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Home > News > Witney 66 - Slough 5
Your News Witney 66 - Slough 5

After two fairly flattering wins, Witney needed a better performance and

generally they can feel they did the business here against mid-table Slough.

The first half saw Witney notch up 34 unanswered points with six tries and a

pretty dominant performance against a lacklustre Slough side. An early score

from Owen Fowler was crucial to settle the home sides nerves after good work

from the forwards. The next score took a little while coming but was a

cracker when it did as Witney skipper James Lamb took a great line to slice

open the Slough defence, drawing the full back and seeing Carl Strutt glide

over, Ed Mitchem slotting the conversion. The visitors lost their number

eight to a bit of a €œtantrum€ and he only put his side under more pressure

than they were already under. Witney made them pay for the mistake with

another try as the forwards rumbled on again after a good kick from Henry

Lamb to the corner. Gareth Campbell sniped and went close before Fowler

charged over to finish the move off. At this point Slough were definitely on

the wrong side of the referee and were giving penalties away regularly. So it

was no surprise when Witney made the pressure tell again with Carl Campbell

showing good strength and technique to worm his way over, Mitchem converting.

With the opening 40 minutes running out, the home side knew they needed to

use the elements and kill the game off. They did so with some great hands

releasing full back Ed Mitchem who didn€™t need Louie Collins outside him and

touched down for a fifth try. He failed to convert his own try but stroked a

penalty over on the edge of halftime to make the game a formality at 34-0.

While Slough were beaten they had to find their self respect and for the

first twenty minutes of the second half, they threw all they had at Witney.

It was surprising therefore, when Witney scored against the run of play and

it came through flanker Tim Muller who broke from halfway and outstripped the

defence for a lung busting try, converted by Mitchem. This was Muller€™s last

play of the game as ex-skipper Jez Hicks returned to the fold as his

replacement on the back row.

Slough continued their revival though with their inside centre running very

well and their feisty number eight also doing some good things when he

channelled his energy in the right place. Their big unit at prop was also

doing some great work in the lose exchanges and making some hard yards

despite blowing €œquite hard€ as a result. It was Witneys turn to start giving

away penalties and this lifted the visitors who battered at Witneys line and

got their just reward with a try as their flanker burrowed in. Was this a

start of a massive comeback ? Well no, but Slough continued to play much

better than their first half performance and it was again against the run of

play when Witney scored again. It was from their own half and they launched

an attack through replacement winger Aaron Lambourne who showed great feet

and awareness to release James Monks. The winger looked to have been halted

on a couple of occasions but while centre Strutt was screaming for the inside

ball, Monks just carried on going and reached over for the try to take Witney

to one point from the half century.

This just about knocked the final stuffing out of Slough and the last twenty

minutes saw them run a little bit ragged. James Lamb€™s powerful running

continued to cause issues and he and Aaron Lambourne conjoured up the next

try for hooker Sam Collins to crash over. Henry Lamb then got onto the

scoresheet showing great pace to finish off a fine handling move. Some

magnificent hands saw Strutt cruise over for a splendid try but the ref had

spotted a forward pass (he was right) to cancel it out. Witney were far from

finished though and Henry Lamb burst down a tiring blind side to touch down

for a splendid try. The final nail in the Slough coffin came on the final

whistle as a now rampant Witney broke from their own 22 to release winger

Louie Collins who had seen little ball all afternoon. He outstripped the

defence to score a fine try and Witneys tenth of the afternoon.

The scoreline was emphatic and the performance far better than the previous

two matches and even though Slough fielded a weakened side, you can only play

what€™s in front of you and Witney did just that. Next week its long

undefeated Swindon who took Witneys scalp in the Cup already this season and

will be looking to repeat that next Saturday.

1st XV

Mitchem, Monks, *Lamb(J), Strutt, Collins(L), Lamb(H), Campbell(G) : Serle,

Collins(S), Richens, Fowler, Bennett(C), Muller, Campbell(C), Rowles

Repl: Hicks(J)(Muller-45), Burke(Serle-50), Lambourne(Monks-55)


Two impressive wins on paper in the last two League matches but to be honest,

a couple of below par performances, so to come back with a bang against

Slough was very important. Witney had played really well over there earlier

in the season and needed to match that this time round in front of the brave

Hailey Road crowd who had come out in the cold. As usual, the win stems from

the forwards who set up a good platform despite some great spoiling tactics

from Slough who got away with some but not all in the rucks and mauls. With

the forwards solid, the backs could perform and skipper James Lamb had a huge

match running strongly as well as putting in some trademark hits. The

lineouts were very solid and Sam€™s throwing was top drawer despite the wind.

Ed also had a massive match at full back and it wasn€™t just his 16 point haul

that impressed but his awareness and tactical nous of knowing when to kick

and when to run, great to see.

Enough about Witney and full credit to Slough for their second half where

they were unlucky as they played some good stuff in that opening 20 minutes

of the half and got their deserved try but also leaked a couple against the

run of play. In the past many Witney sides would have sat on their lead but

the guys kept their shape and their resolve and scored those extra tries to

nail the victory where in the past they may have been content with what they

had already achieved. Some really enjoyable rugby to watch and Carl

Campbell€™s coverage of every blade of grass in attack and defence was

crucial. Huge test next week against high flying Swindon who will be looking

to turn Witney over again, this time in the League.

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