Woodford were able to field two sides at Under 15 this week and hosted a strong and determined Thurrock B team. Woodford lost fly half Matt Bastick during the warm up and had to hastily re-arrange their back line.
Woodford kicked off and did well to halt a strong Thurrock drive. The attack continued as Thurrock linked well and it took the first off many timely tackles by Jamie Ali to prevent a break through.
Woodford put together some attacking phases with William Curness and Haaris Sohoye leading by example. The packs were evenly matched in the scrums, both sides contesting for every ball.
From a Woodford scrum, Sean Moore fed the ball out and a neat switch in the centre between Sohoye and Tari Branson saw him break through the first line of defence. Firm Thurrock defending stopped the attack and turn over ball saw Thurrock reply only for Woodford to defend well and prevent a score.
The welcome return of Taylor Wilkins in the Woodford front row saw several typically robust and straight forward runs by the prop.
Both teams gained plenty of ball but were unable to string together sufficient phases of play to make a break through. Woodford kept up a high work rate with Filip Goralczyk and Zac Cannon prominent at the break down.
In the muddy conditions the ball and players slipped around making for a disjointed half as neither side to sustain an attack for very long.
Woodford produced a series of phases of play and Wilkins drove over the line to touch down but the try was disallowed for an off the ball incident. This sparked Thurrock to respond and take play up the right hand touch line where a strong drive broke the Woodford defence and the first score just before half time, 0 – 5 to Thurrock.
Thurrock started the second half in the same vein and put Woodford under a sustained period of pressure. Winning scrum after lineout after scrum they worked their way to the Woodford try line to score and take a 0 – 10 lead.
Woodford took time to rally and it needed a break from Sohoye on the half way line to slip past a couple of defenders and score to bring them back in to the game, 5 – 10.
Thurrock responded with a series of attacks, Ali saving a couple of tries with last ditch tackles before the pressure told and they bundled over for a third try, 5 – 15.
Woodford’s game was never consistent, when they were good they threatened but at other times they lacked a cohesive effort. A kick through from Ben Charles was followed up by Sohoye who collected the ball and found the space to slip the last tackle and score, 10 -15.
Woodford were in the game but under pressure. A speculative kick through from Thurrock dribbled under the posts and should have been dealt with by the Woodford defence. Woodford won the foot race back to the ball but an error allowed Thurrock to recover and ground the ball for a converted try, 10 -22.
As the last minutes ticked by Woodford were on the attack and Milo Weldon went over the try line but the ball was held up.
Final score Woodford 10 – Thurrock 22
Man of the match: Filip Goralczyk
Squad: Murray, Cannon, Wilkins, Skipper, Whiting, Weldon, Goralczyk, Perkins, Laumann-Mamas, Curness, Ali I, Moore, Sohoye, Charles, Langley, Branson, Ali J, Bacon.