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Aldeburgh v Woodbridge 2 - 11th February

A dominant win – eventually

Another week with many changes to the playing personnel but with continuity of style and performance leading to a confident win. A good crowd was bolstered by the many who had attended an enjoyable VP Lunch.

The start made by Woodbridge belied the fact that they had been unable to field a team many times this season. First impressions were that this was going to be a competitive scrap. Then after only four minutes Toby Mann, flanker, went over for an unexpected try which Ed Robson converted. One of the many changes, Ed was filling in at scrum half with Danny Collett back in the team at 10.

Despite the try the rest of the half continued to be closely fought. It required solid tackling by Aldeburgh to keep them out. Ed attempted a penalty from near half way without success. Aldeburgh suffered some injuries. Ben Watts, returning to the team in the centre, had to depart after 20 minutes with a cut to the ear. He was replaced by New Lad (from the same source as Visiting Mate who featured in the match at Mistley on 5th November) who played a solid game. A few minutes later play was stopped while Aonghus Anderson, the other flanker, was cleaned up after suffering a bloody nose from a flailing arm which the referee adjudged to be accidental.

The scrums were well-contested with Aldeburgh just having the edge. Woodbridge were better at gaining the ball in the loose and at winning their line outs. Aldeburgh extended their lead with another penalty from wide on the 22. From then on, Woodbridge were in the ascendant only being kept out by frantic tackling on the Aldeburgh line. The dam finally broke when they took a scrum against the head from which the scrum half picked up and ran straight over.

The final attack of the first half was a missed opportunity for Woodbridge. Their big No 10 broke through with one man to beat. Rather than take him on and look for support, he opted to kick over but failed to regain the ball. Aldeburgh conceded a penalty close to the line which Woodbridge chose to tap and run. The next infringement saw the half end without a further Woodbridge score. 10-7 to the home team at half time, the result remained uncertain.

Having put in a shift at prop in the first half, Lee Buckle threw in his scrum cap but it was a change in the Woodbridge front row which led to uncontested scrums for the whole of the second half. The match continued to be close but Aldeburgh increased their lead through a couple of penalties by Ed Robson, one of which was made possible when we gained ten metres as a result of back chat to the referee by Woodbridge. Penalties have not featured much in the scoring this season but Ed’s accuracy recently has added a dimension to Aldeburgh’s game.

It was clear that Aldeburgh were on top, beginning to exert pressure, when the turning point of the match came 20 minutes into the second half. Woodbridge’s big No 10 put in a scything tackle on Barnaby Knight, centre, using his legs in such a way that would have earned him a yellow card on a football pitch never mind in rugby. Inexplicably, he seemed disgruntled as he departed.

All the play was now in Woodbridge’s 22. One move saw the final pass miss an unmarked Adam Hateley and go straight into touch. Woodbridge tried to run the ball out from deep but were tackled into touch about 30 metres out. Danny Collett took a quick throw to Barnaby Knight who ran incisively before spinning out a superb pass to Ed Robson who scythed through to score.

A few minutes later, Barnaby featured again when it looked as though he had missed a chance by checking to come back inside when he had the opportunity to take on the Woodbridge defence out wide. It worked. He beat another couple of men to get within ten metres of the line. The ball was quickly recycled and Callum Goodwin powered over to score. Callum is another player who has returned to rugby after a break. Normally a centre, he filled in in the second row. His fierce tackling, powerful running and try deservedly saw him named as man of the match.

Having scored two tries during the time Woodbridge were down to 14, Aldeburgh were unlikely to lose a lead of 30-7 when Woodbridge were back to full strength. They did not have to worry. Within a minute of being back on the pitch, their No 10 had a go at an Aldeburgh player to gain his second yellow and compulsory red card.

Woodbridge held on for the last 10 minutes of Aldeburgh pressure, finally buckling to allow Adam Hateley to score. Adam had another fine game, this week in the centre, featuring his trade mark tackling and powerful running. Another player who had a good game was full back, Stephen Anker. Always reliable under the high ball, his versatility in either running back at the opposition elusively or kicking to a good length for the chasers provides a sturdy defence. The less said about his drop goal attempt the better.

This was a tremendous team effort from Aldeburgh with everybody, starting XV and all the replacements, showing commitment to the end.


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