U15s Friendly Game, Saturday 1 March 2014

Woodford 32 - 29 Davenant Foundation School

Robert Yiannakou plays rugby for his school and Woodford RFC. He thought it would be good for the two teams to play each other. Unfortunately Robert could not play as he recently broke his collar bone but was there to cheer on both sides in an open and friendly game.

Woodford came out strongly and chased up their kick off. The Woodford pack quickly gained control of the ball and Sean Moore got he backs going with Jamie Ali making good progress down the right wing. The play moved towards the centre of the pitch before clean ball to Woodford saw Moore link with Euan Fay who drove over for the first score of the game, 5 – 0 to Woodford.

Davenant responded splendidly and rocked Woodford with some direct attacks. Both sides were putting in good tackles to stop attacks but gradually Davenant were finding gaps in the Woodford defence. Woodford did not seem to be fully focussed on the game and did not make the most of some good possession.

The Davenant fly half was causing Woodford problems and when he slipped a tackle he found enough space to round a couple of players and score under the posts, 5 – 7.

Woodford put some sustained phases of play together with Zac Cannon and Toby Harrison carrying well in to the Davenant 22. A Woodford mistake allowed the Davenant winger a bit of space and rounding the outstretched arms of tacklers and out pacing the cover defence Woodford found themselves 5 – 12 down.

Woodford regrouped and launched another series of attacks but Davenant held firm. The Woodford pack were beginning to gain the upper hand in the scrums with the back row of Arun Vaid, Jed West and Filip Goralczk causing Davenant a few problems. However it was Davenant that made the most of the ball they won. Another searing break from within their own 22 was finished off with a try making the score 5 – 17.

Woodford lost full back Anthony Hamilton with a suspected fracture to his leg. On came James Chance in to the back row. The backs were re-sorted with West as cover in the centre.

Woodford reduced the number of mistakes and started to play some flowing rugby. Dan Farrelly made several strong runs supported by Alex Marks and Matt Bastick. With props Mick Chamberlain and Taylor Wilkins driving in the tight Woodford were rewarded when Farrelly linked in to a backs move, cut inside and scored, 10 -17.

Woodford started the second half in a totally different frame of mind. Fay caught the kick off and ran at the heart of the Davenant team. Quickly recycled ball saw Wilkins charge up the left before passing inside to Cannon. Tom Fitzpatrick was getting more involved as the whole Woodford team worked together to create opportunities.

In a purple patch of fifteen minutes Woodford displayed the level of skills they had been hiding in the first half. The ball went to hand, players supported in the right place and Woodford scored three tries in quick succession. The first by Marks as he joined back in to a move on the right, 15 – 17. The second by Farrelly finishing off a whole team effort, converted by Marks 22- 17 and finally a break by West unselfishly given to a supporting Fitzpatrick to touch down in the corner, 27 – 17.

Rather than finishing strongly Woodford let Davenant force their way back in to the game. Davenant took full advantage of some weak Woodford tackles to drive over from close range and pull the score back to 27 – 24.

Woodford did not panic but were rocked when they let in a similar try a few minutes later, 27 – 29 with only a few minutes left on the clock.

Woodford chased their kick off and force Davenant on to the back foot. As time ticked away Woodford tried to force the issue with drives to the line but without the close support needed to drive the ball over. Davenant were putting up a sterling defence. The referee called last play and Woodford were determined not to make any errors and keep the ball alive as they pressed towards the Davenant try line. Tackle followed tackle and just as it appeared the move had petered out Marks got the ball and rounded the defence on the outside for literally a last gaps winner, 32-29.

Woodford coach Charles Wallace said ‘The school and club can be proud of their players. The teamwork, skills and sportsmanship shown today were admirable’.

Full-time Woodford 32 - 29  Davenant Foundation School

Woodford Man of the Match  Taylor Wilkins
For details see http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/woodford/