Senior and Colts Rugby News

28 Nov 2014

2nd XV:

Witham  7

St. John’s  14

Try: M. Moore

Conv: Will Chandler

This was a really gritty encounter between two teams who were very well matched across each position on the field. Witham may well have had the edge in retaining the ball for long periods of time, but just lacked the cutting edge in the final few metres and were repelled by an excellently disciplined St. John’s outfit that held out under a protracted onslaught that lasted for most of the second half of the match.

Again congratulations to all the boys, all nineteen can be proud of themselves – multiple substitutions did not disconcert them at all. The new look front row of Ned Chatterton, Frankie Atkinson and Callum Wass had the better of their St John’s counterparts and behind them variously, Joey Robinson, Freddie Arlott, Alex Edwards, Eshan Mehta, Max Shippey, Toby Coulson, Will Pepper and Max Moore all supported really well.

In the backs, Isaac Barrow made good yards and was particularly direct, Will Chandler made effective decisions and was ably supported by Jamie Garvin, Harry Thompson, Archie Smith-Maxwell, Rori Rodell, Freddie Dumbill and Oscar Fowler.

The only negative of the afternoon was a nasty injury to Man of Match Max Moore in the last five minutes – we all wish him the best and hope he makes a rapid recovery!

Witham Hall   26

Maidwell Hall  18

Tries: E. Mehta, C. Wass, F. Arlott, J. Garvin.

Conv. H. Thompson (3)

This game proved to be a lively clash and was characterized by some very controlled forward play by the Witham pack. The eight dominated the breakdown through their discipline and adherence to technique in looking after possession and although tight marking and quick line speed by the Maidwell backs stifled mid-field creativity, Witham got themselves into the opposition twenty-two on enough occasions to score from close range.

The scrummage was again very secure and although the relatively light Maidwell pack provided our sternest test yet, the pack came through with flying colours.

Jamie Garvin, showing some effective speed off the back of the scrum, marshalled the backs and Isaac Barrow made the best yardage gains of the afternoon in plays from set pieces.

In broken play, the back row of Max Shippey, Will Pepper and Eshan Mehta made good headway against a Maidwell side that grew in confidence as the game progressed, although they were forced to attack from deep and rely upon their backs as Witham’s relentless grip on the breakdown, ground out a hard-won victory.

Witham  45

Worksop Prep. 0

Tries: E. Mehta (2), W. Pepper (2), C. Wass, F. Arlott & A. Smith-Maxwell

Conv: W. Chandler (3), H. Thompson & A. Smith- Maxwell.

This match yielded a comprehensive win for the Witham boys who executed the basic skills unerringly, looked after their own ball well and exerted pressure on the opposition all afternoon.

The front row had a very fruitful outing with Ned Chatterton, Callum Wass and Frankie Atkinson taking several against the head. It was pleasing to see that the lineout was functioning very well as Joey Robinson put his natural advantage to good use; champagne moment was the second team executing a near perfect peel as Frankie rocketed at the Worksop midfield.

Will Chandler had time to weigh up his options because of the quality of ball the forwards delivered, and working on a narrow pitch, the backs looked slicker than in previous games with Ben Mackintosh, Rory Rodell and Oscar Fowler showing some great steps out wide.

Witham continued their relentless forward pressure throughout the second half and despite Worksop getting some momentum from the award of a series of penalties, the final play of the game saw Archie Smith-Maxwell intercept a spill and blaze from his own 22 to score under the posts and then pop over the conversion.

This was a very good team performance boys!

Witham Hall  0

Wisbech G.S.  14

This was a tough encounter indeed; a narrow pitch with opposition who played a game that was suited to tight spaces, meant the forwards really had to work hard in the loose. Again Witham were adept at preventing the opposition getting the ball to ground and gained turnover possession this way several times.

Despite a lot of pressure in the Wisbech half, with Witham coming close several times, they were denied by some very determined defence. Max Shippey, Toby Coulson, Joey Robinson and Freddie Arlott were superb at the breakdown point and Eshan Mehta and Alex Edwards did some excellent ball carrying. The front row of Ned Chatterton, Frankie Atkinson and Callum Wass did another huge stint as the scrummage count soared again – we took a couple against the head to their credit again.

It was living on scraps for the backs and the constricted game was our undoing, as twice a pass was forced and on both occasions the resulting interception was fatal. Our best gains in open play were made by the ever predatory Will Chandler, who is showing a real physicality and toughness in his sniping runs around the margins and breaking the gain line every time.

This was a bruising afternoon when we saw that many of this squad will certainly make the step up to the physicality of 1st XV rugby next year.

Colts A:

St John’s College School   28

Witham Hall Colts A           19                 

A sluggish first half was costly for the Colts A in their first ever match at Cambridge’s St John’s College School. The hosts went into the break leading by four tries to one thanks in part to some lacklustre Witham defence and poor positional play. A vastly improved second half performance saw our boys dominate the territory and possession, but the two tries they managed to claw back were not enough to overtake St Johns’ points tally. Positives for Witham include some excellent scrummaging and encouraging handling from the backs. Our three try scorers were Archie Bingham, Oliver Allport and Robert Tombs.

Witham Hall Colts A    7

Ranby House              7

A draw was probably a fair reflection of both teams’ determined efforts in the slippery November murkiness. Witham started with much purpose and deservedly took the lead midway through the first half when skipper Archie Bingham thundered over from close range. However, Ranby rallied after the break and scored the equaliser their efforts merited after some effective play from their forwards. Despite applying some late pressure on the visitors’ line Witham could not break down the dogged defence, and the final whistle blew with the scores tied at 7-7 – well played both teams.

Colts B:

Witham Hall 14

St Johns 5

The Colts B offered a very different picture from last week’s game both in terms of attitude and score line. They were the team this week who wanted it more!  They needed to improve on the basics of passing and protecting the ball as well as putting into the match all we had practised in training the day before which was low body position into the contact with quick recycling of the ball.  Each and every player started the game with great determination and to my delight sustained it for the whole match.  They equalled their determination with correct rucking and low body position in and around the contact area which meant they maintained a lot of possession.  Furthermore, sensible decisions when awarded a penalty and winning set play (scrums and lineouts) all led to Joe Atkinson delivering the final blow - a couple of tries.

Harry Jones did well to drop kick the ball to ensure the team were awarded the full 7 points each time a try was scored. I was impressed by Will Fairfax who won the ball with ease and confidence at the lineout when he came on to play the second half. Every player was exhausted at the end and they deserved the win.  Well done to each and every one of you for being sensible on a long journey and great ambassadors for Witham Hall.

Witham Hall  5

The Peterborough School U11A  40

The Colts B were caught off guard from the start by allowing a player to run through to score; no one made a tackle.  However, they came back with huge determination and started to make some marvellous tackles; one particular strong try saving tackle made by Sam Beattie. 

I was pleased with every player; they did not give up and in fact were the better team when it came to rucking the opposition off the ball.  Unfortunately they just couldn’t finish the passages of play with a try.  Harry Jones made one great darting run following three phases of rugby put together by Witham. Despite a better second half from Witham, The Peterborough School were too strong due to their quick runners and deserved their victory as a result.