Another bonus point win
Brentwood made to work hard for 5th straight win
Brentwood 27 North Walsham 10 (London & South East Division: North 1) 4th November 2017
Brentwood hosted North Walsham on Saturday full of confidence from the previous week’s fantastic performance against Eton Manor and looking to put more pressure on top of the table Chingford. Injuries meant Brentwood went into this game without top scorer Charlie Chambers and Charlie Wilkinson who has scored some lovely tries this year. Ed Hornby started on the wing and Tom Simpson moved to fullback, one change in the forwards with Matt Whaley starting at 8.
Henty Bird made his first appearance in the squad after concussion and ankle injury had kept him out of action for the last month.
The wet conditions made for a scrappy start with knock ons and handling errors common for both teams, after a Walsham penalty was kicked to the corner Brentwood managed to gain possession but a Burr clearance kick was charged down. The ball fell into the arms of a Walsham player 2 yards offside and he dotted down for the first try of the match. A nervous start and Brentwood trailed early for the second week in a row. Credit to Brentwood who then put a number of good phases together and strong carries from Amato and Thomas pushed Walsham back, only for handling errors and a couple of questionable decisions from the referee to keep Brentwood trailing. Until a deliberate knock on was penalised and Burr kicked a penalty to get the home side on the board, Brentwood continued to be the more threatening side moving the ball wide and using strong runners through the middle. From a scrum close to the Walsham line Josh Stannard took a pack of players with him over the line for Brentwood’s first try, unconverted & Brentwood lead 8-5. More good play followed but no reward until a well organised maul from a 5 metre lineout saw Ben Amato score his first of the season. Again Burr missed the conversion but Brentwood now had the lead their play deserved and went into half time 13-5 up. Walsham had barely threatened but their tough tackling had kept them in the game, with the slope and wind in the second half Brentwood were confident of pulling further away.
Walsham came out a different side in the second half, intelligent kicking from their replacement fly half kept Brentwood under pressure but the home side kept them out until a Walsham player powered over for an unconverted try. Walsham spent another 10 minutes in the Brentwood half but big defensive performances from Richards, Thomas and Woodcock in particular kept them to a single missed penalty for a high tackle from Thomas that saw him given a yellow card. That kick would have brought the scores level but it was the turning point in the game, Brentwood’s superior handling skills and variety of attacking options were apparent in the final 20 minutes. Big carries from replacements Paul Bradley and Luke Tilley put Walsham on the back foot. Good hands through the backs put Stannard through a gap, inside pass to Amato who found Paul Bradley and he powered close to the line, Jack Richards finished it off for another 5 points, Burr converted to open up a 10 point lead. A big hit by Visser in midfield pushed Walsham back in midfield and forced an error, good hands put Pollinger through but he was stopped short with an illegal tackle, from the penalty advantage Burr put a cross field kick to Hornby out wide but he couldn’t quite collect it cleanly. Paul Bradley powered over from the subsequent scrum, taking 3 Walsham players over the line with him and grabbing a 4 try bonus point. Burr converted and the score moved to 27-10. More good play opened up the away side’s defence but weren’t quite finished off.
This was a victory that Brentwood deserved and, apart from a 20 minute period in the second half, they played the more expansive rugby and were dominant in both lineouts and scrums. Errors gave Walsham a foothold in the game and Brentwood were never really threatened in open play but their change of tactics from narrow attacks to kicking for territory in the second half saw a more even contest for a short while. When Brentwood get it right though it’s a pleasure to watch and fitness and the bravery to play fast, attacking rugby paid off. This win keeps Brentwood second in the league.
Full time Brentwood 27 – 10 North Walsham
The Davlav Man of the Match went to Jack Richards, great lineout delivery, good hands and strength in attack and defence. Work rate was immense and put pressure on the Walsham ball carriers all game. Brentwood are away next week where there vist Saffron Walden, Sat 11th November.
Brentwood Team: Visser, Richards, Bevans-Royston, Woodcock, Killington, Amato, Bessenger, Whaley, White, Burr, Hornby, Thomas, Stannard, Pollinger, Simpson. Subs: Tilly, Bradley, Bird