(commentary from our correspondent in the field Mark Podbury)
First half A2s (First Half commentary, played 2 halves)
After some early pressure from us, we score within the first 2 minutes. This first try sees A&C bursting out from a Marlow scrum with quick movement along the line. We give away the ball, but a quick turnover sees us again piling on the pressure. We lose the ball 10m out and the opposition attempt to kick their way out of trouble. Dan charges kicker down and succeeds in panicking him as he sends it up into the sky where Dillon collects it, and the pressure is back on, eventually leading to the try. The second try for Amersham comes very shortly after with Freddie scoring through the middle.
Good calm play from Marlow pushed us back into our own half for a good five minutes, and then out of nowhere the largest Marlow player on the pitch forces his way through to make it 1–2 and the come-back is on.
After a prolonged to-and-fro, that same lump of a lad again emerges with the ball at full speed on the right wing, an equaliser appears in the cards. Harry clearly did not read the script, and a last ditch tackle takes out the runner with Harry taking a knock for his troubles. Marlow though shortly after equalise. After some really competitive play and a host of turnovers, A&C issue a retort as Harry then goes off on his own right wing and scores in the corner, 2–3. In the dying minutes, after some nice attacking play we are awarded a penalty which is quickly taken, with a quick tap and pass out to the left wing where Aidan goes on to score in the left corner.
Half time 2-4. The second half saw far more play in the centre of pitch, with a couple of lapses in concentration as we had some weary forwards that had played in intervening A1 match, finishing 2-0, 4-4 on aggregate.
First half A1s (First Half commentary, played 2 halves)
Marlow took the offensive to start, moving swiftly to put us under pressure, but the attack was quashed less than 10 yards to our try line.
Almost from our own try line the ball gets passed out quickly to the wing, Nathan gets the ball deftly avoiding several Marlow players trying to take him out, and dots down to open the scoring 0-1. On the restart, good play sees A&C test Marlow defense as we drive to the line but are held up. The ball comes back out for a scrum with an Amersham put in. A&C win the scrum and Cam forces his way over to score 0-2. Marlow respond, quickly putting us under the cosh on our own line where we defend valiantly, though eventually we buckle under the pressure and concede the try, 1–2. We respond, pinning them on their try line and keep driving and driving at them relentlessly. Our players are held up a number of times, before James goes on a rampaging run through the middle to score.
On the restart Marlow have a fantastic run at us, extinguished at last moment by our Fullback Will. We are though still under the pump on our line, and countless scrums later Marlow eventually score to make it 2-3. In the next sequence of play, a massive A&C kick from almost the halfway line lands in Marlow's try area, which we almost run on to.
After a very competitive passage of play, the ball comes out flying a bit awry and high, but James plucks it beautifully out of the air and then finds the try line to make it 2–4.
Marlow get back into match, as a swift turnover ball sees the ball go wide to the right wing with one of their fastest players dotting it down into the right corner, 3–4. A&C though exhibit some excellent intelligent play as ball changes hands at least five times before coming out to the wing, then as the space on wing goes in short supply, the ball came back inside before we score to bring a good competitive half to an end.
Half time 3-5. The second half started well but fell into more fractious affair as fatigue set in for both sides. Regardless a commendable effort by our boys, and in particular our Forwards who had played minutes in all 4 matches, and were dead off their feet in the end. Match ended 7-5 on aggregate to Marlow.
Coaches Box: In terms of our first league match, the whole squad played some excellent rugby. Marlow are a very strong side and to win half of the halves is a great achievement, and we did it by playing “proper” rugby with real width on the ball whenever possible. The Marlow head coach was kind enough to say that we were the first team to offer his squad a real challenge for years, and that he loved our style of rugby.
Also a huge thank you to many of the boys for playing more than the two halves, as we did not have enough forwards for the 2 squads - so great team commitment shown. A lesson for us as coaches, to reconsider the match formats when we have boys drop out in the day or so before the match.
Lastly a thank you to all the parents for all the vocal support - overall a great start to our mini-league.