Last gasp win for Bracknell U13B Stormers versus Maidenhead in Berkshire Cup
By John Halley
Report by Ian Manners
Due to Bracknell’s unplayable pitches because of the recent heavy rain local rivals Maidenhead sportingly agreed to change the Berkshire Cup group fixture to their Braywick Ground on Sunday morning 10th February.
On a dull drizzly morning with a strong bitterly cold wind blowing down the pitch Maidenhead kicked off into the wind and camped themselves in Bracknell’s half for the next seven minutes. The Stormers defended really well and eventually broke the deadlock after a great run from the Stormers own line by right wing Conor McGee. Conor ran the length of the pitch only to be stopped 5 metres short after a great covering tackle by the Maidenhead’s right wing. Maidenhead were penalised for going off their feet at the ensuing ruck. From the mark, scrum half Ollie Bland popped a pass to prop Jensen Harpin, who crashed over the line to score, 5-0 to Bracknell.
Straight from the kick off and because of some poor tackling by Bracknell Maidenhead scored in the corner a minute later, 5-5.
The game continued with some handling errors from both sides due to the cold conditions until on 20 minutes, again after poor tackling by Bracknell, Maidenhead scored, 10-5. Three minutes later again from his own line Conor McGee, who was by now playing with supreme confidence, ran the length of the pitch and this time outpaced the Maids defence to score an excellent try, 10-10.
Two minutes later the Maids scored again and Bracknell found themselves 15-10 down at half time.
The Stormers made several substitutions at half time and after some good pressure and quick line speed by the backs they forced the Maidenhead inside centre to drop a pass. Centre Zach Pugh was on it in a flash and picked up to equalise on 28 minutes, 15-15.
Two minutes later after sustained pressure by Bracknell Peter Olszewski, who was making his debut for Bracknell at No. 8 picked up the ball at the back of a ruck to drive over the whitewash, 20-15 to the Stormers.
By now Bracknell were beginning to control the game and were attacking at every opportunity. A pop pass to Jensen two metres out and he crashed over to score his second, 25-15.
Unfortunately with 10 minutes to play Bracknell began to lose focus and after more missed tackles allowed Maidenhead to score two quick tries in the 44th and 45th minute to draw level, 25-25.
With 5 minutes remaining the Stormers rallied and kept battling away and began to control the game again. After a knock on by Maidenhead on Bracknell’s 10 metre line Bracknell were awarded the scrum. Dylan Aplin who had come on at scrum half for Ollie Bland got the ball away quickly to fly half, Geoffrey Manners who ran straight at his opposite number, sidestepped left and then sidestepped right to race through the gap at inside centre to then sidestep the Maidenhead fullback and outpace the defence from 40 metres out and touchdown, 30-25 to the Stormers.
A minute later and the referee blew the whistle for full time.
In spite of some missed tackles the Stormers never gave up and they all contributed as a team for a deserved win.
Ollie Froud played well at full back particularly in attack. Ollie Bland at scrum half put in an inspirational and gutsy performance to deservedly be awarded Man of the Match.