Wootton Bassett (13) vs. Grove (43)
Grove pull off a magnificent win against close rivals Wootton Bassett but please note the RFU have wrongly credited Grove with 45 points not 43 as should be the case.
Grove pulled off a great win by overwhelming close rivals Wootton Bassett in what was their hosts last game at the Stoneover Lane ground before moving to a new HQ.
Bassett went into an immediate 3 : 0 lead following a penalty in front of the posts but after that all the action belonged to Grove. Prop Tim Lane stood out with strong charges in the loose and Grove were clearly trying to play expansive rugby, taking themselves deep into Bassett territory. Centre Jamie Burns, returning from a very long term injury was Grove’s first try scorer, touching down between the posts after a scorching run to the line. In the absence of regular place kicker Roger Sevier, wing Harry Carr successfully converted to put Grove into a 3 : 7 lead. Grove’s second try should have come after a superb long touch kick by fly half Dave Maryon had taken Grove back to Bassett territory and Burns had once again sped clear through the defences, only for the ref to call a forward pass with the centre on his way to the line. Undeterred, Grove’s forwards, who were playing magnificently, drove into Bassett and with the ball being moved quickly from scrum half Owen Gustafson to Maryon the fly half pulled off a superb dummy and side step to put outside centre Tom Clipsham clear for a touchdown between the posts, also converted by Carr to put Grove into a commanding 3 : 14 lead with 35 minutes gone. Bassett hit back with a tremendous 50 metre solo drive from one of their forwards but it was skipper and No. 8 Ben Nicholl who lead the counter attack, working well with Gustafson to take Grove back to the Bassett half of the field. This lead to full back Huw Lewis taking off on a long run which culminated with the ball being passed to wing Guy Nicholl who, from a standing start, evaded some five or six tackles to make the line and touch down between the posts for Grove’s third try. Carr’s conversion rebounded off the upright but Grove were now 3 : 19 up and this became the half time score.
Grove started the second half with the pack playing very confidently and Carr was unlucky not to score when he was penalised for not releasing in a tackle, which he had broken, to go clear for the line. Grove’s next attack was led by flanker Carl Alder, with a superb run into the Bassett defences, followed by a great drive by the rest of the pack. Then, with Bassett showing signs of resurgence, Carr suddenly intercepted and with a fly hack to the try line he won the ensuing foot race and touched down for Grove’s bonus point try. He missed the conversion but Grove were now unassailable at 3 : 24. Bassett hit back hard with continued attacks from both forwards and backs and in desperation Huw Lewis transgressed with an illegal tackle and received a yellow card for his sins. Exploiting the one man advantage in the backs, Bassett then fired out a long pass to their full back who fed the left wing who touched down in the corner for Bassett’s first try of the day. Conversion missed, the score was now 8 : 24. With 15 minutes to play Grove now made their first substitution with flanker Matt Young coming on for Alex Morgan and the newcomer went straight into action charging at his opponents and linking well with Gustafson. Carr missed a penalty kick and from the 22 metre drop out Bassett tried to come again but once again it was Carr who pulled off an outrageous interception in his own half to run clear and unopposed to the Bassett line for his second and Grove’s fifth try of the day. Unbelievably he then missed his own conversion in front of the posts but Grove were now out of sight at 8 : 29. Bassett were still in no mood to give up and they immediately hit back with a good but unconverted try following a big forwards drive and the score moved to 13 : 29. Grove’s Gareth Hudson now substituted for Lewis who did not return from the sin bin. Bassett continued to attack but Grove’s defences were strong and they could not break through. Replacement back row man Jack Horrocks now came on with Ben Nicholl moving to scrum half and Gustafson to fly half as Maryon retired from the game. Grove were still not satisfied with their score however and following a penalty for a clear high tackle on Gustafson, Guy Nicholl quickly tapped to himself and went over between the posts for his second try of the day. Converting himself, Nicholl took the score to 13 : 36 but still not finished he then gathered from the restart, chipped ahead, gathered the ball and went over again for his hat trick try. Gustafson successfully converted for the final score to move to 13 : 43 and Grove came away in very satisfied mood after a pretty stunning performance.