Romans lock horns with the Rams.
The Romans marched West to Berkshire last weekend to lock horns with Old Redingensians Rams. On a dank afternoon, a number of familiar faces – in the sculpted shapes of Matt Deane, Joe Peach, Ross Hamilton and Nick Foster – were returning to the fold from a mix of injury, travels and paternity mayhem. All talk of ribs, bibs and jet-setting were put to one side as the Romans approached what promised to be a close and physical encounter with high hopes.
Unfortunately, the game got off to a supremely soggy start for the As with an early Rams try out wide from first phase ball. Not good! Worse was to follow in an error strewn first quarter, with hard-hitting hooker Mike Bond having to leave the fray through injury and a further score in the corner for the Reading winger.
10-0 down and backs against the wall, the Romans clambered back into the game with some better phase play and a big step-up on the defensive front. A quick throw in by Foster unleashed the cavalry and led to a good spell of Romans pressure. The ship was now steadied and a Joe Hearle pen brought the score to 10-3 at the half.
The second period showed continued improvements in both attack and defence with Charlie Dodd making a big impact from the bench and the whole team really pulling together. Mid-way through, a sweeping six-phase move ended with a beautifully floated Joe Hearle pass to Nick Foster and the As full back gliding over for a sumptuous score. Conversion was good, 10-10 and game on!
The rest of the match as hard-fought arm wrestle which seemed to be swinging OAs way with a ‘Hearle Howitzer’ of a pen from 45 yards out. 13-10 to the good guys. An unfortunate yellow card for Scrum Half Morgan Thomson made it 14 men for the last ten minutes and the resistance was finally broken with a heart-breaking Reading try in the left corner following some swift hands and an inevitable overlap.
Game over, 17-13 at the death.
This was a close and hard-fought encounter which slipped away in the last ten minutes. The performance improved steadily after the shaky start; we will build on this in coming matches and aim to turn decent performances into great ones and narrow away defeats into searing triumphs. Roll-on Westcombe Park at home.
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