Evesham cut through the fog to win in style
By Andrew Flaxman
Positives abound in top-drawer performance
With Theo, Luke R, Oli A and Ewan absent, the Under-13s were missing half their regular midfield for this trip to Ledbury for what promised to be one of their tougher assignments.
Drawing back the curtains on thick fog didn't help to conjure up a positive mood and turning up at Ledbury's lovely ground to find we couldn't see much of it was another blow. To be honest, even when the match began it was pretty much a case of guesswork to know what was going on over on the other side of the pitch and some interesting refereeing decisions suggested visibility wasn't much better on the field either.
Our boys have never been the best of starters and maybe they need the sun on their backs to get them going as they too seemed lost in the fog for the first few minutes, gifting Ledbury an early try as dozy defending allowed the home side to run through off the back of a scrum within the first minute or so.
It took a small break from Django to get the lads going. Playing at centre today to fill in for the absentees he was excellent throughout, carrying well and doing the grubby work on the ground to great effect. Soon Evesham scored an equalising try as Josh A embarked on one of his trademark long-distance slow-motion carries, finding a lovely out-the-back-of-the-hand offload for Darcey to score. Josh was one of the day's big plus points, time and again taking the team forward with those rumbling carries.
Along with a slow start, our forwards have never quiet got the hang of rucking and it looked as if they might suffer again from that today, but instead they took the lead as captain Harry jinked over from a scrum.
By now the sun had burned through the fog, so it was time for spectators to shed the woolly hats and for the players to shed their inhibitions. The tries were now coming thick and fast with Ledbury scoring a superb solo equaliser before lovely passing put Harry in for his second to retake the lead. As the game ebbed and flowed, Ledbury again levelled the scores with another long run, before Evesham's frustrations boiled over and Harry found himself sent to the bin for dissent, a habit several of the boys need to bin.
Despite this Evesham were beginning to take a grip on the game, controlling territory and the breakdown with Oli P distributing well from scrum-half and they took the lead again as good hands from Harry put Angelo over, the winger's third close-range try in recent weeks proving the benefits of good support play. A fifth score followed as the excellent Josh N took the ball over following quick ball from a series of rucks.
Ledbury pulled another try back before they were hit by a double whammy to put the game to bed, as first Harry clinched his hat-trick with a nice show and go and then Django scored a well-deserved try after collecting a Ledbury kick to make it 7-4 to Evesham. Although the home side scored another, Freddie restored the three-try margin.
There were so many positives to take from this match, not least that with big players missing the team still has enough in the tank to beat even good sides like Ledbury. Given that rucking has been a weakness, the control they had at the breakdown as the game went on showed the progress the team is making. New boy Sean made a promising debut and his arrival, along with Tom and Harry E, gives the team more options up-front. Similarly several players really stood up to be counted today with top drawer performances. With a visit to arch-nemesis Stow on the horizon it remains to be seen, however, if the boys themselves really believe they can mix it with the best.
Team: Harry; Oli P; Django; Owen; Angelo; Darcey; Freddie; Luke D; Kal; Tom; Harry E; Josh A; Alex; Josh N; Jonty; Connor; Sean; Harvey
Tries: Harry (3); Darcey; Django; Freddie; Angelo; Josh N