Another Dominant Victory From Shire
Shire Hall went into the match with a buoyed spirit from two good victories in their last two. An early kick-off meant the team had rallied early to get prepared for this one. The team were confident that playing the team bottom of the table meant this was going to be another victory for Shire but there was still an air of caution before kick-off.
However, Shire got of to a flying start by running a great offloading game to make yards up the pitch. With the forwards working hard at a break down on the far right the ball came out nicely for the backs to run a slick set of hands in the middle of the park with inside centre Matt Rowlandson and full-back Alex Webb combining nicely and with one final offload to Chris Merrick who rounded off the move and gave Shire their first try of the game.
Shire then seemed to sit off and rest on their laurels and the intensity fell from the game with next 10 minutes being played solely in Shire’s half. Faringdon won a penalty for their hard attacking play, which was slotted home by the away sides number 10. This was all the reward Faringdon would see from their attacking game with a solid Shire defence keeping them at bay. However, pressure was increased when scrumhalf Sam Watkins attempted a quick tap penalty from his hands, which subsequently saw him knock on, leading to a Faringdon scrum in Shire’s 22.
The home side managed to get their head back in the game and from solid defensive work to a quick counter attack and some good attacking play led to territory being reversed into the opponents 22. An accidental offside led to a Faringdon scrum just inside their 22 but after winning it their no. 8 decided to go it alone and some good Shire counter rucking led to centre Matt Rowlandson being able to break away with the ball. Another couple of phases and Shire were just short of the try line. A short pass from the no. 9 to Captain Dave Lloyd-Williams meant he could power over to score his first of the season and Shire’s second try of the game.
The second quarter saw a dominant performance from Shire Hall with some more very good offloading play and good running from the whole team, which led to a try from fly half Rhys Thomas, his first of the season, in the right-hand corner of the pitch. This was shortly followed by some good running from the backs and in particular full-back Alex Webb who ran round the outside of Faringdon’s defence to score Shire’s 4th of the afternoon. The half time whistle went with Shire Hall leading 20-3.
With the second half underway Shire began with another spell of high intensity and went straight on the offensive. Winning a penalty under the Faringdon posts led to a quick tap from the scrumhalf Sam Watkins (luckily this time it wasn’t knocked on) who passed to last weeks hat trick hero Matt Margot who, selflessly playing the no. 10s role, had a quick look outside him to see an overlap and shipped the ball out wide, via the centres, leading to Chris Merrick finishing finely in the corner for his 2nd try of the game.
Following the 5th try Shire went straight back on the offensive pushing for another. A series of fine runs from the backs led to an attack in Faringdon’s 22 and after a few phases hooker Jack Proctor brushed off a couple of tackles to finish off Shires 6th and final try of the game.
The game wasn’t over yet and Shire’s resilience to keep Faringdon at bay led to an intense spell of pressure from the opposition on the home sides try line. Another brilliant spell of defence saw Shire see off the Faringdon pressure and some superb counter-rucking saw them turn over the ball and counter attack back up the pitch. This led to the opportunity for two more tries for Shire but both went astray. The first was lost when the ball was spilled from a pass on the try line by scrumhalf Sam Watkins and the second when on the break with an overlap the ball was knocked forward by full-back Alex Webb.
With the final whistle blown Shire continue their climb up the table:
Berkshire Shire Hall (30)- (3) Faringdon
MoM: Chris Merrick- Two well-finished tries