodford were not clinical enough in the final move and opportunities were missed to add to the score.
As the half moved on Woodford continued to press and the rewards came with Will Curness finishing of an interchange of passes between himself and Dan Farrelly that moved the ball swiftly and aggressively to cross the line on the right wing. Marks converted, 19 - 0.
After the restart a jinking run by Haaris Sohoye saw him burst through the Cheshunt defence for another try to Woodford. The missed conversion saw the half come to an end with Woodford sitting on a comfortable lead, 24 - 0.
With a large squad available for selection Woodford made wholesale changes for the second half.
The Woodford dominance continued with the new look team working well together. A swift Woodford attack saw the backs pass well forcing the ball out to the wing to Tom Fitzpatrick. He was well tackled as he tried to go outside his man but made the ball available. Woodford retained possession and continued the forward motion. Victor Chujor took the ball again and his driving run saw an offload to Jamie Ali who scampered in for a try, 29 - 0.
Woodford were confident with the ball and were able to move it quickly with the new centre partnership of Matt Bastick and Tari Branson combining well. The Cheshunt defence was well organised and Woodford could not find many openings.
The pack kept up the Woodford dominance in that area with Taylor Wilkins, Kyle Murray and Zac Cannon never taking a step backwards, and securing some good strikes against the head to prove their dominance. Fillip Goralczyk, James Chance and Max Vendetti continued to make driving runs that probed the Cheshunt defence but were continually rebuffed by some good tackling. A burst by Zac Cannon along the line nearly saw the defence breached.
As the half progressed Cheshunt began to gain in confidence and the home team began to tire. However this brought out the solid defensive skills of Woodford, tackles by Andrew Whiting, Sean Moore, Batt and Bailey Francis saw them repulse the attackers.
However the game was now being played in the Woodford half and the tiring pack was beginning to be slow to the breakdown and gaps were appearing in the defensive line of the backs. Cheshunt saw a gap and crossed the line for a try, which was converted.
As time began to run out a quick ball from a Cheshunt ruck saw an overlap develop and the last action was for a try to the away team, which was converted.
Cheshunt provided a spirited side that was tenacious and was rewarded with two good tries but the overall game went to Woodford.
Man of Match: First half: Callum Levy, Second half: Zac Cannon