Saturday afternoon Old Reigatian hosted Gravesend RFC another new fixture this season following last seasons promotion.
Gravesend have a strong history and had started this season with 4 wins out of 4 and awarded a walk over against Guildford last weekend putting them top of the league going into this fixture. ORs remain unbeaten at Home and with two close defeats on the road this was set up for a tight game.
The Home Team welcome back both centres who were missing last weekend with Max Coyle working and Gareth Stephens injury both with both returning the team was similar to the team that defeated Horsham in what was the best performance to date.
Also Ryan Travers was on the bench waiting to make his first appearance this season following an injury over the summer.
From the kickoff it was obvious there were two contrasting styles with Reigatian keen to run the ball and play an expensive game with their pacy backs and Gravesend who were going to rely more on their big pack and keep the ball tight. Early on Gravesend scrum was very dominant and had ORs pack rolling backwards. From one of these scrums Gravesend were rewarded a Penalty which was converted to give the visitors an early 0-3 lead.
After 12 minutes Max Coyle took the ball into contact an picked up a serious injury to his eye. Max left the field to be replaced by Ryan Travers playing in the centres rather than his preferred position of back row.
However ORs moved play downfield and Captain Reilly Franklin-Talbot charged down the clearance kick which No8 Dan Jones was the quickest to react to and collect the ball to score their first try. Unfortunately the kick was unsuccessful but the home side lead 5-3.
With Reigatian’s forward settling into the game more they started to show their strengths and with a driving maul from a lineout the visitors were on the back foot and with the ball released while still going forward spaces were available for the backs and Gareth Stephens had no hesitation to take advantage and score under the posts giving an easy conversion for Lucas Overtoom stretching the lead to 12-3.
During the build up to this try Dan Jones pulled his calf and was unable to carry on. With the back row replacement already in the centre 18 year old Prop Ethan Monk made his 1st XV debut. Ethan was last seasons Colts Captain and has playing his Rugby at Park Lane since the U6s. He is a great Club man to every section of the Club should be proud to see Ethan represent the Club in one of the most physical positions at such a young age.
Gravesend were never not going to fight back and again their strong pack providing good front foot ball with half an hour played they scored under the posts bringing the score back to 12-10.
As half time approached a score before half time was going to be vital, ORs played phase after phase with the ball eventually making it to the right wing to find Harrison Mitchell using all his strength to get over the line to score on his 50th appearance for the 1st XV. Again Overtoom added the conversion meaning the Home side lead 19-10 at Half Time.
Second Half and with young Ethan firming up the scrum and causing the defensive lines problems with his low centre of gravity!
With parity established up front the backs were finding more space to operate in after some great interpassing and high skill levels Finn Coyle manged to score in the corner with Overtoom getting the extras 26-10 only five minutes later the ball was being moved at ease with all players showing great handling and keeping the ball alive and this time Gareth Stephens was on the end of the move to claim his second try of the afternoon again Overtoom was successful with the kick and the home side moved into a comfortable 33-10 with the try scoring bonus point gained.
What followed showed that at least level you have to play for 80 minutes or the opposition will punish you and within 10 minutes Gravesend had scored two tries and to pull the score back to 33-20. The Home side rallied again and built the phases with Ryan Travers finishing off the move with a score to 38-20. Gravesend forwards kept battling and from a lineout the driving maul starter which the Reigatian’s couldn’t stop and again only two scores into.
Credit to Gravesend as they kept pushing as they tried to move the ball wide Finn Coyle intercepted a pass and once he got into his stride no one was going to catch him. Once again Overtoom was successful with the kick. Final score 45-27.
1.Collister, 2.Nestor, 3.Franklin-Talbot © 4. Gregson, 5.Grant, 6.Foreman, 7.Brooks, 8.Jones, 9.Skinner, 10. Overtoom, 11. Coyle F, 12. Stephens, 13. Coyle M, 14,Mitchell, 15.Woodford, 16.Monk,17.Travers, 18.White