Academy v Epping Upper Clapton 28th January 2018

Buzzard U17’s welcomed Epping Upper Clapton RFC, from Essex, to their first visit to Wright’s Meadow. Epping, with their heavier pack in muddy conditions. soon had Buzzards on the back foot and spent substantial periods of the 1st half camped out in the Buzzards half. Kindly lent a prop, Tino, by Epping, the Buzzards forwards Julian Gallie and Hayden Jones in the front row, second row Max Green and George Burr, Harry Eacott and Rhys Richards flanking and LJ Green at No. 8 held up the Epping forwards onslaught and the Buzzards spirited defence, including the backs, restricted the visitors score to 2 unconverted tries. The continuous action was gradually wearing down the heavier opposition. At half time, coach Dave Chapman and captain Louis Beer spotted the opportunities to let loose the backs.

Winning a penalty in their 22, Beer and Ollie Gronert broke away down the wing, closely supported by Dane Richards who touched down for Buzzards first try.

Tino used his strength to expertly rip the ball in a maul.The won ball went out to John Fudge who outpaced the Epping backs. From a resulting penalty in the Epping 22, after a few backs phases D Richards again benefited from being in close support, touching down for his 2nd try.

The backs started to penetrate the Epping defence more and more and Joseph Cox, guest player from St Ives, caused lots of problems. George Pratt and Ryan  From a stolen line-out in the visitors 22, the ball went along the back line and Fudge used is pace to dive over to score.

The Buzzards 4th try followed quickly from the kick-off. Beer collected the ball and made a strong run down the flanks, weaving between the defenders to score.

Buzzards then made sustained attacks in the Epping 22. A maul was turned over by Gallie and from the resulting 5m scrum, Gronert found the strength to touchdown.

Epping were not down and there then followed a long period of heavy opposition forward play in the Buzzards 22. Eventually Epping were rewarded with their 3rd try.

Buzzards went on the attack again, to kill off the game, and excellent lineout jumping by Burr resulted in an opportunity for D Richards which he took well to score a hat-trick and Buzzards final try.

Beer had a good afternoon, kicking 5 of the 6 conversions in windy conditions. The final result 40 – 15 showed how the efforts spent on tackling and fitness on the training pitch paid off. For his alert and intelligent play, Joseph Cox was named man of the match.