Grove 33 Abingdon 0
By Simon WysockiJones
The boys shook off the pre season cobwebs and produced a stunning second half.
It is always a nervous time at the first game of the season because you never know what will happen when the matches all start for real so it was a pleasure to play Abingdon because they bring along a great rugby attitude and they never give up.
With our SoR boys away, it gave a chance for others to fill their boots and they did not let themselves down. It was pleasing to see the two debutants get stuck in and both Adam and Jonny had good games that they should be proud of.
The first half created plenty of opportunities and mistakes where the forwards were given a lesson in driving over the ball in a ruck and the backs had to remember how to cope with a real defence. The timing with the tackling took a bit of time to sort itself out and the threat of two minutes in the bin for high tackles helped focus the mind.
Once the confidence came back from a try from Ali, then things fell into place as we started to win nearly all the lineouts and dominated the scrums with plenty of ball against the head. The forwards made life easier for the scrummies by driving over the ball and the gaps started to open up for Toby who kicked and picked up twice for two typical tries.
I was really pleased to see the defence showing signs of order and Abingdon were driven out of our 22 into the middle of the park where Nick scored his pace and strength to run from our 10 metre line, drive over tackles and score - not bad for a prop!
The final try was another punch through the defence from the forwards and Toby linked up with Ali to finish off a good mornings work. Four out of five conversions were slotted between the posts so well done Dan and Rhys.
Always loads to work on and I look forward to getting the back three involved in attacks as well as the forwards working in pods over the next few matches.