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Aldeburgh v Ipswich 3

11th November – Queen's Field

Result: Aldeburgh 55 Ipswich 7

A Special Day in the Life of our Club

The first VP Lunch held in our own clubhouse was followed by another dominant win by Aldeburgh which took us to the top of the league. A great deal of work was put in by several members of the committee to make the lunch happen. It brought the VPs, many regulars plus some welcome new faces, into much closer contact with the team – a contact which we all want to foster.

Before the lunch, the Club President, Derek Wyatt, was presented with two framed photographs by Beccy Smithers, the wife of the late Eamonn McCabe, the great sports photographer whose last assignment was when he graciously spent an afternoon at our club last year. They will be embellishments to our clubhouse of which we will be rightly proud.

On to the rugby. It has to be said that yet again Aldeburgh had several changes of personnel with only 14 on the pitch at the kick off, two of whom were playing in their first home match for the club. Nevertheless, there is an underlying strength in the squad which enabled Aldeburgh to dominate from the kick off. The improved commitment to training began to show through on the pitch.

The first line out was stolen by Aldeburgh. Ed Robson, playing another commanding game at fly half, put a cross kick into touch deep in the Ipswich 22. A messy line out was cleared up by hooker, Elliott Clarke-Gifford, who made ground and linked with the backs enabling scrum half, Fred Precious, to go over for the first try after just 9 minutes.

Ipswich had a big, powerful set of forwards who pushed Aldeburgh back in the scrums but not quite enough to disrupt the ball. No 8 Chris Outten was rightly named as man of the match for the way in which he controlled the feed from the scrum, ran powerfully and generally made his presence felt across the field. After 14 minutes, scrum ball came back to full back, Ben Watts (another whose strong running made an impact throughout the game) who linked with outside centre, Callum Goodwin, who in turn timed his pass to perfection to put new flanker, Kylan Saunders over with space to run under the posts to score. After a long break from rugby following a knee injury, let’s hope that this taste of scoring will encourage him to regain his fitness and play more.

The next try came from a superb kick chase by Callum Goodwin (who was outstanding all afternoon). He tackled the full back so hard the ball was dislodged. Ed Robson followed up to dribble the ball over the line and get to it first for the try.

A few minutes later, yet another powerful run by Callum was followed up by Fred Precious who delivered a delightful pass out of the back of his hand for Kylan to go over for his second. Ed converted again to establish a lead of 24-0 after 25 minutes. Ipswich had not been in Aldeburgh’s half.

Ipswich had no answer to Aldeburgh’s strong and intelligent running. When Ipswich did get the ball, their big men simply ran straight into the man in front of them. Aldeburgh (both backs and forwards) picked better lines to hit spaces, crossing the gain line with every run. The pressure soon told when Fred Precious took a tap from a penalty awarded at the line out, passing to Jon Hunt who charged over. Jon was playing in the second row and captaining the side in the continued absence through injury of Freddie Burgess.

Two minutes later, Fred featured again, rescuing the ball from the back of a retreating scrum to set winger Adam Hateley away. Adam got the ball back to Fred who moved it on to Toby Mann for him to get the try. Toby played well in the centre (rather than his usual back row role) and joined the line outs as principal jumper. An all round performance.

When we thought there was no time left for any more scores, a forward surge saw the other new flanker, Alex Cox, cross the line. A magnificent first half of running rugby saw Aldeburgh score seven tries, three of which Ed converted, without Ipswich threatening once. We even finished the half with 15 men. One of the new players texted a mate before kick off to say we were short. He came to the ground via his mum’s to pick up his kit which he had not worn for some years, came on late and scored a try in the second half.

After such excitement in the first half, the pace could not be kept up in the second. Ipswich began to make ground with their bludgeoning tactics. After 10 minutes, Alex Cox was shown a yellow card, harshly to the minds of the home supporters, for bad language. There was a stalemate while he was off. When he returned, Aldeburgh scored again as a result of a move through the backs which provided the ball to stand in winger, James Squires. Unfortunately, Alex then put in a tackle which was high leading to his second yellow, reducing Aldeburgh to 14 for the last 15 minutes. Ipswich took advantage by finally making their forward weight tell, with the large No 3 flopping over the line.

The final score was Aldeburgh’s when Ed flung out one of his huge passes to Callum who gathered it and bounced the defenders out of the way to score. Ed put over a final conversion. With only a minute left, another yellow card saw Chris Outten leaving the field for inadvertently making contact with an opponent’s face while trying to jackal the ball out of the loose. It made no difference to the outcome.

This was a great team performance – exhilarating in the first half, brave and dogged in the second. It puts Aldeburgh three points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand. The next three Saturdays will bring sterner challenges. Away to Clacton next week who have had some good results. Then both of the teams which were relegated last year who should provide the toughest tests of the season.

Next match: Saturday 18th November Away to Clacton 2

Next home match: Saturday 2nd December v Halstead


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