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6th April 2024 Queen's Field

Result: Aldeburgh 7 Mistley 31

Beautiful day, scrappy game, great lunch

With several key players missing, Aldeburgh’s squad had to be reinforced by loan players from Mistley who brought a very strong team and squad with them.  One can only mention in passing that their first team match had been cancelled.  Although Mistley appeared to have a better quality side, the game was closely fought until the third quarter.

A large, noisy crowd on the touchline, many of whom had just enjoyed the delights of the largest VP Lunch yet in the clubhouse, gave plenty of support.

The gale blew down the pitch into the Aldeburgh team’s faces for the first half.  Despite the expectation that this would be a very strong Mistley team, the opening exchanges went Aldeburgh’s way.  Strong running and passing took Aldeburgh deep into Mistley territory.  However, it didn’t last long.  A relieving kick took play back to the Aldeburgh 22.  From a scrum, Mistley simply passed the ball down their back line and scored.  The conversion was missed.

After 10 minutes, Mistley were penalised for a high tackle.  Despite being against the wind, Ed Robson, fly half, fired a penalty deep into the Mistley 22.  Loud shouts from the spectators claimed that the defender who caught the ball stepped into touch.  Luckily, their pleas were ignored as, inexplicably, the ball was passed infield to Aldeburgh prop, Aaron Tuck, standing on the try line who, after a split second’s hesitation, fell over to score a try.  Ed converted to take Aldeburgh into the lead for the only time in the game.

Another spilled kick led to a Mistley scrum from which again they scored from first phase ball.  Their inside centre was stamping his mark on the game.  The conversion gave a 12-7 lead.

Throughout the game, the referee had been strict on high tackles.  He spoke to the captains about it before issuing a first yellow card to Mistley after 26 minutes.  From the penalty, Aldeburgh came close to scoring another try through Toby Mann but he was held up.  The drop out from under the posts went long resulting in a line out in the Aldeburgh 22, snuffing out any chance of a try. 

Play was getting a little tetchy.  After an altercation, which appeared to be evenly matched, Sam Mann was given a yellow.  Two minutes later another Mistley player went to the bin for a high tackle followed after another three minutes by Ben Watts, captain and full back.  Half time saw Aldeburgh only 12-7 down with the wind behind us.  There was some optimism.

It didn’t come to fruition. After some early pressure from Aldeburgh, Mistley put together a delightful move, recycled the ball quickly and put the inside centre through again.  After ten minutes, the same player put in a cross field kick which enabled their winger to gather and go over.

Aldeburgh simply couldn’t get their hands on the ball to get it to Ed Robson who could have pinned Mistley back in their half.  The wind direction also became more erratic.  Nevertheless, in the last half an hour there was only one more Mistley try taking the final score to 7-31. 

The Aldeburgh players gave their all.  There was gritty defence throughout.  Special mention to Adam Hateley for his scything tackles but that’s not to take anything away from the whole team who kept going to the end.

The last two matches of the season are both away:

April 13th: Colchester 4

April 20th: Harwich

23rd March 2024

Result: Aldeburgh 14 Braintree 26

Brass monkeys shiver

3:00pm on Queens Field and a fresh northerly breeze made even the brass monkeys shiver.

Both teams were able to field a full side although Aldeburgh were missing a few regular players due to injury and sickness.  Our Chief Sports Writer (Joe Booth) had also taken to his bed with some terrible affliction, so the baton was handed to cub reporter P Walkden esq.

Aldeburgh kicked off and managed to camp in Braintree’s 22 for the first five minutes but without success.  A break down the left wing by Braintree’s No. 14 resulted in a try which was converted. 0-7 after 6 minutes.

Some good line passing by Aldeburgh followed by a touch down by prop, Aaron Tuck, converted by Fred Precious levelled the scores very quickly.  It was apparent at this early stage we were going to have a closer contest on our hands than the previous meeting between the teams in December when Braintree had handed out a 48-0 spanking to our boys.

Following the kick off we were pushed back to 10 yards out but the first of many penalties was awarded to Braintree for holding on in the ruck.  The resulting line out was stolen by Aldeburgh, leading to a slick passage of play by our boys in green.  A further penalty missed touch and a further try to Braintree in coffin corner, although there was much debate about a Braintree foot in touch.  The first of many decisions by the officials which were hotly disputed by the spectators. So 7 -12 after 20 minutes.

Not daunted Aldeburgh fought back only to have a try disallowed following a knock on.  Minutes later a further try was disallowed as the ball was deemed to have been held up.  By this time Paddy Allen our head coach was bursting a blood vessel at the decisions against us.  By the 29th minute Aldeburgh were deservedly rewarded a try again converted by Fred Precious, substituting as kicker for the injured Ed Robson. A final first half score to Braintree after a skilful interception.  14-19 at half time represented a gritty performance from Aldeburgh.

A good crowd in excess of 80 braved the showers and stayed into the second half.  A period of mysterious penalties awarded to both sides peppered the second half.  An attacking move by Aldeburgh faltered at the line out on their 22 .  The game was then held up for several minutes as Braintree’s No 12 had taken a knock to the head and had to be helped from the pitch to the usual and appropriate applause from teams and supporters. We later found he went on to A&E – we all hope he has recovered.

The rest of the second half became disjointed given the many and curious penalty decisions.  A scrum to Aldeburgh on the 20th minute was lost resulting in a further try to Braintree which again was converted to take us to 14-26 after 22 minutes.  Further potential for Aldeburgh to make a dent in the scoreline was hampered by a yellow card for a high tackle.

Full time 14-26 but sadly a lot of post match conversations revolved around on field decisions. 

Next Match: Saturday 6th April at home to Mistley 2

2nd March – Queen’s Field

Result: Aldeburgh 12 Clacton 14

A frustrating experience – Mark II

Having been found compliant with ECRU regulations in respect of the team it selected the previous week, Clacton brought another strong team to Aldeburgh this week.  While Aldeburgh had a full squad in numbers, it was still patching together some key combinations.


The Clacton pack was big.  It was obvious from the start that they would run hard at the Aldeburgh defence which they did all afternoon.  The key feature of the match was Aldeburgh’s ferocious tackling.  Many of the players had taken this season’s new ruling to heart by tackling low and hard, scything down Clacton attackers time and again. 

The other dominant factor in the game was the number of penalties awarded by the referee.  The spectators felt that they were predominantly awarded in favour of Clacton but the concern was that there was inconsistency which affected the flow of the game.

The Clacton line out worked well, while Aldeburgh’s was mostly ineffective.  Clacton clearly had the ascendancy in the scrum which prevented Aldeburgh from getting much clean ball but, to their credit, the Aldeburgh pack held reasonably firm and were never taken apart, even when short of numbers.

The first quarter was a stalemate, eventually broken by a penalty by fly half Ed Robson from 40 metres out.  We don’t see many penalties taken at this level.  It was a good tactical decision in an evenly matched game.  A few minutes later, he repeated his success from within the 10 metre line. 

After half an hour, the referee issued a warning to both teams about the number of penalties.  The next offence was by Aldeburgh which meant our No 8 received a yellow card.  At the next scrum, Aldeburgh lock Damian Robertson was loudly vocal about the iniquities of Clacton’s approach (with an implication that the referee was condoning them) which immediately resulted in a totally unnecessary yellow card.  Aldeburgh down to 13.  They held on.  Ed missed another long range penalty but slotted one from the 22 before half time.


Early in the second half, he put over another huge kick from the 10 metre line to give Aldeburgh a 12-0 lead.  We had not conceded even when down to 13.  However, Clacton’s size advantage began to pay off.  From a scrum near the Aldeburgh line, a quick move resulted in the first try of the game which was converted.

Aldeburgh looked as though they had extended their lead when scrum half Jed Gallant, who had been under the cosh all afternoon behind a retreating pack, made a scintillating break, leading to our crossing the line only to be brought back for a forward pass.

There had been an edge throughout the game which boiled over into a fight after 15 minutes of the second half.  A player from each side was given a yellow card.  Unfortunately, Aldeburgh’s was Damian so his was turned into a red. 

Clacton then managed a second converted try, despite what those on the touchline saw as a blatant knock on.  For the final quarter, the score remained the same.  The drama came from penalties.  Aldeburgh chose to run a penalty from in front of the posts and so nearly scored a try but it was deemed to have been held up over the line. A late penalty from a difficult position on the touchline was unsurprisingly missed.  Clacton hung on for a win by the narrowest of margins.

From the players’ and coach’s point of view, this must have been an incredibly frustrating game.  For the spectators it was a gripping spectacle, full of the physical confrontation that good rugby provides.  Aldeburgh continues to bring in new players who are blending into the team’s style.  We also had a new volunteer behind the bar.  Every contribution is vital to the success of our small club.

The result leaves Aldeburgh third in the league.  If we win our remaining five matches we will be promoted.  However, we have to play Braintree who are top of the league and beat us at their ground.  The key fixture will be against Halstead away on 16th March.  Depending on other results, it could be the promotion decider.

Next match: Saturday 9th March v Harwich away.

Next home match: Saturday 23rd March v Braintree

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