Windsor (29) vs Grove (10)
By John Sevier
A poor performance from Grove drops us down the league table to 6th place.
Grove, without injured captain Nick Sevier, played Windsor and had a woeful afternoon, badly losing a game they really needed to win. As has now become a trademark it seems, Grove started badly conceding points in the first two minutes. This time it was through a converted try by the Windsor No. 8 following a poor and wayward kick to the attacking player who gleefully touched down between the posts. Although Grove tried to fight back their game was riddled with mistakes and every attack disintegrated with either poor passes to nobody or knock-ons. After 16 minutes Windsor launched a fine attack which ended with their outside centre touching down for another converted yet soft try given the almost absolute lack of tackling from the Grove backs. Grove tried to get on the scoreboard with a penalty kick at goal but the normally reliable boot of fly half Roger Sevier deserted him and the kick went wide. Grove did then launch a promising attack with Sevier darting blindside to link with No. 8 Joe Bellinger who in turn fed fellow back row man Guy Nicholl. The ball was then passed back across the field but the move ended with a forward pass in the centre. Full back Chris Clare and wing Harry Carr then linked well but the ball was turned over and Windsor were back on the attack. The ball was regained and prop and acting captain Jimmy Wallbridge stormed out of defence. It was not long however before Windsor came back at Grove and once again a complete lack of tackling from the Grove backs allowed Windsor to score an unconverted try in the corner. Grove were now committing far too many players to unwinnable mauls and Windsor took full advantage exploiting the lack of defensive players by kicking into space and forcing Grove backwards. Grove’s most dangerous attack came after Sevier had linked up with Clare and Carr and then put the ball way downfield for a line out which then saw tireless flanker Jamie Fredericks and Wallbridge smashing forward before the ball was fed to the Grove backs but once again the move ended with a knock on. The half ended with another knock on from Grove and Windsor were deservedly in the lead 19 : 0.
The second half began with Grove’s back row really starting to click and slick interpassing between them lead to Fredericks touching down in the corner. The conversion was missed but Grove were now seemingly back in contention at 19 : 5. Again it was Fredericks who shone taking the ball from the kick off with a terrific leap but again the advantage was lost when the ball was dropped forward in the backs. Tim Lane substituted for the injured Steve Dixey in the front row. Windsor’s full back was exhibiting great positional sense thwarting Grove by always being where he needed to be when Grove kicked ahead. Grove now lost flanker Guy Nicholl to injury replaced by Stewart Sherwood. Windsor stormed back at Grove, creating a huge overlap in the backs from which their centre went over for his second, converted try of the day to put the home side out of sight at 26 : 5. Then with twenty minutes to go all the Grove’s forwards and half backs really started to play moving the ball virtually the whole length of the field but they could not quite capitalise with points despite good work from wings Tom Harrington and Harry Carr. Windsor undid Grove’s good work with a long kick downfield but Carr came back at them with a strong attack although he was blatantly late tackled after chipping ahead, which amazingly resulted in a penalty to Windsor! Although it was too late Grove were now for the first time looking like the better side. Sevier exploited gaps in the defence to put Windsor on the back foot but despite good work from scrum half Ben Nicholl and centre Ashley Lane Grove could still not break through. Lane was substituted by Simon Peel and then Windsor were reduced to fourteen men when the dangerous Harry Carr was again late tackled and the yellow card was this time rightly issued. From the resultant penalty Sevier put the ball into the corner for a Grove line out from which Fredericks, despite having worked himself to a virtual standstill, was able to attack the Windsor line, finally slipping the ball to Ben Nicholl who touched down for Grove’s second try of the day. With the conversion again missed the score moved to 26 : 10 but despite Grove’s best efforts Windsor went on to score another penalty, despite blatant and unpunished ‘crossing’ in the build-up, and the game ended at 29 : 10.
Overall this had been a poor performance by Grove’s normal standards but Jamie Fredericks stood out as Grove’s undoubted man of the match.
It has to be said that Windsor played good disciplined team rugby and, never taking their opponents lightly, rightly won this match through well-structured attacks and ever vigilant defence.