North Walsham 0 Brentwood 19 (London & South East Division: North 1) 17th March 2018
By Matthew Burr
Defence wins the day in miserable conditions
Brentwood made the long journey north to visit North Walsham on Saturday, they arrived to see a pitch in virtually perfect condition but a biting wind blowing diagonally down the pitch. Brentwood made the most of the wind at their backs in the first half and put in a massive defensive shift in the second to keep out a strong Walsham pack. With influential prop Tidje Visser unavailable Luke Tilly came into the front row, leading try scorer Chay Pollinger was also missing but Brentwood have the luxury of 3 high quality wingers and Ed Hornby started again on the wing.
Brentwood started strongly but good tackling and bad luck kept them out for 10 minutes until Paul Bradley powered over from 10 metres, Bradley Burr dealt with the wind well and added on the extras. With the play exclusively in the home half strong forward carries and slick hands in the backs put Ed Hornby in the corner, no conversion this time. Brentwood were completely dominant and looking to open up a big gap knowing that with the wind at the backs in the second half Walsham would be on the front foot. Josh Stannard opened up the home defence with a trademark run from deep, beating 4 defenders to score a brilliant individual try under the posts, Burr added the easy extras to take the score to 0-19. Brentwood finished the half as they started it, combining forward power with clever running lines looking for the bonus the point score but good home defence kept them out.
The snow had started and the crowd headed for the warmth of the bar to debate whether the 19 point advantage would be enough.
The second half started with the home side keeping the ball for multiple phases in the forwards but unable to pierce the Brentwood wall of defence, they slowly made their way up field but massive hits and poor decision making kept handing possession to the visitors but any clearance never gained too much ground into the strong wind. Brentwood held out for a full 15 minutes in their own half; the home centre being held up being the closest they came to scoring. It was to be a lovely piece of skill from the same player that almost brought the first Walsham score, after going nowhere with the forwards he chose to chip over the top but the ball was knocked on and the chance was gone. Brentwood then got a foothold in the game and the final 15 minutes were spent in or around the Walsham half but there was to be no bonus point try
A fantastic defensive display negated the home side’s forward power and showed that they are not just a team who play expansive rugby, they can roll their sleeves up when needed.
The Davlav Man of the Match went to Josh Stannard, clinical finish from deep in the first half and a massive defensive effort in the second. Chingford await next Saturday (3pm kickoff) in a game that will go a long way in deciding who claims the top spot and automatic promotion. Both teams guaranteed at least a playoff match with wins this weekend.
Brentwood Team: Tilly, Payne, Bevans-Royson, Whaley, Killington, Amato, Aldous, Bradley, White, Burr, Hornby, Thomas, Stannard, Wilkinson, Simpson Subs: Garrett, Bassenger, Port