Old Reigatian 1st XV hosted Eastleigh on Saturday with the visitors sitting one place below ORs in the league with two points separating them, so everything looked balance for a competitive game with the chance of many tries with the Reigate based team having scored over 40 points in their last three fixtures and Eastleigh in confident mood after dispatching Hove last week with a 62-0 victory.
In recent weeks ORs have opened the scoring and set the tone for the afternoon but this wasn’t to be the case with Eastleigh showed no effects from the long journey started well showed they have some effective runners to put OR’s under pressure and when the clearance kick was charged down this gave the visitors an early try in under two minutes to give them a 0-5 lead. This followed a period of both teams trying to find their structure and ORs creating chances but unable to convert them until the 19th minute when Tom Woodford find some space and with his pace was through to open Reigatian’s account Alex Skinner converted to give the home side a 7-5 lead.
From the restart Reigatian were on the attack and building the phases however trying to force the play and not show the patience required Eastleigh managed to intercept a pass and run 60m to retake the lead, this time the conversion was good 7-12. The first half seem to see saw between the teams in what was expected to be a close encounter. ORs managed to close the gap with a Skinner penalty 10-12. Luke Quartermaine make his first 1st XV start since joining from Cambridge based Club Shelford showed great pace to make a break down the right wing nearly made the line in, Eastleigh attempts to keep ORs out they conceded a penalty which quick thinking Skinner took and got over the line untouched he then added the extras and once again the lead changed hands and the home side moved ahead 17-12. With half time looming Max Coyle made a break from just inside his own half with one defender to beat, George Wheeler was in support on his shoulder Coyle fixed the defender and put Wheeler in for another try to make push the score 24-12 and finally some space was opening up between the teams. In the 40th minute the Eastleigh managed to put his centre through a gaping open in the Reigatian’s defensive line with an easy run in to again close the gap to 24-19 at half time.
Reigatian’s returned to their changing room knowing that three errors in a charged down kick, an interception and a defensive mistake had allowed Eastleigh to stay in touch and these error had to be eliminated in the next 40 minutes or the result could go either way.
From the start of the second half the Reigatian players play with purpose started to dominate especially at Scrum time with Sam Foreman who had stepped up from his normal role in the back row to cover LooseHead prop while Ciaran Nestor had returned to University in Bath. Foreman, Wheeler and Toby Collister kept the scrum going forward so when a scrum was awarded five meters out there was not much chance the ball would leave the scrum with a huge effort from all eight forwards No 8 Ryan Travers claiming the try and Skinner converting 31-19. 11 minutes into the second half. This seemed to give ORs the momentum 4 minutes later Tom Woodford was agin scoring in the corner 36-19 5 minutes later Max Coyle showed great pace to score his first try and three minutes later he did the same again putting Reigatian completely out of sight now leading 48-19. Reigatian were playing with the confidence you would expect from a team that had now scored over 40 in the last four games but the were not finished yet on the half hour Jack Leech scored the to score Reigatian’s nineth try of the day Seb Courtney Walker finished off the move making the home side’s score up to 62. To be fair to Eastleigh they kept pushing and managed to claim their try scoring bonus point with the last move of the day giving a final score of 62-26.
It was great performance all the better to have been played in front of the Clubs U9’s who cheered on their Club mates every step of the way. They all got together to vote on their Man of the Match which was awarded to Toby Collister (Who coincidently also coaches the U9s!)
Old Reigatian 62 – 26 Eastleigh