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Home > News > Hove 43 - Old Alleynians 5
Your News Hove 43 - Old Alleynians 5

Your correspondent had been led astray the previous night by a devious son of Erin and woke feeling most definitely sub optimal and not really ready for his duties. After spending the morning struggling with the Google Maps API and Javascript instantiation issues, the thought of home made steak & kidney pud proved to be a siren voice too far and thus I forced myself to leave my monastic pursuit of web site improvements and repair to Hove HQ.

Arriving rather later than intended, it appeared that no-one else had given much thought to the early KO and so, a swift pint of the amber nectar preceded luncheon. The inner man sustained, it was time to sharpen the pencil and dig out the stonkingly good new match report template that I had prepared earlier and... left at home! Buggerisation and round hairy things! Always being inventive, your correspondent purloined a couple of sheet of 80gsm A4 sheets, an RAF clipboard (many thanks Alan!) and proceeded to the great outdoors to see how the chaps would fare this week.

A slightly changed team due to injuries and availability, but a good nucleus of consistency - and, of course, it is quite good to have strength in depth. Might have needed a bit more strength in depth if it wasn't for the ante meridian activities of Messrs Alexander and Boon - but we will draw a line under the vinous and the inebriant and trust that people learn from life...

Bang on the dot, referee Trimmer indicated satisfaction with all pre match activities and invited the Old Alleynian stand off to commence proceedings in the time honoured manner by letting the ball drop to the ground whilst simultaneously applying pressure from his boot to achieve a distance of at least 10 metres in a forward direction, and so it was that the game kicked off at 14:30.

Straight away, Hove were seeking the gaps in the OA lines and the Gap Seeker General was at his imperious best in finding and exploiting these with an almost contemptuous air of disdain. Yes, young Adam - who seems to offer even more at full back when given the chance to get into stride before receiving the ball - was orchestrating as only he can. With chips, chases, shimmies, swerves, jinks and all manner of other rugby sobriquets, Adam tested the OA lines such that they almost ended up tackling themselves. Sadly, none of these early forays ended up with product and in the 8th minute, the OA were awarded a kickable penalty in the Hove half and the skipper passed the ball to their 10 to take aim. A miss was the result - but not by much and so Hove breathed the slightest sigh of relief at this let off.

From the kick following the penalty miss, Hove gathered forces and the OA 10 was caught in possession by the increasingly impressive Harvey Strudwick who was producing scything tackles all day that made your correspondent wince for the safety of the opposition. Hove were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch. The ball was thrown in and taken sweetly by Jamie Waller and straight down to Matt Sole, who let loose the rampaging Tom Howell, who ran at OA like some unleashed leviathan, scattering helpless defenders in his wake and producing that final surge to explode through the remaining resistance and to touch down for an excellent try under the posts, allowing Sam Whiting to apply the augund of 2 to the current addend of 5 allowing Statto to tell the world via the electronic scoreboard that the resultant sum of 7 was being written in the referees notebook.

We were to wait a further ten minutes for another score, but there was action-a-plenty with good work from the pack in winning the ball and retrieving lost ball. OA were not given time to build any play when they had possession. A couple of times OA started some movement, but in one instance their 10 upon receiving and hoping to work it out was swamped by Dave Wattam and Glen Rankin and had nowhere to go. Later, their 7 got the ball and made a good surging run wrong footing the first Hove line, the ball was worked out to their 13 and he made towards the line only to find Adam ready and waiting. A slight injury to Dave Wattam caused a few minutes delay around the 15 minute mark, but he shook himself off and got up ready to restart. Hove then made a couple of good moves with Sam getting the ball inside to Adam, Adam returning it to Sam, Sam kicking and chasing only to see the ball go a little too far - but the portents were good. Scott then made several yards and also tried the chip and chase but again a little too strong on the kick. It must be said that Hove were playing against the wind and so judging the amount of "welly" to put into the kicks was difficult to judge.

As I promised, 10 minutes ago, another score was in the offing and this time a high ball was received in the Hove half by Adam, who opened his internal lexicon of rugby moves and ran, turned, twisted, dummied, shimmied, jinked, stopped, started, feigned and ran about 60 metres leaving a wake of confusion behind him and touched down for a further 5 points to Hove. If we charged entrance money - it would have been worth it just to see that spectacular performance. Sam stepped up for the kick once more and the additional two points were awarded for his success.

A mere two minutes later saw Rory Chesham get the ball in midfield and set off on another barnstorming run at the OA lines. Rory was stopped by what looked a pretty high tackle to me and landed awkwardly on his knee but managed to release Sam for a third Hove try. Unfortunately the kick proved beyond Sam and after several minutes attention, Rory had to leave the field to be replaced by young Adam Tunesi. The couple of delays caused the first half to be extended by five minutes and whilst the scoring was complete the action was not and there were good opportunities for Hove coupled with resolute defending on more than one occasion. In the 45th minute, referee Trimmer blew his whistle to indicate the half was over and we were to resume in 7 minutes time. During the break, the coaches brought Jack Baker on for Glen Rankin.

Hove, via the boot of Adam (Phillips – not Tunesi) restarted the game and within 2 minutes Hove were awarded a scrum. Harvey – now at 8 – following the mini reshuffle which saw Jack go to 6, picked up, charged some poor unfortunate out of his way and slipped the ball to Matt who passed down the line to Gerwyn – sporting a shiny new scrum hat if I’m not mistaken – who dummied a pass to Tom, whilst zipping through a gap and going through to touch down. Sam stepped up and secure the additional points to give Hove an impressive 26-0 lead by the 3rd minute of the second half. After 10 minutes, young Robin Ward – making his first start for the firsts came off and was replaced by young Charlie Brock (I seem to be using the word “young” a lot, but with an average age in the early to mid 20’s that’s not too surprising). Three minutes later, the coaches shuffled the pack again and brought Nick (not quite as young) Paddenburg on for Sam (very young) Whiting. This reorganisation possibly contributed a little, but right at this moment, OA chipped the ball ahead and chased it. The ball bounced awkwardly for the defender but kindly for the attacker and with only a metre to go before the line a desperate tackle was made and the OA attacker was brought to the ground but managed to reach over with his arm and was awarded the try out wide. The kick was missed and so the score was now 26-5 to Hove.

The OA team were showing slight signs of fatigue and there were a couple of blood injuries and a couple of times when people seemed to be down for a while and play stopped for these occasions. Hove, however, still seemed as fresh as a pack of baby wipes and as the game restarted the ball came to Tom Howell, who reprising his juggernaut role of earlier burst through some hapless defenders and swung the ball out to Charlie Brock who passed it onto Nick Paddenburg who the passed back to Charlie and from him onto Scott for a nice try under the posts. The ball passing from hand to hand at speed with players running forward with momentum. Electrifying to watch and exactly what people want to see. For a moment, Adam (P) must have been dreaming of his David Beckham sticker book and as he placed the ball for the kick, he struck an excellent soccer penalty into the top corner of where the net would have been. Unfortunately, we were playing rugby and so this enterprising effort counted for nought (and if he had really been Beckham taking a penalty then it would have one over the bar…)

Anyway – enough of that – and back to our game. 31-5 shouted the scoreboard at all those who had lost count (not me!) and two minutes later with OA in possession, their man was tackled and the ball won. Straight out to Adam and another try and this time a quick drop kick secured the further two points for the score to move onto 38-5. Further attacking play by Hove saw Gerwyn gather the ball and pass to Tom who ran forward and passed to Charlie. Charlie ran for the line but was stopped inches short but with Jack following up but unable to scoop the ball to make the score. Later, a stray OA kick was caught by Adam who gave the ball to Dave Wattam who then gave it back to Adam who surged forward and passed to Tom who went into the corner for a final try. The conversion was missed and the score stood at 43-5 – where it was to remain. But, there was still more to come from Hove and just before referee Trimmer was to blow his whistle, Hove gathered forces again and Jack Baker was charging for the corner. A last gasp tackle saw touch given as his boot was on the line by the merest fraction as Jack touched the ball down. Game over.

Well, an excellent game with some damn good performances. I’ve given my man of the match to Adam as he was excellent but there were plenty of solid performances – Tom Howell: always dangerous when receiving the ball and must scare the opposition when he starts moving towards them; Harvey Strudwick – at one point I thought he had separated the upper and lower halves of an OA body such was the force of his tackle; Dave Wattam was always where the ball was; the two locks Liam and Jamie had solid games; the entire front row performed well and we were scrummaging better than of late. I could probably mention something worthwhile for everyone – but this is and always will be a team game and its good to see that aspect working better. People being there for each other and knowing where to go and where to be. Next week sees the Firsts back to league action away at Sevenoaks where we will be up against it. Our very own Mikey Walton now plays eight for them and when I bumped into him last week, he was very much looking forward to our visit. If we are to contend for promotion then it is games like these that we must win. Well done all, an excellent game and a convincing win – and a damn good steak and kidney pud!

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