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On Saturday Risborough took to the field for their first competitive game of the 2019/2020 season. Following a very difficult previous season and a rejig of the league structures we entered this game and the rest of the season without any real knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each team. The boys had a baptism of fire a fortnight ago in their preseason Friday night lights friendly away to Bletchley and had worked extremely hard over the last fortnight to push on from this and start with a bang. The below 18 men were selected to represent the team this weekend:
1) Daniel Cuadrado
2) Damon Reading
3) Daniel Phillips
4) Andrew Emmett
5) Nick Hitchcock
6) Greg Smith
7) Jerome Secardin
8) Marc Freeman
9) Alex Dawson
10) Guy Woodeson
11) Nick Koppanen
12) Charlie Krabbe
13) Liam Roads
14) Angus Haines
15) Ed Clarkson
16) Alex Cutler
17) Paul Radford
18) Owen Fisher
The lads turned up to blazing heat and a hard ground with a point to prove and got off to the perfect start. A clean kick and a determined chase forced a knock on from the kick off by Oxford, following this the lads put together a number of quick phases through the middle making good yards around the fringes of the rucks. The defence dragged in towards the action and a flat double miss pass from Guy allowed Cwozy to walk in on the wing for Risborough’s first try of the season and Guy’s first missed kick of the season after falling on his arse during the run up. The early dominance continued with good strong running lines from the forwards and quick offloads allowing us to make significant ground regularly with Oxford struggling to stop the runners in their first up hits.
After Oxford had shown that they had a strong scrum in the initial exchanges the boys really pulled together as an eight and dug in, off of our own ball we managed to get the ball cleanly away to Guy where a perfect execution of Coach Scanlon’s new move allowed Charlie Krabbe to take the ball off of fellow centre Liam and run in from 50 yards with enough pace to finish by rounding the full back. Guy followed up with the extras
Risborough clearly had the scent of blood early and did not ease off of the high intensity they had taken into the game, good 1 on 1 tackles allowed us to shut down Oxford’s wider attacks and big runners. A double hit in the middle of the park allowed our resident Frenchman, Jerome, to turn the ball over, quick thinking meant the boys instantly turned this into attack. Guy, Angus and Greg all managed quick offloads out of contact to set up prop Cwozy’s second try of the game. No extras this time
The ref called the game at 20mins for a much needed water break, a few words of praise from the coaches and the game was back on. Oxford made a few changes to their line here and came back out with a bit more about them, they were attacking repeatedly around the fringes of the rucks and dragged us back into our own half. Fortunately for us they did not capitalise on this possession and were unable to regularly win their own ball off of lineouts. Following strong exchanges in the middle of the park Guy took charge of the game and a couple of strong kicks from open play allowed us to pressure Oxfords lineout in their own 22. The boys managed to win a penalty meaning we had a strike platform off of a 5m lineout, the ball was taken cleanly and the maul set well, however Oxford seemed to have stopped the momentum early, a few extra bodies joined the maul and it was moving forwards again, our fourth try also scored by Cwozy, reaching his front row hat trick after 30minutes. Mel was already looking nervous on the touchline at this point. Guy slotted his second conversion of the afternoon.
As the half came to a close the boys fitness was showing well, those sessions with fitness coach, Will Batting, seemed to have paid off as the boys did not ease up at all. Another big hit on Oxford’s attack allowed the ball to fling out the edge of the ruck for Guy to pop off to Liam, with 2 men in front of him Liam drew them in before releasing Angus on the wing to pin his ears back and show off his wheels with style. Another Conversion from Guy.
HT Oxford IIs 0 – 31 Risborough
The second half was not so plain sailing; Oxford came out with a much more aggressive defensive line and began to disrupt us at the break downs preventing us being able to make much ground. After hard work by the team we were awarded a penalty on the 22, not wanting to carry on running Guy pretended to hear a call from Liam to go for the posts; anything to improve his kicking stats on last season. Liam strongly denies this being the call he wanted but Guy stepped up and slotted the 3 points anyway.
Oxford stepped up a few more gears and some sloppiness in defence and discipline from Risborough allowed Oxford to spend a considerable amount of time in the Risborough 22. After 10-15mins of pressure and a chat from the referee with Captain Roads warning of an imminent yellow card the boys switched back on. Oxford kept getting driven back with fantastic line speed in defence from all 15 players, once again the fitness showing strong here. Eventually off of another attack on our line from Oxford, Guy managed to read the play and intercept. The crowd were anticipating a 90m run in from our 10, however the Oxford front row had caught him by the time he left our own 22, Guy made a quick decision and hoofed the ball up field into space. After a strong and determined follow up from Risborough we managed to turn over the ball and ship it off to who other than Cwozy for his 4th of the game.
Owen and Paul came on to empty Risborough’s bench with Cutler already replacing wounded Jerome. Pretty much immediately Owen found himself in acres of space running from our 22 all the way to the Oxford 22, without any support he had to take the tackle, however out of nowhere young Alex Cutler in his first competitive game of rugby came charging through needing just a soft pop to score the Cutler families first ever try. Owen launched it over his head much to older brother Jamie Cutler’s pleasure. Oxford struggled to clear their lines and another flurry of big carries from Risborough allowed us to remain in the attacking position. Big Nick, who had been crashing up tirelessly all afternoon, went on another run and broke the gain line, followed up by Big Paul to clear out no less than 3 Oxfords defenders allowed Dawson to pick the ball up at 9 and make the break, as the fullback caught him he managed to spin out of the tackle and round the last defender for our 7th try of the afternoon.
Our final try of the game came after a brilliant kick for touch from a penalty by Guy allowed us a 5m attacking lineout; a good throw by Chan and a clean take from Greg at the front of the line allowed a nice smooth setup for the driving maul, all 8 men shove together and the defence formed little resistance this time allowing Cwozy to cross for his 5th try of the game; this meant his 5 tries had about 20m combined running with the ball. Guy slotted all three conversions and his penalty this half. With time almost up Risborough were keen to keep their clean sheet and played sensibly for the last 2 minutes before the final whistle went.
FT Oxford IIs 0 – 55 Risborough
Congratulations to all that played and thanks to all of the supporters who came to watch, it was a fantastic day of rugby and brilliant to start the season off with a strong statement win. A few things to work on and to make sure we don’t go into next week’s home game against Faringdon with a complacent mind set.
Man of the match was Guy Woodeson, selected by the opposition, special mentions to the 6 lads making their league debut for the club; Angus, Lips, Cutler, Big Paul, Nick K and Dawson you all played fantastically and finally Alex Cutler for receiving the Dick of the Day award for telling the referee “Well played”.
|September 14, 2019||3:00 pm||Wadworth 6X Berks/Bucks & Oxon 2 North||2019/20|
|Risborough 1st XV||55|
Risborough 1st XV