Grove (39) vs. Slough (29)
Grove get first bonus point win.
Although missing a number of first choice players, Grove achieved their first, bonus point, victory in the league with a stunning first half display, in which they ran in four trys with three conversions against a single converted try from Slough. Sadly the home side then went to sleep for most of the second half only rousing themselves when Slough threatened to get back on terms.
Grove's opener came after just 3 minutes when captain and prop James Eckert blasted over in the corner following a rebound from a Slough clearance kick. It was Slough who hit back however when a quickly taken 22 drop out by full back Roger Sevier was charged down and from a penalty that followed they won a 5 metre line out. The resultant catch and drive saw the Slough pack power over the try line to touch down. The wide angle conversion was superbly slotted to put the visitors into a 5 : 7 lead. Grove stormed back however scoring immediately from the restart with the slickest of trys from wing Harry Carr who finished off a clinical running and passing display by the Grove backs. Roger Sevier converted for a 12 : 7 Grove lead. It was Carr who also bagged the next from a solo effort when he jinked and fooled the opposition for the touchdown, Sevier converting to put Grove 19 : 7 clear with just 14 minutes gone. Scrum half Johnny Simmonds was then extremely unlucky, being bundled into touch, following a terrific run from Huw Lewis playing on the left wing. Grove's bonus point try came after 23 minutes from centre Nick Sevier who finished a move involving Simmonds and Roger Sevier, beating several players on his own to touch down between the posts. Roger Sevier's conversion providing a score of 26 : 7. Five minutes later Roger Sevier had the chance to put Grove further ahead with a relatively straightforward penalty kick but the ball sailed wide. Fly half Dave Maryon lead the next Grove attack, firstly with a long kick downfield then a sniping run to the line from which he was stopped just short. Roger Sevier then picked up the cudgels mazily charging for the line only to knock on at the last second. Slough pressured towards the end of the half but no further scoring ensued.
The second half started with Grove well in command and it was they who extended their lead when a wide angle penalty kick was slotted by Roger Sevier for 29 : 7. Next a great drive by the Grove forwards, following surefooted attacking by all the backs, lead to the pack hammering their opposite numbers over the line and lock Paul Miles touching down for a great try. This was converted from out wide by Sevier for 36 : 7. Next Grove flanker Carl Alder was penalised for holding the ball on the ground but as he was then flattened by a Slough player after the whistle had gone the referee rightly reversed the penalty. Eckert took a clean line out ball following a great throw to the back of the line by hooker Dave Needham but the attack broke down and it was Slough who moved back towards the Grove line. Declining the opportunity to kick 3 points from a penalty Slough went for the line out. This was stolen by Grove but Alder was then yellow carded for killing the ball and Grove just seemed to be losing their edge a little. Slough moved to the Grove line with a lovely rolling maul following their penalty and their hooker touched down for a good but unconverted try to take the score to 36 : 12. From the restart Slough attacked again and with no tackling from the Grove defence the touch down from their fly half was clinical and easy, taking the score to 36 : 17. Again the conversion kick was missed. Ollie Highton replaced Jack Horrocks at flank for Grove and Jimmy Wallbridge came on for Needham. With Grove looking a bit rattled by the Slough burst of scoring they decided to go for the posts with their next penalty award and Sevier duly obliged with 3 points for a 39 : 17 lead. After this Grove really seemed to lose concentration and their discipline began to go with penalties being awarded for dissent. Passes from the scrums were being moved too slowly with the Grove centres receiving 'hospital passes'. Slough took full advantage and it was not long before their scrum half chipped over the defence and collecting his own kick, touched down between the posts for a converted try to take the score to 39 : 24. Mark Tugwell came on for the non-returning Alder but despite immediate good work from him it was Slough who scored again with their hooker bagging his second try of the day for 39 : 29. This followed another bout of poor / non-existent tackling by Grove. Grove did launch a final attack with Simmonds crossing the line but the ball was knocked on and the game ended with a somewhat relieved Grove being the bonus point winners.