HERE’S MUD IN YOUR EYE
Report by Graham Pratt
Rochford toasted their entry into the semi final of the Intermediate Cup with a powerful display of controlled rugby against a good and gritty London Exiles side.
In terrible wet, muddy, and murky conditions the home team showed their power up front and skills outside to score 6 tries to nil in a competitive Cup encounter.
The Exiles were a talented and hard opposition but just did not have the answer to Rochford’s strength in the set scrum and their disciplined approach to a difficult game.
Another important aspect to their play was the intelligent use of the high kick and chase which resulted in a try in the first few seconds of the game.
A kick up field by Rochford was chased hard by a few players and a fumble in defence saw big Sam Fombo come from nowhere to pounce on the ball for a great try.
The home outfits scrummage destroyed the Exiles eight with every scrummage in the first half and gave them a big base from which scrum half Ricki Gould could dictate play with towering box kicks and follow ups.
Next up was adam ferrier, playing hooker, who dived over after some powerful forward work on the opposition line followed by another fine effort by excellent flanker Stuart Whatling.
Tom Ashton converted this try as he did again when prop Lewis Brunger, using his immense strength, drove over for another well taken try.
With a 24-0 lead at the break Rochford were good value for it.
The only downer at this stage were injuries to michael guess and James Kellard both of whom had to leave the field. They had been major influences in the first half as was Dan Sowter who had had a tremendous game but later was himself injured and had to leave the pitch.
The second half was more competitive as conditions worsened and London Exiles fought back with some good moves and determined defensive work to keep the Magnolia Road boys at bay.
The power, pace application and discipline of this Rochford team showed through however as they kept looking for openings.
Their efforts showed dividends when prop Brunger crashed over for his second try.
Shortly after an exciting run by wing Mitchell Bennett resulted with him outpacing the defence and touching down under the posts.
Ashton converted both tries to take the score to 38-0 and finish off a well-earned victory against a quality side and one step nearer to their goal of a Twickenham outing.
It was pleasing to see the lineout back to its usual efficient self where Court-Rhind and Fombo combined well and the good work at the breakdown by all concerned with fine individual efforts by each player, but it is in the overall team effort that sides are judged by and on the day this team stepped up to the mark in atrocious conditions.