Chucksbury visit Lower Albert Road
By John Brett
U14s on Match Day Management
A beautiful day for rugby on Sunday and once Match Day Management duties were out of the way – changing hutches swept and pads and flags on the pitches over the brook it was time for a warm up. Lads half asleep initially but quickly grew into the job and the mood received a significant boost when Laurie appeared unexpectedly, ‘Rupert Rugby’ cancelled, the hosting posh school called it off. Weather was fine so one can only assume that they forgot to roast the swan for the post-match sandwiches.
The 3rd team pitch was in very good nick after heavy rain the night before, our mascot Toby (Golden Retriever crossed with a friendly bear) amusing spectators and players alike in his new Evesham shirt as we host Tewkesbury RFC.
An even looking contest, every bit of progress by either side defended and the pressure returned, Tewkesbury scrum initially dominant and they won the breakdown/turned Evesham over probably 80% of the time. Encouraging that the Evesham scrum shored up and improved through the game, the breakdown however will be a topic for the training ground on Wednesday. A breakaway try late in the first half looked a sure thing but for Laurie inbound like ‘a skateboarding Jack Russell on a steep hill’ not only did he catch the Tewkesbury centre 4 times his size, he also managed to hold up the ball across the line. The resulting scrum won by Tewkesbury and across in the RH corner for the first try of the match, conversion missed from out wide so we open Penny’s Tupperware box of orange quarters at half time just 5 points behind.
Change of staff, subs on, Evesham receive the kick-off but lose possession after a couple of phases, Tewkesbury continue to dominate the breakdown, and through the hands for a try in the right corner. Conversion missed so its 0-10.
A high tackle on Jackson initiated a bit of verbal jousting from Tewkesbury, returned toe to toe by the Evesham forwards, a bit of handbags and officially frowned upon of course but secretly a most encouraging statement of intent, the backward steps far too often present last season will not be taken now. Evesham scrum inside the Tewkesbury 22, secured and through the hands for Jackson to score in the left corner. George’s conversion in-line but just short. 5-10, Eves back in this.
Then it was time for Eves already impressive defence to receive a severe test, phase after phase of inbound runners stopped, Eves defenders with toes on the try line and keeping the heavier-to-a-man side at bay for over 7 phases until eventually Tewkesbury crash over and converted. 5-17.
We have stated many times, as far back as preseason in July that this season will be a journey, a building year to onboard new players and develop the old hands into new positions as they grow in different directions. The swing in fortunes last time out against the old enemy Bredon was a measure of progress and again this week whilst the score board didn’t go our way the defensive effort across the line against a large and physical Tewkesbury side was unrecognisably better than anything 6 months ago. Tewkesbury coaches and Marrick from the U15s were all very complimentary about the Eves defense. The most encouraging thing, in addition to the traditionally recognised tacklers, this week saw solid hits from every single player across the line where we might usually expect a bit of a hole.
In other news, Aggy turned out to lend his support from the edge despite a neck injury, proper lad. Max on the other hand, did not turn out at all, trapped and helpless beneath a collapsed duvet, the lads will decide just how many press-ups that deserves on Wednesday.
Chris for refereeing
Penny for oranges and laundry this week
Toby for rep'ing the brand with style
Tewkesbury for visiting to give us such a genuine test, and for stopping for a little post-match hospitality, not everyone does
Bov for running the bar still convinced that a playing shirt ‘so tight it would take out every bottle and window if the seams let go’ looks good on a man almost 50. Go on big lad, we love an optimist.