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Aldeburgh v Mersea II - 17th September

Aldeburgh v Mersea II

Queen’s Field

Result: Aldeburgh 19 Mersea 50

O to be in Aldeburgh (or more specifically at the Queen’s Field)… …now that September’s there. A good crowd, a full squad, a well-matched opposition, sunshine and camaraderie and a surprisingly moving minute’s silence for Her late Majesty all contributed to a splendid start to the season. The only thing missing was a win.

From the start, there was strong running from both sides. Well-matched, contested scrums saw pick ups by the Aldeburgh No. 8 and new captain, Freddie Burgess, switches of play by ever-reliable scrum half Jed Gallant and probing kicks by fly half Ed Robson. Ed followed up one of his kicks with a brilliant tackle on the Mersea line, leading to a 5 metre scrum but eventually Mersea cleared their lines.

After ten minutes cut and thrust, we saw the first strike from the Mersea rapier, when Aldeburgh ran out of tacklers and their left wing raced down the touch line to score. An immediate response saw Aldeburgh making a move at the front of a line out ten metres from Mersea’s line. A high tackle gave another penalty from which James Ledger powered over for the first try of the season. The conversion was missed to bring the scores to 5-7.

The rest of the first half was filled with competitive rugby – strong running from the forwards, lively movement from the backs but no real penetration from either side. Perhaps there were signs of early season rustiness in some of the failures to link up to keep continuity.

After 30 minutes, Aldeburgh suffered a couple of injuries. Robert Poll, full back, twisted his knee as he was about to set off on one of his mazy runs. A minute later, James Ledger took a bang on the head which ended his involvement in the match. Aldeburgh continued to be competitive until a minute before half time when Mersea broke from the half way line with a searing run to the line which was converted. Half time score 5 – 14.

A close, competitive first half gave no indication of what was about to come. Within four minutes of the start of the second half, Mersea had scored two blistering tries. The first started in their own 22 with their centre who ran through the entire Aldeburgh team to score in the corner. In no time, the left winger raced down the touchline for another try. Suddenly, Aldeburgh were down by 5 -26.

They surged back by playing to the strengths of their forwards. The bludgeon came out to counter the rapier. A series of forward charges by Aldeburgh led to an outbreak of ‘handbags’ showing just how competitive the game was. Another penalty to Aldeburgh was tapped and run. From a ruck on the line, back row Aonghus Anderson twisted over to touch down. In the blustery wind, Ed Robson had the presence of mind to drop the conversion.

More pressure from Aldeburgh. A fine run down the touchline by winger Ollie Pick nearly resulted in a try but the ball was ripped from him on the line. Aldeburgh were awarded a series of penalties until Freddie Burgess powered over for his first try of the season. The conversion brought the score to 19 – 26. Could this be an omen? The year of the Queen’s birth. Were we about to see a long and glorious reign?

Unfortunately not, as the game went on, the speed of the Mersea backs tore holes in the tiring Aldeburgh defence as they ran in a further four tries to record a final score of 19 – 50.

The whole Aldeburgh team, including subs, put in a tremendous effort. Ed Robson had a splendid game at fly half. However, they would be the first to admit that on the day they were beaten by a better team and, more harshly, they were not fit enough. Despite that, hopefully they all enjoyed a cracking game, a good match tea (courtesy of Tristan Revell, former captain, currently injured) and a social time in the clubhouse.

(Thanks to Paul Walkden and Charlie Burgess for their contributions to this report.)


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