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Home > News > Witney 14 - Slough 7
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Your News Witney 14 - Slough 7
02
MAR

After so many narrow League defeats this season, Witney were due a slice of luck

and it came their way at the end of an uncommonly long second half. With the

scores tied, Henry Lamb had a penalty chance about 30 metres out and midway

between the posts and the touchline, a successful kick would surely be enough to

win the match. The ball was struck sweetly but drifted a little in the wind and

hit the post where it fell between three Slough defenders. The ball managed to

bounce as only a rugby ball can and fell into the path of the following up

replacement centre, Carl Strutt who dived over, Lamb converting.

One more play and the match was over and Witney were relieved to come away with

the two points which they probably deserved on clear cut chances and the balance

of play. Regardless of the score this was a better Slough side than Witney had

played earlier in the season and it was a good battle all afternoon.

The wind was largely blowing across the field but favoured Witney more in the

first half and they used it to good effect. James Elwood and Henry Lamb both

found good touch finders all match and hooker Adam Copperwheat enjoyed a fine

match throwing in accurately all afternoon despite the blustery conditions.

Witney were superior in the lineouts but Slough were living very close to the

offside line and scrum half Gareth Campbell was given a tough afternoon given

the conditions and the pressure he was allowed to be put under. Witney certainly

enjoyed the opening exchanges and James Lamb and Louie Collins both enjoyed

clean breaks but crucial passes were not timed right and chances were not being

put away. Will Worrall made some telling runs too but the conditions meant that

a number of passes were spilled and the game never really got too much flow to

it which probably favoured the larger visiting forwards.

After 25 minutes, Slough had showed what they were made of with a couple of

useful breaks and their threequarters were certainly nippy given any sort of

space. Witney knew a score was needed and it eventually came from some skilful

work from full back Johnny Wheater and winger Henry Lamb. Despite finding

themselves with a defender each, their angles of run and the final pass from

Wheater was so well timed, Lamb scampered over and also converted his try to

make it 7 points to the good. Slough were not in any mood to lie down though and

set their big centre off on a run, he was stopped in his tracks and driven back

by no 8 Jimi Collis and morally this gave the home side a huge boost before the

interval.

Halftime came and despite the wind favouring the visitors, Witney knew they were

generally in control with Mark Serle and Rikki Dore both working hard in the

scrums and Jimi Collis and Jez Hicks more than holding their own in the

lineouts. However the Slough defence was really giving halfbacks Gareth Campbell

and James Elwood little time to get the backline moving on a regular basis so

the coaches knew that had to improve in the second 40 minutes. Some of the

spectators suggested that the Slough players were offside but they played to the

referee and thatā€™s what any team would do!

The kick off saw Witney try and run the ball from deep but they were disjointed

in their effort and gave the early initiative back to Slough. They recovered

well though and Henry Lamb drilled some nice touchline kicks to gain some good

territory back.

Fly half Elwood looked to have scored a superb individual try just after the

break and with chance few, that could well have been enough to clinch it. He

picked the ball up from a maul and darted round the blindside, spotted a gap and

ghosted through it. He was tackled right on the line but reached over for what

looked a super try but the touch judge correctly spotted his foot had just hit

the line and the chance was gone.

Witney were still pressing but the ball was spilled and Slough hacked through

and found themselves deep in the Witney 22, so from being almost home and dry in

a matter of seconds, the pressure was right back on skipper Jez Hicksā€™s side.

They defended well though and pushed Slough back towards halfway. The visitors

were a determined lot though and when the ball was again spilled their kick

through saw their impressive winger score a deserved try which was converted to

tie the scores.

The remainder of the match was far from a classic with many stops and the

occasional undercurrent which had been around for much of the match spilled over

on a few occasions which eventually saw the Slough second row taking a 10 minute

breather. Witney failed to make the most of this one man advantage though and

despite the effort being good, the execution was lacking and they often got in

each others way when half chances were created.

Owen Fowler and Carl Strutt came on to try and swing the match Witneys way in

the last ten minutes and with the Slough discipline not being the best, the

referee gave the penalty chance and the rest was history!

Next week itā€™s a tough fixture over at Swindon who have improved immeasurably

since the two teams met early in the season and Witney notch up a half century.

It will be a different kettle of fish next week with Swindon pressing for third

and even with this victory behind them, Witney are still in the bottom half of

the League.

1st XV

Wheater, Lamb(H), Lamb(J), Collins(J), Collins(L), Elwood, Campbell(G) : Dore,

Copperwheat(A), Serle, Richens, *Hicks(J), Worrall, Campbell(C), Collis

Repl : Caffekey(Campbel(10-blood)-50, Fowler(Richens-60), Strutt(Elwood-65)

VIEW FROM THE TOUCHLINE

Good old lady luck! But Strutty chased up the kick and got his just rewards and

I honestly think Witney were the better side overall but Slough certainly have

improved since we played them down at their patch. Great tackle from Jimi in the

first half and good touchfinders from both James Elwood and Henry Lamb in

difficult conditions. Indeed I think without the wind, there would have been

far fewer mistakes and far more running from both sides as Slough had a couple

of nice runners in their lineup too. Still, two points and a few more of the

same would be very welcome before the end of the season.

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