Weston 0 - Epping 2s 7
Resolute "D" key to victory
There will be a few sore bodies waking upon Sunday morning after the previous day's exertions me thinks.
Clapton 2s travelled to Weston full of confidence after a fine win at Bishops Stortford during the last round of merit table fixtures.
The team as is with the 2s these days was almost unrecognisable from the last with youth coming in on mass to replace the more experienced yet fragile oldies. George Cook, Luke Everard, Guianlucca, Jordan Watson and Frazer Parris all making there first starts of the season. George Douglass and Rhys Brown both stepping down at the last minute with snotty noses.
The previous time these two teams had met the Club had inflicted a 50 point victory over there hosts and with the squad looking strong thoughts of an easy afternoon were most definitely on the players minds as the game kicked off.
Within the first passages of play however focus changed as Weston launched an attack that pinned the visitors into there twenty two with only desperate defending keeping the home team from scoring. At the centre of this was Matt Sweeney who time after time put his body on the line and occasionally on the wrong side of the line according to the ref!
This was to be the pattern for the majority of the half as the Club, playing up a slope and against a strong wind struggled to clear there lines. Weston did manage to cross the try line on a couple of occasions only to be pulled back by the referee for various infringements.
On the rare occasion the Club did win some ball away from there twenty two they looked dangerous by running through multiple phases in the forwards and then unleashing there dangerous back line.
One fluid move saw full back Joe Walker sprint clear out wide with the youngster finally being hauled down some 70 meters later.
The half time whistle blew with the game scoreless but now the visitors had the advantage of the wind and slope.
Clapton made changes with Ali G replacing Luke Welham in the back row, Youthful for Ayrsey in the engine room and Toby Sweeney came in on the wing with Lucca moving to centre to accommodate him.
As expected the early exchanges favoured the visitors but unlike Weston who favoured a one out driving game the Club were putting the ball through the hands.
This was to reap it's rewards and after 10 minutes of the second half the Club opened the scoring after centre Frazer Parris had taken a hard line straight through the oncoming defensive line, some neat handling found wing Jordan Watson in space who cantered in under the posts, Guianlucca converting.
Thoughts that the shackles were off and the club would now run away with he game slowly started to evaporate as they were consistently pinged by the referee for a wide range of infringements that halted any form of continuity in there play.
This was to eventually result in Frazer being sin binned and with time running out played out the remainder of the match defending again against the one out Weston attacks. During this period lock Jakk Harty produced the moment of the match with a scything tackle that not only halted a dangerous Weston attack but also felled the referee....enough said about that then!
The final whistle went after a forty seven minute second half but to the relief for an Epping side who were rather hanging on at the end.
Putting everything into perspective this was an excellent win for the 2s who as a generally young side had been asked many questions by their hosts and still came out with a win. It will be interesting to see how this side performs when they are able to secure more possession in attacking areas of the field.
Good performances from Matt Sweeney and Luke Everard in the forwards while Lucca, Frazer and Jordan gave us a small glimpse of what they are capable of in the backs. Big thanks to Legend Lee Garwood for stepping in at scrum half at the last moment and to George Cook who was playing in his first game of the season but in the unfamiliar position of fly half.
One negative I must report though was the performance this week of Dr Ben. A lot more required from you next week please.
Man of the match went to Joe Walker who has really turned up the dial in recent weeks and is a key attacking threat whenever he receives the ball. With the influx of younger players into the squad Joe has also taken on the responsibilities of a senior player, well done Joe keep it up
Next merit table match is in two weeks at home to Fullerians. No game planned as yet for this Saturday but on the exchange.