Five Ways OE RFC unable to tame Rugby Lions
By Jess Banner
Strange feeling of pride at the final whistle for FWOE even after such a one sided scoreline.
On taking the pitch against a sizeable, well drilled team with a large crowd spectating, it was clear from the kick off that Five Ways would be the hardest of hard days at the office. Rugby Lions joined Midlands 4 West (South) having been relegated due to off field issues rather than on field performances. Despite dropping several levels, it is expected that they will easily achieve their aim to climb the leagues by the swiftest route.
FWOE took the field and were more than happy to meet Rugby Lions on the gain line and, for the full 80 minutes, the defence was structured and aggressive. As bizarre as that sounds given the score line, bodies were placed on the line and difficult tackles were made. Most tries came via relentless onslaughts of well worked attacks which were finished well wide out. A huge positive should be taken from Five Ways' defence as the objective set of nothing getting through the middle was clearly met. However, for large periods of the first half the game resembled a training session of attack vs defence. The tries came quick and fast and when the whistle for half time came it was a welcome relief for FWOE.
On commencement of the second half, Five Ways regrouped and took to the pitch looking to leave everything on the field. Unfortunately, the second half started in the same manner that the first had finished. The attacks were constant, however, the back row lead by John McGlade started to steal some ball at the break down giving FWOE some much needed time on the ball. Five Ways ran the ball at each opportunity and showed some promise when going forward, however, on occasions accuracy was lacking. When passes went astray or balls were dropped by FWOE, Rugby Lions did not need a second invite to take full advantage. With bodies battered and injury numbers mounting, the final whistle was a welcome sound with the scoreboard heavily in Lions favour.
At full time the Rugby Lions captain was very keen to point out Five Ways played with passion and competed in every area of the pitch. As strange as it may sound, every FWOE player gave all they could in this fixture with several upping their performances levels. A special mention goes to the Five Ways pack. The lineout was a big positive in this match, against a second row that had performed at the top tier of English rugby. Credit also to the scrummaging of FWOE as it competed to the end and was a real source of encouragement. Further mention goes to Matt Hurst who is really showing his potential this year. He played this game with aggression and did not take his foot of the gas for the whole game. Craig Davies also put his body where it hurt crashing into each contact. The front row remained as unit and they stuck together and worked hard for each other throughout the whole match.
From a backs perspective, Sam Statham worked hard and sniped for the whole game, looking for gaps around the ruck and maul at every opportunity and, in doing so, keeping their back row honest. He will take a lot from this game and will be more street wise for it. A well-deserved man of the match performance. Robin Hadley once again proved that he can do it all with the ball. He is a constant threat in attack and tackles like a train in defence.
Five Ways really need to get their season started and get a win under their belts. Winning is a habit and FWOE need to get back to this habit as soon as possible. It is clear that they need to be more accurate and more determined which will inevitably lead to getting some points on the board. With several players starting to return from injuries, selection will become a lot more interesting and players will really need to start fighting for their shirts.
Thanks to John Mounter for this weeks match report.