Brentwood 19 Southend 0 (Essex RFU Senior Cup Qtr Final) 18th November 2017
A Wilkinson brace puts Brentwood through to the Semi Final of the Essex Cup
Brentwood entertained Southend on a wet, miserable November afternoon at King Georges Park for a place in the semi final of the Essex Cup. Brentwood made a number of changes for the tie with one eye on the top of the table clash to come next week against Chingford. With changes to the key 8, 9, 10 & 12 positions Brentwood struggled to find their usual fluency but ultimately put away their London & SE Premier opponents with a strong defensive display and three great tries.
With the rain pouring down, handling was bound to be difficult and so it turned out for both teams. Brentwood were under pressure straight from the kick off but strong tackling and organised defence forced a Southend error and the danger was cleared. Brentwood then forced their way into the Southend 22 and strong carries from Luke Tilly and Tijde Visser put them close to the line only for the referee to spot an infringement and Southend cleared their lines. A missed penalty apiece kept it scoreless until Brentwood finally put it all together when Louis Payne streaked through a gap and carried deep in to Southend territory, a powerful run and offload from Josh Stannard to Charlie Wilkinson saw the winger beat 4 payers and score the first points of the game. With the conversion missed Brentwood led 5-0. Another good break from Stannard saw good hands through the backs to open up the space for Henry Bird to score a try he converted himself to open up a 12 point lead which is how is stayed until halftime. With the slope in their favour in the second half Brentwood would have been confident of pulling further away.
Southend came out in the second half and pushed Brentwood back with strong carries from their big forwards, Brentwood repelled each attack with strong tackling and aggressive mauling. Some promising opportunities were missed through a combination of good defence and handling errors until the try of the match from winger Charlie Wilkinson. A clearance kick was well taken by Ed Hornby, he fed Chay Pollinger who took 2 players out with a well timed pass to Stannard who beat his man and put Wilkinson clear, his pace took him past the fullback and he dotted down under the posts. Bird converted to make the score 19-0. It was the standout moment in a stop start second half but young fly half Jake Harcourt nearly bettered it with a fantastic, man and ball tackle on Brentwood’s 5 metre line after a full 5 minutes of pressure. Southend were visibly deflated after that hit and it sparked 10 mins of Brentwood possession. A couple of near misses later and the ref’s whistle ended the game.
Brentwood carried the greater threat throughout whenever they had ball in hand, some better decision making and handling deep in Southend territory would have seen a bigger winning margin but Brentwood move to the semi final on the back of a great defensive performance.
Brentwood Team: Visser, Payne, Tilly, Woodcock, Killington, Humphreys, Bessenger, Whaley, Chambers, Harcourt, Hornby, Bird, Stannard, Wilkinson, C Pollinger. Subs: Garnett, Coker, T Pollinger, Fisher, Suttle, Pain, Port