Saturday Old Reigatian 1st XV travelled to Winchester historically an extremely difficult place for ORs to claim a Win. The last time Reigatian won at Winchester was 2013 therefore despite the league table showing a five places difference nothing could be taken for granted.
ORs got of to another impressive start with almost a carbon copy of last weeks first try Finn Coyle worked off his wing appearing in the midfield showing great pace to break the gain line to pass on to Tom Woodford to score the opening try. Alex Skinner added the conversion ORs 0-7 after five minutes. Reigatian were dominating the opening period with the scrum causing Winchester all sorts of problems and every time the backs got the ball wide the visitors looked dangerous. So it was completely against the run of play when Winchester managed to equal the score with a try of their own. Thirteen minutes in and 7-7. This seemed to focus the Green and Blues and for the rest of the half it was all Reigatian. Nineteen minutes in and a driving maul sucked in a number of defenders and when the ball was released the home sides defence had become narrow quickly spotted by Ben Holder who showed great hands to get the ball wide and find Seb Courtney – Walker free to score to regain the lead 7- 12. Next up Reigatian’s set up an attack on the right hand side of the pitch Holder moved the ball to Captain Reilly Franklin-Talbot who moved the ball on to Ryan Travers who found Woodford on the Wing to score his second try of the afternoon. Great hands from the forwards. With this the score stretched to 7-17.
Directly from the restart Winchester were awarded a scrum with a massive effort from the Reigatian pack the home team were pushed off their own ball Skinner picked from the base and was away with the last defended to beat Skinner passed to Sam Foreman to score the fourth try giving ORs their try scoring bonus point before half time and making the score 7-22. The only downside to the performance so far was Reigatian’s discipline which was costing the side dearly this was reflected in the next ten minutes with Winchester being awarded two kickable penalties to reduce the lead to 13-22. However Reigatian’s were to have the last word in the first half with the forwards again showing their dominance with a driving maul from a lineout with the whole pack getting over the try line for George Wheeler at the back to place the ball down. Half Time 13-27. Again indiscipline costing the visitors with Alex Skinner being sent to the Sin Bin just before Half Time reducing the team to 14.
To say the game was a game of two halves is probably the oldest cliché in the book but Winchester hard running big forwards were suddenly causing the ORs defence a lot of problems. Three minutes into the second half and the home side were on the scoreboard with an early try to close the gap to 18-27. Again for the restart Winchester kicked ahead to play close to Reigatian try line and when Woodford tried to clear the line his kicked was charged down the home team team reclaimed the ball and chased their own kick to close the gap to 2 points with the score being 25-27. The home supporters were now sensing an unlikely victory and were right behind their team. Reigatian’s seemed to have lost some of their normal composure and were still struggling to adjust their game to the Referee as penalties were costing them dearly. Once again a penalty was awarded to the home team and their very reliable kicker made no mistake and no the come back was complete and Winchester lead for the first time in the game 28-27. With Ciaran Nestor, Tom Bestwick and Jack Leech all off the bench. Franklin-Talbot asked his team to go back to the basics the patterns of play that had made them so dominant in the first half. With ten minutes to go and with their backs against the wall Reigatian showed their true colours and started to apply some pressure on to Winchester and in a attempt to relieve this Winchester kicked down field which was gathered by Finn Coyle who made an excellent break down the left wing he chipped ahead and managed to regather the ball. The ball was won quickly and feed down the line Harrison Mitchell drove hard to line but desperate defending from the home team stopped him short again the ball was recycled quickly Skinner feed Holder who was working round the corner tried to make it through a gap between two defenders which held the defensive line and the delayed pass worked perfectly to find Captain Franklin-Talbot on the Wing to score the winning try. Skinner added the conversion and with the last few minutes safely played out with ORs hanging onto the ball and making sure there were no opportunities for a Winchester reply. Reigatian claimed their first win at Winchester in eight years, five points gained in the league to keep on Reed heels just two points behind them but not th second half performance they wanted and certainly not the same side that played so well in the first half. Impressive team spirit and character to come back and claim the Win. First round of fixture complete, last game of 2021 next Saturday at Park Lane when they host Hove.
Winchester 28-34 Old Reigatian
Old Reigatian 1st XV
1. Paul Marshall 2. George Wheeler 3. Toby Collister 4. Reilly Franklin-Talbot 5. Seb Courtney- Walker 6. Sam Foreman 7. Jack Baart 8. Ryan Travers 9. Alex Skinner 10. Ben Holder 11. Finn Coyle 12. Rob Williamson 13. George Perry 14. Harrison Mitchell 15. Tom Woodford 16. Ciaran Nestor 17. Tom Bestwick 18. Jack Leech