Brentwood 66 Amersham & Chiltern 0 (London & South East Division: North 1) 21st April 2018
Hornby hat-trick helps seal the League title for Brentwood
Brentwood put in a champions performance against Amersham & Chiltern on Saturday, a team that were one of the two teams to beat Brentwood this season. The first game the season back in September saw Amersham get their league campaign off to a winning start. This time round, however, they came up against a vastly different Brentwood team who were looking to seal the league title and move up to Level 5 for the first time. A big crowd turned up to enjoy the weather, food and entertainment. The team did not disappoint on the pitch, opening the scoring in the first minute and dominating a game that saw them score 10 tries and sign off the season in style.
George Bassenger opened the scoring in the first minute, beating the covering defenders to a loose ball following a good break from Josh Stannard and Chay Pollinger. A big hit in midfield set up a good position and following a nice break and offload by Ben Amato, Bradley Burr spotted some space and put Josh Stannard in for a try with a nicely weighted kick. Any nerves looked to have gone as Brentwood broke from deep, intricate passing put Ed Hornby clear for the first of his tries on 15 minutes. Amersham had some possession for 5 minutes but couldn't break through and another counter attack saw James White go over for the bonus point try on 25 minutes. With the entire back line looking dangerous, breaks from Tom Simpson and Adam Thomas put the Amersham defence under constant pressure. Brentwood took a 28-0 lead into halftime and, with the advantage of slope in the second half, were confident of putting the game out of the visitors' reach in the second half.
There was to be no slip up, in fact Brentwood increased their intensity and speed of play. Louis Payne finished off another rolling maul and Ed Hornby grabbed his second after a deft chip from Burr to the corner. With Burr perfect with the boot Brentwood were now 42-0 up and cruising to the title. A clash of heads between Adam Thomas and Ben Amato saw the captain down but not out and Joel Bevans-Royston put in a big, clean hit in midfield to set up another promising attack. Big carries from Tidje Visser, James Vogel and Bevans-Royston put Brentwood on the front foot again. A nice kick into space by Chay Pollinger put Amersham in trouble close to their line. Matt Whaley stole the ball and Bradley Burr picked out Ben Amato with a perfect crossfield kick and he scored Brentwood's seventh try. No conversion this time but Brentwood were completely dominant in every aspect of the game and the big crowd were being entertained by some wonderful free-flowing rugby. Jack Richards got in on the try scoring, touching down after some good work from the forward pack, no conversion but the score moved to 52-0. Billy Aldous capped off another fine game with a strong carry and score then Ed Hornby took a nice pass from Luke Tilly to score his third try of the match. Burr converted both to take the final score to 66-0 and spark wild celebration on the pitch and in the crowd.
Brentwood Team: Bevans-Royston, Payne, Visser, Amato, Whaley, Aldous, Bassenger, Vogel, White, Burr, Pollinger, Thomas, Stannard, Hornby, Simpson Subs: Tilly, Richards, Wilkinson
The regulatory champagne celebration started as soon as the league trophy was handed to Ben & Josh, 2 players who epitomise the team spirit. Both long term Brentwood players with many seasons of 1st team experience between them.
A magnificent performance from the whole squad from 1 to 18, this season Brentwood have had the luxury of being able to name replacements that on any other Saturday would be in the starting 15. The squad has been rotated regularly during the season and, apart from 3 season ending injuries for integral players Josh Woodcock, James Killington and Paul Bradley the core squad has been relatively injury free. The entire squad of forwards deserve special credit but Tidje Visser, Louis Payne, Joel Bevans-Royston, Jack Richards and Luke Tilly have all proved to be formidable opponents in the front row all season and consistently getting the team on the front foot in the loose. Matt Whaley might not get the mentions in match reports but his work in the lineout, work rate and handling skills have been superb, highlighted by his involvement in the match winning try away to Chingford. Billy Aldous stepped up when Josh Woodcock's impressive season was cruelly cut short against Colchester and provided energy and skill to the pack. Paul Bradley was undefendable at times this season and proved to be an inspired signing from Romford last season. George Bassenger and James Killington were immense in the lineout and around the field, young players who have stepped up and bossed the breakdown this season. Ben Amato has had the difficult task of replacing Josh as captain, he hasn't let it affect his play at all, always available for the ball and strong in defence. James Vogel grabbed his chance after a spell out of the first team to bring energy and skill to the back row.
The backs have worked really well this season, James White has made the scrum half position his own with some eye catching performances and important tries in crucial matches. Bradley Burr has been able to link the good work from the forwards and release the backs into space, his game management has been crucial this season. Adam Thomas and Josh Stannard have formed a formidable partnership in midfield, Josh has scored some wonderful tries this season and has made the most of the space created by Adam's big carries and classy offloads. The three main wingers of Chay Pollinger, Charlie Wilkinson and Ed Hornby have regularly been match winners, Chay has scored tries from nothing this year and his match winning try against Chingford at home gave Brentwood the belief that they could beat anyone in the league. Charlie has been a great signing, a big powerful presence on the wing with blistering pace. Ed has had a fantastic season, particularly since Christmas, a regular scorer with an eye for the try line. Tom Simpson has shown what a dangerous player he is, safe under the high ball and with the ability to make the first tackler miss virtually every time he goes forward. Charlie Chambers started the season with a number of man of the match performances and looked to be a big performer for the team, injury cruelly kept him out of the squad for a number of weeks and the quality of the team's performance meant he could not force himself back into the team on a regular basis. It shows how impressive the team has been this season when a player of that quality can't get into the starting lineup.
Director of Rugby Steve Killington and 1st Team Coach John Sproul have created a fantastic team culture around the club and deserve all the credit they will undoubtedly get, they have rotated the squad expertly this season. They've had difficult selection decisions to make all season with the depth and quality of the squad and have kept everyone as fresh as possible. Big injuries to key players in 2018 have meant that they have had to promote young players and those decisions have been inspired, Harry Fisher being one example of a young player given a chance and impressing from the first minute. Every player has proved their worth this year, one that I and every other regular spectator this year will not forget.