Grove RFC (26) vs. Wootton Bassett RFC (12)
Grove back on track in the league with a tough win against Wootton bassett's strong opposition
Grove got their league aspirations back on track on Saturday, beating high fliers Wootton Bassett 26 : 12 at Cane Lane.
After the disappointments of their last two league encounters when a depleted Grove squad lost to Newbury Stags and Milton Keynes this result was a refreshing return to winning ways, although it did not start well for the home side. From the first kick off a knock on by Grove lead to a scrum in front of their posts immediately followed by a penalty to Bassett, easily converted by their No. 11 to put them 0 : 3 up. After just a few more minutes Grove were adjudged to have deliberately knocked on in the middle of the park and Bassett’s winger did well to score 3 more points with a fine long distance kick. Grove looked to be in disarray with mistakes happening at every turn and it was only minutes before another penalty in front of the posts was converted to put Bassett 0 : 9 up. From this point on however Grove began to play more assured rugby although Grove’s hooker Steve Dixey and the Bassett loose head prop were both yellow carded following a bout of fisticuffs. Martyn Walsh replaced Dixey to enable scrummages to continue and later stayed on when prop Jimmy Wallbridge retired with an injury. Grove now began driving hard and prop Richard Keen was unlucky not to score being stopped just short of the line. The ball was recycled however and centre Jamie Burns shot through the middle to score a fine try, converted by scrum half Roger Sevier taking the score to 7 : 9. From the restart No. 8 Ben Nicholl stormed into Bassett then following a powerful solo attack from fly half Nick Sevier a penalty was awarded to Grove and Roger Sevier slotted it to put Grove in front 10 : 9. With the referee now making some very strange decisions at every ruck, frustration began creeping into both sets of players and there followed a spell of madness when firstly Grove flanker Jamie Fredericks launched a terrific attack only to be taken out by the Bassett winger with an extremely late tackle followed by Dixey retaliating on the winger! As a result both Dixey and the Bassett miscreant received red cards. Fredericks however now had the bit between his teeth and stealing the ball from a Bassett line out launched a great attack which was rewarded when the ball was fed to fellow flanker Guy Nicholl who went over the line in the corner for Grove’s second but unconverted try. This took the half time score to 15 : 9 but not before Bassett came back at Grove with strong attacks, particularly from their menacing full back.
The second half started with Ben Nicholl moving to hooker thus depleting Grove’s back row. Bassett continued to attack strongly and Grove were caught out by a penalty award after they crazily tried to pass the ball along their own try line rather than kick for touch. The resultant kick closed the margin to 3 points, the score now moving to 15 : 12. The previous position was immediately recovered however when Roger Sevier slotted a long range penalty to change the score to 18 : 12. Joe Bellinger now replaced Jon Chapman at lock. Bassett then transgressed again with a clear ‘crossing’ move and although again from very long range, Sevier smashed the ball between the posts with seeming ease to move Grove into a 21 : 12 lead. Grove were now very much in the ascendancy and wing Harry Carr was very unlucky when having completely side-stepped his opposite number was adjudged to have stepped on the touch line with the try line open to him. Again Jamie Fredericks stole from the resultant lineout and with centre Ben Law making great inroads Roger Sevier switched play to the blind side for Ben Nicholl to again feed Carr who, making amends for his earlier misfortune, scored a fine try in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed and Grove were now in the hunt for a bonus point try at 26 : 12. Fredericks and Law were again dominant, crashing through the Bassett defence time and time again but undaunted Bassett came back and almost scored themselves only for the ref to declare their try attempt ‘held up’. Some desperate defence and a number of penalty awards got Grove out of jail but despite moving into their opponents half towards the end the all-important bonus point eluded them.