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Woodbridge 2 v Aldeburgh

27th January – Woodbridge


Woodbridge 27 Aldeburgh 38

End to end contest in the sunshine

Before getting into the match report, let me pass on the appreciation of the Coach and players for the travelling support they enjoyed.  I reckon there were more supporters for Aldeburgh than for Woodbridge which made for a great atmosphere.  The watching VPs were treated to a cracking game of rugby on a perfect afternoon for watching, followed by an enjoyable session in the bar.

Although Aldeburgh fielded a strong team, only 13 of the starting XV were ours.  Sadly, captain Freddie Burgess had to accept in the warm up that is was too soon to return from his achilles injury.  One player departed after 3 minutes having realised that nine years since his last match was too long a gap.  Adam Hateley left at half time to catch a train to his weekend away which he had delayed in order to play at least half a match.  On the other hand, Peter Mann got away from his farming duties to get on the pitch before the end of the first half.  It wouldn’t happen like this in the Premiership.

Woodbridge had plenty of players available whom they shared in the spirit of the RFU’s ‘Game On’ protocol so the whole game was played with 15 a side and contested scrums.

It was clear from the start that this match was not going to be a repeat of the home fixture when Aldeburgh totally dominated the whole game.  We did get the first score when a passage of adept passing opened a gap for fly half Ed Robson to get over the line before converting his own try.  But Woodbridge came straight back.  They had some big, powerful runners who were a handful all afternoon.  Their first try came directly from a strong run; their second from a burst from his own half by the big centre who then linked slickly with the backs outside him.  The second try was converted.

Replying in like fashion, Aldeburgh began to bring our strong running full back, Ben Watts, into the game.  From a line out, which Aldeburgh dominated throughout with the jumping of Toby Mann, the ball came to Ben who made ground powerfully.  After it was recycled, he was able to make the break to score.  Ed again converted.

The final score of the first half went to Woodbridge through sheer force of bodies piling in to score a somewhat messy try.  The missed conversion meant that they only had a three point lead at half time despite being three tries to two up.

The second half continued in the same vein with the teams swapping tries like a pair of prize fighters exchanging blows.  Aldeburgh applied early pressure which generated a series of penalties in the Woodbridge 22 from which prop Matt Elias finally powered over.  Ed again converted.

It looked as though Aldeburgh were getting the upper hand.  A series of drives and good linking play by the forwards got the ball to Ed with two men on the overlap but the ball went to ground.  Nevertheless, the pressure continued leading to a tap penalty from which Toby Mann, No 8, barged over.  Although the conversion was missed it opened up a lead of 26-17. 

In the final quarter, the Woodbridge backs started to play fluently.  Previously, they had relied on individual strength and power without seeming able to co-ordinate.  Perhaps I missed a substitution but they put together flowing moves leading to two tries.  They were looking good.

In between these tries, Aldeburgh snatched a fortuitous but well-taken opportunist try through winger Fred Precious.  When a Woodbridge player dropped the ball, Fred hacked on from his own half, picked the ball up and raced away to score.

Going into the last ten minutes, there were only two conversions between the teams.  It could have been anybody’s match.  Woodbridge were threatening, Aldeburgh reduced to scrambling, gutsy defence.  A clearing kick took us down the pitch.  We stole another line out ball.  From a series of rucks, scrum half Jed Gallant picked out hard running forwards who recycled quickly.  Two or three such drives gained ground and sucked in the Woodbridge pack.  Jed then moved the ball out to Ed Robson who made the decisive break and converted his own try.  There was no time for Woodbridge to respond.

Every player gave their all in a spirited performance.  A particular shout out to former chairman Lee Barber who completed the full 80 minutes in the second row including some sparkling passing late in the game. 


Next Match: Saturday 3rd February at home to Bury St Edmunds 4.  Kick off 2pm


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