Aldeburgh v Mistley 2s
5th February – at Queen’s Field
Result: Aldeburgh 17 Mistley 42
Good effort, frustrating game
After beating Mistley away earlier in the season, Aldeburgh’s developing squad had reason to be optimistic for this game. However, Mistley brought two or three players who were not just an improvement on their previous team but a class above. They made all the difference.
Aldeburgh made a bright start using their trademark forward drives with James Ledger and Jon Hunt leading the way. Within a few minutes, Mistley responded with forward drives of their own. A penalty was kicked deep into the corner. A good line out and drive took them over the line but they were held up. The subsequent drop out from the try line was knocked on but Mistley showed their dominance at the scrum from which their fly half stepped inside. The pack came in to support and drove over under the posts for the first score which was converted.
The next 15 minutes was give and take with Aldeburgh increasingly gaining an advantage by moving the ball wider. Scrum half, Jed Gallant, made a superb break. While Mistley retained their dominance in the scrum, the Aldeburgh pack held them enough to get usable ball. Indeed, the move which led to Aldeburgh’s first try began with a pick up from the base of a scrum by Lewis Wardell Bird, who had another splendid game in the back row. Good linking play got the ball to Adam Hateley, playing in the centre this week, who finished well. Ed Robson’s conversion was a superb effort against the wind but it was too strong for him. 5-7 after 20 minutes. Game on.
At this stage, one of Mistley’s outstanding players, having picked up the ball on the wing, simply powered his way through several attempted tackles to score a fine try. Their kicker had an exceptional afternoon by kicking all the conversions despite the difficult conditions in such a strong, blustery wind. Soon afterwards, the strength of Mistley’s running was again too much giving them a 5-21 lead.
Against the run of play, the last ten minutes of the first half belonged totally to Aldeburgh as a result of keeping the ball moving wide. They showed their versatility when the ball came to Jon Hunt, second row, in the outside centre channel who sidestepped so outrageously that he sent the whole of Mistley’s back line the wrong way and opened up a gap for him to run through and beat the covering defence to the line. Somehow, Ed Robson converted into the wind.
More strong runs, this time featuring Johnny Martin, having another good game in the back row, and expansive back moves gave Danny Collett, centre, enough space to drive over. 17-21 at half time with Aldeburgh having the momentum.
Mistley made a strong start to the second half, bringing their powerful runners into play. However, the game changed its complexion after four minutes when Aldeburgh’s winger, Toby Keane, was injured. There was a ten minute delay until he was helped to walk, very gingerly, from the pitch. Not having any subs available, for the remainder of the game Aldeburgh were a man short. From a scrum after the restart, Mistley went over for another converted try and a few minutes later, their No 15 ran unstoppably from half way to make the score 17-35 with twenty minutes to go.
Aldeburgh’s defence was heroic for the rest of the game. Another injury (a bang on the head for Robert Poll, full back) took them down to 13 but Mistley sacrificed a player so that there was still only a one man advantage. It was only in the final few minutes that, after some scrappy play, Mistley managed to score one more try. Final score: 17-42
Despite Mistley having a few outstanding players, Aldeburgh showed towards the end of the first half that they could compete. It was going to be tough but once they were at a numerical disadvantage, it became a rearguard action. As always, they showed guts and determination to keep battling until the end.
It was good to see that, despite the bitter wind, a good crowd of VPs turned out to support the team.