Back on track! Surrey 44 v Dorset & Wilts 17
After the disappointment of our last match we had a lot to prove this weekend. Dorset and Wilts were not going to be a push over but if we wanted to progress in the competition then we needed to win this match.
We know the format of our pre match sessions work, they have done on every previous occasion. Also we know that if all the players were available to us turned up then we could put out a quality side.
That left a simple game plan and commitment as the only other elements needed for success.
When we have played well, it is the players themselves that have bought into the aims and philosophy that we have established for this season and driven the day forward. At our last match we lacked the older players that have the experience and confidence to undertake this, however today was beginning to feel good. Also Matt Macpherson our Captain was back and fit and raring to go, although a huge pat on the back has to Ryan Travers for the sterling job he had done in his absence.
In the morning session as we talked with the players we agreed that the coaching team would provide the plan and they the players would bring the commitment.
It was aimed at giving the players a simple game plan to follow that still would allow us to follow the Choices and Options philosophy we established at the start of the season. We structure a training session that would allow the players to practise the theory and understand the effects on the game.
During lunch we named the starting 22 players for this match which, is always difficult on the other ten or so players that we invite to training and who know that there is a chance they may not be in the starting team after the morning session. Again a selflessness that adds to the strength and Character of this Squad.
The game kicked off and it was pleasing to see that the team had set up and were using the game plan we had discussed and practised in the morning. Our big forwards both Matt Macpherson and Matt Perks were making bulldozing runs at pace in to the heart of the Dorset and Wilts defence.
We struggled with our set piece against Hampshire, primarily the players that day were young and inexperienced and couldn’t quite get to grips with the opposition. Today was different and the scrum really started to show its ascendency.
The four tries we scored in the first half were testament to the success of what we wanted to achieve today, the team biding their time and creating space for our fast guys to exploit. However when we didn’t stick to our guns Dorset and Wilts were able to break us down and score their own points.
Having established our patterns and work ethic in the first half, the challenge of a good side is to continue to do the successful things well, which is what we asked of the team at the turn around, for the first 20mins or so though we were unable to achieve this. In part possibly due to the number of changes we made and in part due to many of the decisions that all seemed to be going against us. The frustrating thing though was that we couldn’t seem to understand the reasons for many of them and it culminated in our first player spending some time off the pitch. Quickly followed by two others to reduce the team to 12 players on the pitch and some confusing looks from players as to what was going on.
It’s a mark of the spirit of the team that we have tried to build that once they were reduced in number that they started to re-establish their ascendency and get back on top of the opposition. We went back to the game plan that we had all agreed before kick-off and implemented so successfully in the first half and finished the game on top.
Dorset and Wilts were a determined team that really pushed us hard and made a really good game for the spectators, several of whom came up to me after the match to congratulate all the players for an enjoyable afternoon.
I think my most happy moment of the day was, that on several occasions throughout the match each of our props had an opportunity to carry the ball in to space and they all seemed to be the quickest players on the pitch and good to see, big men carrying at speed. Also that all of the 7 tries we scored was by a different player, a mix of forwards and backs.
A big thank you to Esher RFC again who have allowed us to use their facilities and made us feel at home. Unfortunately we will have to make an away trip to Thurrock RFC for a hard game against Essex.
Jack Robinson 9. Ben Bowan
Joe Radford 10. Alex Seers
Ali Wade 11. Josh Christie
Matt Perks 12. Tom Farrelly
Matt McPherson 13. Sam Hill
George Mathews 14. James Hanson
Ryan Travers 15. Mikey Macdonald
16. Nathanial Opedo (LH) 20. Oliver Douche (wing)
17. Harry Blackmore (Hooker) 21.Tom Donegan ( Back row)
18. Zack Taylor (TH) 22. Jamie Beighton (Centre )
19. Joe Ferguson (Lock)
Bob Dickinson David Page Manager
Jonathan Griffin Sophie Capito Physio