New-look 3rd XV fall short but show plenty of promise3rd October 2018
Welwyn 3rd XV 22 – 17 Biggleswade 3rd XV
Biggleswade 3rd XV travelled to Welwyn hoping to replicate last year’s winning result. The away side had a different look to that which finished last season with new faces in Oli Lattimer, Jack Deimers, Ollie Vagg, Jake Carter, and Kyle Charles as well as new captain Jack Unite.
The first half began with Biggleswade going 10-0 down with the first score coming from an excellent chip over the top of the on-rushing defensive line. The ball then bounced up and away from a Biggleswade hand and into a leaping Welwyn player’s hand. The second try came from an error when Biggleswade opted for a scrum instead of a drop out 22 which was followed by a turnover at the scrum and Welwyn going over in the corner.
Underneath the posts the experienced Simon Rutt passed on some words of wisdom which were to have an effect straight away. From the kick off Waide Allen got the ball to hang high and Jake Deimers was able to pinch it out of Welwyn’s hands and went on a surging run. Quick ball out to the backs allowed Waide Allen to show his silky footwork to go over for a try.
With Welwyn on the back foot for the first time in the game, Biggleswade were then able to draw level at 10-10 after a penalty kick was sent over successfully from just outside the 22. However, the first half would still see both sides score another try each.
The Biggleswade score came after a turnover in their own 22 which allowed Simon Rutt to put in a deft kick up the pitch setting loose the 3rd XV speedsters. Waide Allen and Ollie Vagg combined brilliantly, getting away offloads each time to keep the play going, before Tom Harding was on hand to finish off the try despite the attention of two chasing Welwyn players.
However momentum was to swing back in Welwyn’s favour. Despite the previous weeks seeing Biggleswade’s scrum and lineouts allow them to gain the upper hand, it was Welwyn who had the advantage in this game. At scrum time particularly they were able to secure several turnovers and even a rare scrum penalty. Whilst Biggleswade looked dangerous with ball in hand the inconsistent set piece prevented them from gaining the territory they needed to take control of the game.
The second half saw only one more score which came just a few minutes in after a Welwyn back made an excellent break down the wing to go over for an unconverted try. The following 10 minutes saw the Biggleswade defence throwing themselves at the Welwyn attack and held firm, Ollie Vagg and Darren Lines in particular putting in several big hits despite carrying knocks sustained during the game.
In the final 20 minutes Biggleswade were able to put together several dangerous counterattacks, with Kyle Charles using his pace and footwork to great effect. The away side’s ability to get the ball wide after turnovers was the best chance of Biggleswade finding the score they needed.
With the final 10 minutes to play, both sides upped the ante with the result still in the balance. Several Biggleswade attacks went close, however in the final moments a knock-on gave Welwyn the possession that they needed to end the game and take their second win of the season.
Despite the narrow loss, which left the away side frustrated having come so close to a possible winning try, the new look side can hold their heads high. Every player put their body on the line whilst the backline looked threatening in attack and solid in defence. With several new faces in the side Jack Unite will be excited in the potential for the 3rd XV to move up a gear or two, whilst the return leg will certainly be a date to mark in the diary.
After the match Mark Salter was awarded the very first ‘Captain’s Choice’ award for 3rd XV player of the month for turning out in every game and putting in strong performances in a variety of positions. Next month the third XV have two league games against Cheshunt and Hatfield as well as a bye week.
Biggleswade 3rd Xv: M Salter, J Unite, D Lines, J Deimers, O Lattimer, R Williams, T Harding, S Rutt; S Bishop, W Allen, K Charles, O Vagg, D Leslie, J Carter
Tries: W Allen, T Harding
Con: W Allen (1)
Pen: W Allen (1)