ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE DISPLAY
Report by Graham Pratt
This was an important match for the league leaders against second placed Wanstead and they were expecting a tough struggle.
In truth Rochford won comfortably in the end with six tries to nil margin and in front of a big crowd at home which was even more pleasing.
Having said that it does not tell the full story as Wanstead put up a good fight and had the lion’s share of possession and territory for long periods in this absorbing encounter.
The difference was Rochford’s great ability to turn defence into attack and the pace of those attacks. In addition to that is their wonderful defence which frustrated Wanstead the whole game as they tried in vain to break it down.
Rochford defence is very tight and totally committed to the task in hand and since Christmas they have only conceded seven points which was a breakaway try at Cantabrigian.
I fact they have only allowed 135 points passed them in 17 games this season.
The home outfit were really up for this match and a well taken try by the inform Daniel Sowter started the ball rolling in the first few minutes.
The ever-reliable Tom Ashton converted the try as he did Mark Billing’s wonderful try shortly after. Billings has been outstanding this season and this try was a gem.
Mark had not been 100 per cent fit this week but still managed to collect the ball in his own 22 metre area and run through the whole of the Wanstead team to score under the posts.
Rochford’s set scrum performed so well against a big and aggressive Wanstead pack and out scrummaged them for most of the afternoon.
The lineout was fiercely fought between the two combatants but, again, Rochford collected more and better ball generally.
Next up was Ashton who ran in for a terrific try and soon after captain Matthew Stewart crossed over to increase the lead.
To finish off the half centre Ashton, once again, sped through after some good approach work to score and convert his own try to take his team into a 31- 0 lead at the break.
It looked as though this might be a rout, but weather conditions deteriorated, as last week, and Wanstead upped their game to have long periods with ball in hand but just could not break down the Rochford line where big tackle after big tackle knocked the visitors back time and again.
To be honest the second half was a dour affair played mostly through both sets of forwards and not too much back play, but Rochford always had the game under control and also had the try bonus point in the bag.
Recent signing, prop Lewis Brunger kept up his remarkable try scoring when he barged over the line to score. Five tries in five games is pretty good and he is also a big, strong and aggressive ball carrier.
Tom Ashton converted to bring his personal points tally to 18 for the game and to conclude a very satisfying afternoon’s work and another impressive team performance.
Good efforts all round especially from the likes of Dan Allison and Dan Sowter who both put in big games today. Hefty centre Ben Johnson had a number of strong runs with the ball in hand ably assisted by Ashton, Matt Needham and others.
The only down side was another injury to add to the list and that was influential second row Sam Fombo who had to be helped off the field with a bad knock to his knee.
Well done all but still a long way to go especially with a massive RFU Cup game away at Camberley of 24th February.
On this subject it is worth mentioning that we are organising a supporter’s coach leaving the club at 10.00am on that day and tickets will be available behind bar. Kick off for this crucial match will be 2.00pm and mega support is needed.