Southam 45 Lawrence Sheriff 35
A stunning second half performance by Man of the Match Eden Wood, brought him a brace of tries and helped to rob Lawrence Sheriff of victory in a magnificent game of 16 tries! Excellent recycling of the ball and forward dominance had given Southam the advantage throughout, but a narrow defence and poor tackling against excellent Sheriff’s backs, had led to a two try deficit at half time, despite a stunning hat-trick for the superb Nick Houldey.
An intense half time team talk led to a quick explanation on how to spread the defence and close down the opponents before they get up speed. In addition, playing with the wind a tactical gamble took place, with the Full Back position sacrificed to play three centres and forward James Taylor switched to the wing to add extra bulk to the back line. The defence was much improved with Eden Wood also being awarded Tackle of the Match. Eden tackles low despite being one of the tallest players on the pitch. Dion Tulloch’s defence and Archie Coats’ brilliant evasive running were notable features as the momentum swung Southam’s way.
Dylan Willis deserves particular mention; this strong prop forward carried the ball with power and contributed superbly to rucks. His confidence and performance grow with every game. Austin Turner is one of the first names on the team sheet, his low body position in rucks and maul and his piercing drives were a constant arrow to the heart of Sheriff’s defence. Excellent teamwork and retention of the ball led to superb Southam tries with Nick Houldey adding his fourth and his fifth, and ‘nice guy’ Will Scott scoring a well-deserved first try for the school.
Southam had now achieved parity and it was a moment of magic which sent a quiver down the back and put Southam ahead. Rhys Bennett caught a kick off, stepped inside one man, outside another, and outpaced two more, before searing down the wing, feathering the touchline to within five metres from the try line, whereby he dramatically cut back inside to leave two covering defenders flat footed, enabling him to score a sensational individual try under the posts. If that try was scored at Twickenham, it would be on endless replay. We can just consider ourselves fortunate to have witnessed such brilliance live.
The tenacious play of Harry Latus, playing out of position in the centres, continually drove Southam forward. Charlie Morrison on the wing repeatedly linked well with Jack Barley-Morey who did a fine job in the unusual third centre role. Dan Boag’s poise in possession teased the Sheriff defence to set up a try on the blind side and to generally draw defenders in before releasing the backs in space. Finally, a mention for speedy winger Taylor Stevens, who deserves real credit for his commitment to get to this game despite transport difficulties, on a day when we had a few players unavailable.
This game was a delight to watch and any win against our illustrious opponents is treasured. Yet again, Lawrence Sheriff were superb hosts with excellent sportsmanship on the field, a game expertly refereed and hot drinks and hotdogs to round of a magnificent morning.