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Old Reigatian 2nd XV v Old Caterhamiams 2nd XV (Friendly)

Old Reigatian 2nd XV 48 v Old Caterhamians 2nd XV 5 (Friendly)

With Weybridge Vandals unable to honour the league fixture, a friendly was arranged at Park Lane, and, despite the atrocious weather conditions, ORs managed to secure a comfortable victory against spirited opponents, with some outstanding passages of play, alongside a few lapses in concentration, which kept the game flowing and Cats competing to the final whistle.

From the off we were on the front foot with forwards taking the ball into contact, Aran Courtney Walker making a classy break and the 3/4s moving ball effectively through the hands. With the match barely two minutes old, Joe Jenner picked up a loose ball and, after a powerful run, scored under the posts; Harry Smith added the conversion.

Cats gained possession, but solid resistance in midfield [Harry S, Aran, Olly Guy, Dan Westley and Elliot Anderson] showed the now customary resolution in defence, and it was not long before forwards and backs moved the ball again, from out of defence, allowing Chris Chalder the opportunity to step back inside and cross the line for his eighth try of the season – Harry S, whose perfectly timed pass had set the score up, added to his points tally to make the score 14 – 0.

Further strong tackling from Toby Brann and Harry Plowman helped to snuff out attacks, but a stolen line out allowed Cats to capitalise, which saw them get onto the score sheet – one of those moments when Reigatian focus went awry.

With about 20 minutes on the clock, the Green and Blues worked back into opposition territory – a tap penalty from Dan, giving Adam Mendoza a score out wide, via the ever-aware Aran. From the restart a clever inside pass by George Mitchell to Plow saw him make yards before offering Joe another opportunity to stretch his legs for his second run in of the afternoon; Harry S increasing the lead to 26 – 5. With the end of the first period approaching, Aran completed another dash from the halfway line, beating the cover, after Chris had drifted in from his wing to create the extra man, taking the score at the break to 31 – 5.

With the rain turning to hail, the second period could have just faded to a freezing nothingness, but the introduction of fresh blood from both benches gave a rejuvenated appearance to proceedings [Ed Forsyth looking ‘made for the job’ at blindside flanker, Tosin Oladigbolu making a welcome return to the Green and Blue and Alex Le Berruyer replacing George Croucher on the wing; Lucas Stephens completed the substitutions at full back].

It was, however, Cats who started the new half with more purpose, putting pressure on at scrums and trying to break our defence lines. The conditions certainly affected our handling, with several balls going to ground, however, the experience of Kern Bush Nelson at 10 pushed us back up field – Kern then showing his silky skills to kick through, gather and score.

Still our opponents kept trying to play, but the difference in overall experience was beginning to show, and an inside pass to Rob Cheal gave him the chance to crash over from close range, taking the points past 40 and a relative jaunt into the last quarter of an hour.

As the final minutes played out, Cats put on one final surge and worked to our danger area. A knock on offered a Green and Blue scrum, which put us under pressure, but a pick up from Rob gave him an opening to beat three or four men on his way to an eighty metre run and dot down under the posts [Harry S duly converted] – a great end to an entertaining game, which gave us a comprehensive victory, but asked questions and showed that we continue to have development needs if this squad is to reach higher levels.

Excellent individual showing from Aran, Plow, Fos, George M and Elliot, who is going to be a fine club asset as he continues to delve into the murky world of the front row and build his experience there. Again, Joe quite rightly got man of the match vote for his no nonsense play, both in attack and when defending. Also, a mention for Kev Sheldrick who worked hard throughout the first half and very much played his part in the team performance – sounding like he was on about 20 a day by the time he had finished his run out.

Club dinner on 6 April and AXV Jolly the following week [13 April] – we now have about 18 confirmed and it looks as though there is a Papa John Cup game for the 1st XV at Park Lane that afternoon, so suggest we support them and have a few beers at the Club to end our season.

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