Aldeburgh v Woodbridge II

25th January   King’s Field

Result: Aldeburgh 7 – Woodbridge 88

Great commitment in a challenging season

There is no getting away from the fact that this is a tough season for Aldeburgh.  After a close game away to Harwich the previous week, hopes were high for the home game with Woodbridge, but the opposition were far too strong.  Despite that, the commitment of the Aldeburgh players right to the final whistle showed their character and team spirit which will carry them through.

It was clear from the start that this would be a difficult game.  Woodbridge had powerful, strong-running forwards who even had the upper hand in the set scrums which has been Aldeburgh’s strength this season.  In their No 12, Woodbridge had a player of high quality whose speed, strength and mazy running enabled him to score several tries and set up others.

Throughout the match there were periods when Aldeburgh held their own.  At the end of the first half, they set up a series of drives with such speed that they gained a penalty for offside which they took quickly, drove on and finally bundled over the line.  It was to be the highlight of Aldeburgh’s match.

Every Aldeburgh player kept going to the end so it is invidious to pick out anyone.  Nevertheless, mention must be made of the performance of Rupert Clogg at full back.  At least four times a powerful Woodbridge runner only had Rupert to beat before he flattened them.  His tackling was brave, technically superb and brutal.  He turned defence into attack when, picking up a long kick into the corner on his own try line, he broke to the half way line before he was brought down.  He kicked the conversion too.

Aldeburgh v Harwich & Dovercourt II

18th January   Harwich

Result: Harwich 36 - Aldeburgh 28

Progress and a Bonus Point

A match played in a good spirit continued the great progress made by Aldeburgh in the new year and was rounded off with a bonus point try.

With a bright sun shining low into Aldeburgh's faces in the first half, on a sodden pitch, in places a quagmire which made scrummaging difficult and with only 15 players it could have been a difficult start.  However, Harwich offered to help out if needed, a spirit which permeated the whole game. 

Aldeburgh received from the kick off, took the play into Harwich's half and kept it there until Jake Hateley scored the first try after five minutes, converted by Rupert Clogg.  Harwich fought back and, although Aldeburgh had the measure of them in the scrums, managed to get the next try in the 18th minute but did not convert.  Despite conceding another two tries in the first half, Aldeburgh's spirits remained high.  Half time score: Harwich 17 Aldeburgh 7.

Although Aldeburgh kicked off the second half with the sun on their backs, they conceded another two converted tries in quick succession.  Nevertheless, Aldeburgh fought back, Callum Goodwin scoring in the 51st minute (to add to his unacknowledged try last week).  Rupert again converted.  Caught off guard at the kick off, Aldeburgh allowed Harwich to barrel through for an unconverted try which turned out to be their last score.

In the 60th, John Hunt went over, again converted by Rupert.  After much back and forth play, Jake Hateley got a second try in the last minute followed by a cracking kick from Rupert for the conversion.  

Probably the best performance of the season gave a four try bonus point, narrowly missing out on a losing bonus point.  Ed Robson at No 10 was man of the match for his excellent kicking game.  

Aldeburgh v Maldon II

11th January   King’s Field

Result: Aldeburgh: 5 Maldon: 49

A Game of Yellows

Depending on your point of view, this match was decided either by the ill-discipline of the Aldeburgh players or by a referee who was keen to demonstrate that he was in control.

After a well-contested first 20 minutes, the game was balanced with a single try to Maldon.  The pattern of the game was set to continue throughout.  Maldon won every line out bar one; Aldeburgh dominated the set scrums; the rucks and mauls were even; but Maldon kept the ball moving more effectively.  The game could have gone either way.  Aldeburgh’s attacking potential was demonstrated early on when James Cook scythed through.

After warning Aldeburgh about giving away too many penalties, the next offender got a yellow card.  Hard to see from the touchline what the problem was.  A minute before he was due to return, a second Aldeburgh player received a yellow for a somewhat clumsy offside challenge, hardly even a tackle.  Harsh decision at this level.

By the time Aldeburgh returned to full strength early in the second half the score was 32-0 and the contest was over.  Maldon’s ability to keep the ball moving through the hands would have been a challenge with a full team but with a man down they always had an extra man to pass to.

To be fair, they scored a further three tries in the second half.  It just wasn’t Aldeburgh’s day.  Ben Atherton broke from the half way line to score under the posts only for play to be brought back for a penalty to Maldon.  (It wasn’t clear why he was not brought back sooner.)  Then Aldeburgh destroyed the Maldon scrum only for the ball to pop out of one of our player’s hands, straight to a Maldon player who whipped his pass away.  Five passes later, they scored under the posts.

A game that was threatening to peter out flared back into life with a few minutes left after an altercation led to a yellow card for each team.  This seemed to fire up Aldeburgh who surged forward from the penalty they were awarded from the incident.  Jon Hall charged through, the forwards supported him with a passion, went down the pitch and scored.  For the last stage of the game, Aldeburgh used their big forwards, principally James Ledger and Tristan Revell, to drive hard into the Maldon pack, gaining metres every time.  It showed again what a close contest this could have been without the cards.