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Updated: Apr 25

13th April – Colchester

Result: Colchester 17 Aldeburgh 41

End of season friendly in the sunshine

With only five players available so far for the Harwich match next week, there was every likelihood that this would be Aldeburgh’s last game of the season.  No result could alter the final league standings of either team.  What was in effect an old fashioned ‘friendly’ in the sunshine was nevertheless played with whole hearted commitment by both teams.

As so often recently, Aldeburgh fielded a team of core regulars supplemented by a variety of recently acquired helpers.  For the first 15 minutes, the well-established Colchester team looked as though they would wreak havoc on the Aldeburgh assemblage.  Their number 12 looked particularly dangerous.  Determined tackling enabled Aldeburgh to prevent a score despite showing every sign of having been introduced to each other just before the kick off.

And then after 15 minutes, the Colchester backs dropped the ball, Fred Precious, on the wing this week, picked up, hacked on, passed to Ben Watts who linked with Jed Gallant who still had a lot to do to make the line for the first try.  Lewis Wardell Bird, playing prop, converted.  It began to look as though 15 minutes was enough practice together for the Aldeburgh team to start playing coherently.

A few minutes later, Fred collected a deep Colchester clearing kick, flicked it inside to Adam Hateley, the other winger, who ran, passed back to Fred for him to set off on a cross field run before linking with prop Aaron Tuck who powered over. 

From then on the game was characterised by powerful runs by Aldeburgh, David Rix at flanker was outstanding in this regard.  The other flanker, Toby Mann, joined in.  Toby even passed the ball occasionally.  An unusual line up featured Jon Hunt, usually a flanker or second row, at fly half.  In previous reports, I have credited Jon with ‘outrageous’ dummies.  To describe the string of dummies he sold in this game, I need recourse to the thesaurus.  I’m tempted by ‘of the first water, vintage, classic, exquisite.’ Take your pick.  Paddy Allen was heard to comment that one could almost see Jon writing the email to tell the opposition that a dummy was coming but when he hit the Send button they still bought it.  His first took him on a run from half way to score the final try of the first half to give Aldeburgh a lead of 27-0.

For inexplicable reasons, Aldeburgh played with their shirts reversed to show their alternative colours at the beginning of the second half.  They shipped two tries before changing back to their regular strip.  A coincidence?  I don’t think so.

Aldeburgh scored a couple more tries to one by Colchester in the second half.  Jon Hunt continued to throw dummies.  Ben Watts, David Rix and Fred Precious made several strong runs, Adam Hateley scythed down anyone who came near him.  Both teams gave it their all despite the warm conditions and hard pitch.  Sadly, the final moment of the game saw David Rix lying prone with a dislocated shoulder.  We wish him a speedy recovery.

Colchester is a huge club with superb facilities which maintains a good spirit throughout.  Their fourth team always provide a competitive match played hard and fair even when losing. 

Updated: Apr 25

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

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