Academy produce fine win on the road
By The Real Hummers
Abingdon U18 Colts 0 - 53 Bracknell U18 Academy - Match report by Martin Radford
A longish journey, an unusually early start, and the clocks changing could have be a recipe for disaster this morning and of course potential disruptions to match-day preparations. However, the match-day squad arrived on time and in good spirit for this friendly fixture with Abingdon RFC.
The objectives were simple today, create space through running lines, ruck effectively and execute the game plan clinically. Broadly, against a committed Abingdon XV this was achieved, in what became a composed performance where much was learnt.
In any good performance there are of course work-ons, in particular upright ball carrying with the ball exposed to the opposition and a lack of vision at times. The result was a few turn overs and overlaps ignored during the 1st half. These will be corrected on the training paddock in the coming weeks.
Today, Bracknell created try's, and also exploited the home teams mistakes well. The focus from the start was good, the movement off the ball even better, particularly in the back three, they attacked with pace and illusive lines of running. This was complimented by the ball carrying up front, it was destructive at times, playing off both 9 & 10. The team settled in to their structures quickly, it was direct and challenging for the home team - the fluent and precise attacks made the most of the go forward generated by the forward pack and this led to a 1st half try fest.
James Taylor scored first, finishing off a flowing move from right to left were Matt Bowers left his wing to create the extra man.
The excellent Tim Cato, nursing a sore head (?) finished off the next opportunity which began with a speculative kick ahead that was recovered by a spirited kick chase by Matt Bowers.
Jamie Brown ran the next score in from 40 meters out, breaking down a narrow but unguarded blindside.
Bracknell next exploited a dropped pass in the Abingdon midfield and attacked left, were the defence was stacked - the option was right, where the defence was sparse - however, Harry Baker made it over in the corner. This is where ‘vision’ & ‘heads up rugby’ was required to spot & exploit opportunity - a better organised loaded defence would have snuffed out that try.
James Barratt scored next, again in the left hand corner - James backed himself and with the help of a few drove over.
Tim Cato snapped up a lose ball on the home sides 22, and feed Ben Stevens who stepped his way over and from the resultant kick off receipt Alex Robinson bust the initial tackle and race in from the halfway line.
So after 7 tries and 3 Ben Stevens conversions, Bracknell led 41-0.
The changes were made at half time, and following a slow start to the half Bracknell's dominance continued with two further try's.
James Barratt scored his second with Jason Robinson style step and go, which wrong footed the defence and James ran beneath the sticks. Joe Pollard converted.
The final score was created by the impressive Chris Berwick, who was now gaining yards at will, bullocking his way forward. He was brought down short of the line, where Ben Cotton had the awareness to pick and drive over from short range.
This completed the scoring and Bracknell had completed a relatively clinical performance with a resounding 53-0 win.
Alex Robinson and Josh Johnson finished the game in the green and yellow of Abingdon as the home team picked up some late injuries - a huge thanks to them for supporting Abingdon.
Coming on a half time Andrew McNeil put in his best display of the season - he scrummaged & carried well plus put in two crunching tackles - Andrew was deservedly today's man of the match.
The coaches were very pleased with today's display, yes there are work-ons, but this squad is now becoming highly competitive and we face some tough decisions as selection for the first round of league games creeps ever closer.
See you Thursday lads, and congratulations to the Bracknell boys representing Berkshire U18’s today, a game they won against Dorset & Wiltshire.