Guildford 1st XV 10, Westcombe Park 17 – 28th January 2018
Guildford hosted league strugglers Westcombe Park on Saturday after a good win against Westcliffe but wary of the visitors who arrived with some new faces and off the back of a three successive victories. Guildford’s side showed only two changes from the week before with Tom Harty coming in for the absent Hooper and Matt Poole starting in the front row against his old club, and they hoped to rack up successive league wins for the first time this season.
Guildford started the game playing uphill hoping to benefit from the slope in the second half but were quickly under pressure conceding two early penalties, the second of which was converted to make the score 0-3, this whilst Nick Clarke was being helped off with an ankle injury. From the restart, clearance kicks were exchanged before Westcombe Park defied the conditions to run the ball from deep in their half. With good supporting lines and after a series of passes they broke through and touched down under the posts to put the hosts in a 0-10 hole.
Guildford fought back as the weather worsened and after a driving run into Park territory by captain Joe Garner, Alex Burrill carried on the momentum and crashed into the defence only to provide the deftest of touches to offload to Alex Jordan on a fantastic inside line on the 22 and have him run in under the posts to make is 7-10, scrum half Bradley Smith adding the extras.
Later in the half, Park’s big forward pack drove a maul a full fifteen yards and when they were pulled up short of the Guildford line, the referee awarded a scrum which saw influential Park fly half Will Robinson step inside the defence and accelerate through the gap from 5 yards out for a score for the purists. He converted his own try to make it 7-17 at half time.
Although Guildford had the benefit of the slope in the second half, the conditions and surface continued to deteriorate and despite spending the last quarter virtually camped in the opposition 22, they were only able to show a solitary penalty for their efforts to leave the score at 10-17 which was enough for a losing bonus point.
This was a difficult loss and closes the month out with 2 wins from 4 and 12 out of a possible 20 league points. The pressure continues next Saturday away at Shelford and coach Dave Ward will need a good week at training to lift the team for the challenge ahead.