Grove (73) vs. Wallingford (0)
Grove comprehensively demolished Wallingford on Saturday with a very impressive performance and in so doing regained the league leadership, thanks in part to Reading Abbey not gaining a bonus point from their match.
Grove were on the scoresheet within 1 minute of the start thanks to the first of four fine trys by wing Guy Nicholl, who finished a move notably involving lock Paul Miles and full back Nick Sevier. Fly half Roger Sevier's conversion making it 7 : 0. Grove maintained the pressure with both forwards and backs working well in tandem and Nick Sevier was unfortunate when for the second week in a row his touchdown was adjudged to have been 'held up'. It was not long however before Roger Sevier touched down following a great move started by centre Joe Bellinger and the score moved to 12 : 0. The conversion attempt unluckily hitting both upright and cross bar before falling short. Wallingford tried to hit back and employed some clever, surprise cross kicks and blind side runs to almost expose Grove but they could not sustain the attacks. Nick Sevier and centre Jamie Burns then almost put Nicholl in for his second but the touch line was just breached before he could touch down. Nick Sevier lead the next attack, blasting his way to the line but being stopped just short. The ball was however quickly recycled by scrum half Owen Gustafson who fed Skipper and prop James Eckert and his touchdown put Grove 17 : 0 ahead with just 20 minutes gone. The next try looked a bit like a circus act when the ball was fed out to Nicholl who, stumbling, somehow chipped the ball straight into Burns hands who gratefully scored the bonus point try. Roger Sevier's successful conversion making it 24 : 0 after 30 minutes. Wallingford now raised their game but good defence by flanker Simon Peel and wing Harry Carr in particular kept them at bay. Grove came back and it was No. 8 Dave Wells who was prominent in the next attack. Wallingford were tigerish in their defence but inevitably it was Nicholl who powered his way down the wing and was finally able to touch down for his second try. Roger Sevier added the extras and Grove were out of sight at 31 : 0. With half time looming Grove's attacking was relentless and with Gustafson feeding his fly half, a clever chip kick from Roger Sevier to Carr saw the winger collecting cleanly and going over between the posts. Sevier's successful conversion making the half time score 38 : 0.
The second half started with an attack by flanker Carl Alder but it was Wallingford who then pressured, gaining a penalty line out 5 metres from the Grove try line. Nothing came of this however and play ended with a penalty to Grove. Nicholl and hooker Steve Dixey lead the next strong Grove attack, taking the home players the full length of the field and it was Carr who finished the move with his second try of the day. Roger Sevier's conversion making the score 45 : 0. Grove came again with another strong run by Nicholl but it was Joe Bellinger who, taking 'route one' and smashing all before him, slid over for Grove's half century score. Sevier's extras making it 52 : 0. Next came perhaps the try of the day when Dave Wells grabbed the ball, and supported all the way by Nick Sevier, sprinted more than half the length of the field to slide over and touch down, despite being despairingly tackled just short of the line. Roger Sevier's highly successful day with the boot continued with another conversion and Grove were 59 : 0 up. Nick Sevier and Jamie Burns in combination were then unlucky when what looked certain to be another try ended with a forward pass. With the game now effectively won Grove rang the changes and brought substitutes Huw Lewis on for Gustafson, Dave Maryon on at fly half with Roger Sevier moving to full back and Nick Sevier to centre. Bellinger moved from centre to back row, substituting for Alder and Jimmy Wallbridge came on for Tim Lane at prop. Grove's dominance continued and finally it was Nicholl who, running a great line in the centre of the park, touched down for his hat trick try between the posts for Sevier's conversion to make it 66 : 0. Wallingford fought back hard and pressured the Grove try line but to no avail. Roger Sevier was now replaced with Alder returning to the field and Bellinger moved back to centre with Nick Sevier returning to full back. Maryon then popped the ball nicely to Nicholl and once again the winger had no trouble going over between the posts. Harry Carr successfully kicked the conversion and the final scoreline of 73 : 0 had been reached.
This result, with both Reading Abbey and Buckingham's failure to gain bonus point wins, means Grove are still in the hunt for an outright promotion or a play off place in this tightest of 'top of the table' clashes.
Grove team :-
James Eckert (Capt.), Steve Dixey, Tim Lane, Paul Miles, Lee Wright, Simon Peel, Dave Wells, Carl Alder, Owen Gustafson, Roger Sevier, Joe Bellinger, Jamie Burns, Harry Carr, Guy Nicholl, Nick Sevier.
Dave Maryon, Jimmy Wallbridge, Huw Lewis.