Bracknell Romp Past Reading
By Christopher Butcher
The Green Machine was battered into submission by a seemingly endless wave of Bracknell pressure
Another weekend of this roller-coaster ride of a rugby season has passed into the history books and with it a monkey that has been on our backs for far too long, a green-and-white striped monkey called Reading RFC.
Reading have always been our nemesis team and are a large, tough, street-smart team at our age group who grow an extra leg when playing against us. Mark Alexander is a superb coach and very competitive. He knows just how to get his young men to peak when taking the field against us and I don’t think we will ever have an easy game against any team he coaches.
That, and the fact that Reading is one of the very few teams we have lost a match to this season (we lost to them 1-0 at the Reading Festival), puts todays whole squad’s performance today into sharp perspective.
Our B’s started the day’s proceedings v Reading B’s in swashbuckling style, playing beautiful joined up attacking rugby, stringing phase after phase together and moving the point of attack so quickly that the Reading defence simply didn’t have a price. Strong scrummaging, committed rucking and lovely running lines in the backs had the crowd spellbound with the result, and inevitable W to the good guys. Every player on the pitch played his heart out but special mention can be made of Brad Lovell, in his first game for the B’s having an absolute blinded at hooker and Oli Hand at scrum half with a truly stunning performance. Aggie got through a mountain of work and captained his side superbly.
Our C’s then put in perhaps the performance of the day against their Reading counterparts and completely destroyed them, running in try after try without reply. Our C’s tend to get a rough deal playing the bulk of their rugby against oppo A-and B-teams and its only when they come up against genuine C-team opposition that one is able to see how good a team they actually are. We can be tremendously proud that these young rugby players chose to pursue their rugby aspirations at Bracknell rather than seek higher honours at a smaller club as so many of these boys and girls could if they chose to.
It was then up to the A’s to close out the day against a fearsome Reading A-Team. The first half was characterised by wave after wave of Reading attacks, with scrums and rucks brutally contested. We held them out by dint of massively committed defence and sheer guts and determination. At half time, the boys were a little shell-shocked by the power and ferocity of the Reading attack but their grim resolve carried them into the second half hungry for the win. Reading seemed shattered, their confidence sapped by our defence in the first half and we started winning ball and playing our trademark champagne rugby. Our scrum began to dominate and with Matt van Heerde courageously carrying the ball up time and again against a defence who spent most of the day on the wrong side of the offside line. In this manner, we slowly built momentum until Sam ran a beautiful line off a van Heerde crash ball and went in for a spectacular power-try to seal the win. In addition, special mention needs to be made of Ieuan at the breakdown and on defence, James Walford in the scums and Jamie Brown who played out of his boots today.
All in all, it was an exceptional squad performance with wins across the board against our strongest local opposition. Our boys showed tremendous skill and character and earned the respect of opposition players, coaches and parents alike. I fielded two enquiries from opposition parents about whether their kids could transfer to Bracknell next season, which is about the best praise we could receive!
I will be sending out an email regarding the LR Cup and Richmond this coming weekend during the week.