Old Priorians RFC vs Amersham and Chiltern
Home victory means sixth in league
Old Priorians RFC hosted top of the table Amersham and Chiltern on Saturday. The game was played at West London Rugby club, after the Twisters' home pitch at Perivale was deemed unplayable following a week of heavy rain. Following a very disappointing defeat last week, a large crowed turned up anticipating a strong response and they were not disappointed.
It was clear before kick-off that the weather was going to be a major influence on the game and the home side were given the opportunity to exploit it first after their returning captain Andrew Wilkie won the toss and chose to play with the wind in the first half. The twisters built up good pressure and were rewarded for great ball retention when winger Dan Porter carried strongly and touched down under the posts. Half backs Simon March and Jack Dever kicked well to ensure that the league leaders were pinned deep into their own half for much of the opening periods.
Playing against the wind, A&C knew that they had to try and keep the ball in hand as much as possible and did all they could to utilise their big carriers. At times they were able to sustain pressure on the OP's try line but rapid line speed from the Twisters led by flanker George Majstorovic meant that the visitors were limited to few real scoring opportunities in the first half.
Roles reversed in the second half and A&C looked to kick the ball more now that the wind was behind them. Twisters' full back James Booth was back from injury and his typically astute positional sense ensured his team were not often forced to endure pressure within their own twenty-two. A&C continued to build pressure and eventually, after some good ball retention from their forwards, their backs were able to exploit a mismatch and went over to bring them back to within a score.
The twisters responded well and showed that they were not happy to sit back and defend for the duration of the second half. They were making good yards through some destructive running from try-scorer Porter and centre Alexander Macdonald. Number 8 Stefan Rowell picked up well from the base of a scrum on the halfway line and threw a great dummy that left the oncoming tackler performing a pirouette to break the defensive line. A couple of phases later and a giant miss pass from fly-half Dever saw Booth finish the move brilliantly in the corner.
For the remainder of the game both teams experienced some good spells of pressure. A&C combined strong ball carrying and handling skills from their forwards with flair from their back three to threaten the try line but ultimately it was the OP's who seemed more resilient and extended their lead with a penalty kick from Booth. A&C replied with a penalty kick of their own but the Twisters held strong and saw the game out 20-15 with a very physical defensive display led by Wilkie, centre Cosmo Elms and back row Matthew Dever.
Backs coach Daniel Brown was quick to praise the "improved effort levels" and demanded more of the same going into next week's local home clash against Ruislip. Head coach Anthony Andrews also said that he was "pleased with an effective tactical display this week."
The win moves Old Priorians into sixth position in the league.
December 2nd 2015