Southam 10 Princethorpe 10
The boys were prepared for a tougher fixture against our respected local rivals. Indeed this was a very keenly contested match between two quality teams. The early exchanges were all in favour of Southam, with fast ruck ball and quick passing of the ball wide creating several early chances. This included a superb run by exciting new centre Eric Stanley. Unfortunately, this early dominance was not rewarded on the score sheet, due to excellent Princethorpe tackling, until superb winger Tom Parkin-Neal powered over in the corner mid way through the half. Princethorpe suddenly burst to life and superb recycling of the ball at the tackle led to an equalising try just before half time. Rhys Bennett deserves mention for his excellent passing at Scrum Half.
The second half was very tight and Southam got into a bad habit of taking the ball forward as individuals and losing possession when stopped. Perhaps a few too many easy matches had led to this lack of teamwork. It must be remembered that running 5 metres and recycling is better than gaining 10 metres and then losing possession! Against good opponents like Princethorpe you need to force them to make several tackles and if you keep possession the gaps will appear.
Archie Coats and Dion Tulloch defended superbly against Princethorpe’s excellent Fly Half throughout the game, but he managed to avoid the tackles of several forwards at a free kick to give Princethorpe the lead. Southam responded well and strong drives, especially by Austin Turner and Harry Latus, showed tremendous spirit, but we really needed to get the ball wide in space as debutant Matthew Osbourne and Spencer Wadsworth were looking dangerous. The equalising try came in the last few minutes and was down to dogged determination more than tactical awareness. Several more drives from the forwards allowed Nick Houldey to dive for the line to secure the most appropriate of results.