|Date||14 October 2017|
|Opposition||RFU Vase Round 1 - Old Whitgiftians|
|Venue||Bank of England Sports Centre|
|Result||L 45 - 53|
|Time played||Normal time|
BoE 1st XV vs Old Whitgiftians (RFU Vase 1st Round) - Match Report 14th October 2017
Bank were under no illusions when they arrived at Bank Lane to open the RFU Vase campaign this Saturday. Old Whitgiftians, favourites in Surrey 1, promised to bring an attacking game the likes of which Bank had not yet seen in the league this season.
The away side took the game to Bank immediately from the kick off. Decisive front-foot ball meant that territory was almost all in favour of Whitgift in the first five minutes. Two almost inevitable early tries resulted for the away side, whilst poor kicking kept the scoreline at 0-10. After some stern words under the posts, Bank started to show glimmers of hope in defence, most notably with a superb try-saving tackle by Ed Waite, folding a Whitgiftian winger in half and bundling him over the left touchline. Fifteen minutes in, the Bank pack also found some territory via a solid attacking maul. Deep within the 22, the ball was then whipped wide to a waiting Dan Farr who took the try with relative ease. Marshall brilliantly converted from the touchline to make it 7-10.
Unfortunately, Bank couldn’t find the consistency to back this up, letting in two incredibly soft tries in quick succession - one from a lineout overthrow and another from a poorly executed restart. At 7-22, the lack of territory and execution in defence was starting to show on scoreboard. The home support were given one more chance to get excited in the first half, with a truly mercurial moment five minutes from the break. A deft backline move saw full back Sam Hawkridge break cleanly through the Whitgift line. Somewhat shockingly, support came in the form of the stampeding lock, Tom Merriman, who then floated a beautiful pass to the ever-present Trueman. Dismayingly and rather dubiously, the centre was deemed to have been held up over the line.
Again, Bank failed to convert from the resultant scrum and managed to gift possession back to the visitors. The capable outside backs for Whitgift then linked well to further turn the screw on the scoreboard. Five tries to one at the break - 27 points to 7, and only kept in touch by a poor kicking performance from the Whitgift flyhalf.
Following a terse half time talk, the Bank pack started to fire early in the second half. A period of early pressure in the visitor’s 22 saw lock Matt Jones cross the whitewash with a simple pick-and-go. Bank managed to back up this early score just minutes later. Marshall, playing at fly-half today, jinked his way through the line to score a great breakaway try. Continuing a capable afternoon with the boot, he converted again to bring Bank within 6 points of Whitgift at 21-27.
Unfortunately, a tiring bank pack managed to let through another soft Whitgiftian try at the fringes of a ruck near their own line. The following 20 minutes of the second half saw a period of free-scoring tit-for-tat. As soon as Bank pulled nearer on the scoreboard through brilliant tries from Will Powles and James Trueman, the visitors replied, invariably through fumbled ball or poor tackling. With 10 minutes remaining in the second half, the score sat at a seemingly unassailable 33-53. Bank showed great spirit to continue to attack regardless of the deficit. This ambition paid dividends, with hooker Nelson-Esch carving through the midfield for a late try, along with Farr completing a well-earned brace mere moments later.
Agonisingly, Bank left themselves too much to do, with the final score reading 45-53. Six well-taken second half tries simply weren’t enough for the home side to atone a torrid first half. The 16 tries scored in the match speaks volumes of the fact that both sides had a defence that was left wanting.
There were an array of truly notable Bank performances. Kyle Nelson-Esch looked dangerous in the loose, whilst James Marshall had a great day with the boot and caused chaos for the visitors with his ambitious attacking forays. It was James Trueman that picked up a second man of the match nod on the trot today though. New to Bank this season, he has showed real grit in both attack and defence - Trueman looks set to be a regular at Bank Lane for the foreseeable future.
Bank now turn their complete attention to the league, hungry for a second promotion in as many years. Hosting a capable Staines side next week, Bank will be desperate to get back to their winning ways.