Bracknell Back to Winning Ways - Match Report by Coach Warner
By Ross McMurray
9.45am on a Sunday morning and a bright yellow ball was in the sky (later discovered to be the sun) and soft green stuff under foot, which was not recognised by the Bracknell players but we believe was grass. The hottest day of the year at 19°C and a gre
The warm up started slowly and after a few harsh truths about recent results not reflecting the great work put in during training the switch was flicked. The players all got their game faces on and their head into some proper warm ups, going through the phases with lovely slick touch rugby and a bit of breakout running for the backs and line out work for the pack.
And so to the game, scheduled for 3 x 15 minute thirds. The psychological advantage was had before the players even walked on the pitch with the Beaconsfield coach telling his boys ‘don’t worry about the size of those monsters’! And monsters we were, from the first lofted kick off it was obvious that the Bracknell GREEN MACHINE was here to play rugby.
The first 15 minute period was all about defence with Bracknell not giving an inch and largely camped out in the Beaconsfield half. The coaches asked for two things from the outset and that was COMMITMENT and TEAMWORK. With a few regular players missing and a few new players getting a taste of competitive rugby we were out of the blocks and blowing away the cobwebs with good endeavour. The first period, whilst eventful, ended 0-0 and with a little more composure Bracknell could have been going into the break ahead.
The second period saw puffing cheeks head out for another head down and battering performance and the breaks started to come with great pack work to secure the ball. Callum Cooper and Sean Middleton combined well at the breakdown and with William Field marshalling the ball up front the backs started to get a feel for the pitch. With the scrum being dominant (not losing their own put-in all day) the front row of Middleton, Oliver Warner and Paul Studd were locking horns with a smaller but lower set pack and they adjusted well. Sonit joined the fray and added some bulk to the running (and tackling) and the scene was set.
Bracknell drew first blood with the backs combining well with Thomas Wells distribution confident, despite being outsized across the park, and Michael Dykes playing a captains innings in attack and defence. We started to see Jeyson's sprinting attributes and the breaks were starting to come. A slick bit of work from Nathan James and Jeyson was off to the races… 1- 0 to Bracknell.
That one try score line seemed to be the well-deserved but Beaconsfield were not going to let us get away, their forwards battered at the door and managed to create enough space to level the score quickly (despite dogged defence from Sohit and Cooper on the line) only for Bracknell to have an amazing kick off tracked down by the ever willing backs to quickly return the game to 2-1 Bracknell.
The back row were starting to crank up the line out. With Warner straight with the throw all day and Field calling the shots, Harry Worm & Cooper were up like salmon and the ball looked secure. Tackling had improved and all of a sudden more scores looked likely. Every time Beaconsfield broke with some great attacking lines they were met with bone crunching tackles from Louis Williams, James Miller and Nathan White and invariably when there was a lineout or scrum the Green Machine felt they had the measure of a dogged and determined Beaconsfield side (whose parents were screaming for more knowing that their side was expecting a win and frustrated they had come up against such a willing Bracknell team).
Two Beaconsfield possible trys were held up by Sohit and Worm’s obvious strength which kept the score in Bracknell’s favour when the second break came. Positive words were said, changes were made and those feeling the pace and the effects of the smashes looked weary but their hearts were still in it.
A new front row of Sohit, Field and Studd kept performing well and Middleton trying his hand at second row saw the same results and brought fresh legs into play. With Dykes and Tom Johnson magnificent with the boot the pressure that Beaconsfield were exerting was being kept at bay allowing Scott Harman, Jeyson, White, Miller and James to sprint for every long ball and pressure every line. And then the decisive plays came. Territory was relinquished by an ever trying Beaconsfield and Bracknell scored again through the backs which took the score to 3-1 and it looked like the game was won.
THEN THE TWIST. When it looked like Bracknell were in the driving seat a quick try from the home side saw us pegged back to 3-2 and the pressure was on. Territory was lost, dog legs started to appear and the question was could the team brush off the feeling of defeats that had so far been frustrating their season to feel like winners and kill off the game. A hard fought morning would come down to the next 6 minutes…
The backs fitness started to show with Dykes making a majestic double tackle, popping up from the first one to catch his second man giving the forwards the time to trundle in, Warner and Studd arriving late but adding to the back with power and Wells given time to get his head up and spot the gaps, first the blind side with Miller and at the next breakdown Dykes, Jeyson and James were the ones on the overlap. With Harman patrolling the backs any breaks from the home side were quickly extinguished and another Jeyson electrifying burst of pace meant the score line moved to 4-2 (despite the ref telling the home side it was 3-2 at the ensuing kick-off to be quickly corrected by the Bracknell Captain Dykes with Robshaw like authority!).
So the game was won? Unfortunately the visiting parents had to wait to see if the home side could claw it back as the refs last 4 minutes turned into 10+! After more excellent work by Cooper and Field in defence and Worm finding his rhythm and Studd getting on every loose ball the backs started to kick the right balls away and run back the one coming their way. One last line out on the Bracknell 5m line, a short throw, a lapse in concentration and the home side had a consolation try. The whistle went and Bracknell were the worthy victors.
4-3 was a much needed win but more importantly it was an all-round team performance with the COMMITMENT and TEAM WORK that had been asked for right at the forefront of everything good. A few calmer heads at important times, extra fitness in parts of the pack and maybe a bit more trust in our pace would have seen the score line wider but that would have just been greedy. Why win easily went you can make everyone on the touchline have to bite their nails and sweat it out to the bitter end!
Great all round performance, 50-55 minutes of solid hard work and players looking too tired to do the warm down at the end. Smiling faces, happy parents and a real performance to be proud of, just the shot in the arm before we head off to The Abbey Shield!
Well done – when boys became men…