Towcestrians 1st XV 7, Guildford 1st XV 31
Guildford 1st XV travelled to bottom club Towcestrians on Saturday off the back of a tough run against the top three teams in the league. Coach Dave Ward named a side showing a number of changes from the side that took on Tring, with skipper Joe Garner returning from injury, Sam Kettle newly available and hooker Stefan Younghusband coming back from University it looked to be stronger line up and the squad had trained well over the past couple of weeks.
Towcestrians kicked off to the visitors who showed early nerves, the game initially being impacted by mistakes from both sides although Guildford were dominant in the scrums from the start. It was a scrum that led to the first score, Bradley Smith taking a quick tap from a scrum penalty then Younghusband taking the ball on and finally Kettle supported by the not inconsiderable bulk of Watkinson forcing themselves over the line for the first score of the game. Chisholm added the extras to make it 0-7 to the visitors. The score seemed to calm the nerves and Guildford started to play with more fluidity, winning the kick off and a subsequent penalty which they drove deep into the hosts 22. From the lineout, Guildford played a number of phases, taking the ball wide left before bringing it all the way back to the right hand touchline when the home side ran out of defenders and young fly half Ollie King was able to float a clever pass out to Paddy MacEnri who crossed for his first and Guildford’s second try. Chisholm converted to take Guildford’s lead to 0-14.
The game continued to be a contest with Towcestriansworking hard through the phases, eventually winning a penalty for a high tackle that they kicked to the corner. The hosts won the lineout and Callum Jones drove the ball over to open their account which James Falvey duly converted from out wide. Both sides continued to work hard and the half finished without any further score, 7-14 to Guildford.
Guildford started the second half brightly with a good break by Luke Rust and some strong carries taking them to their opponents 22. When they turned the ball over, Towcestriansclearance kick was charged down by Kettle then gathered well by Christian King who was brought down just short of the posts. Garner was close and fed to Smith who put the ball wide to MacEnri who crossed for his second try, Chisholm hitting the right hand post this time, 7-19 to Guildford.
Guildford continued to capitalise on their scrummage dominance, winning another penalty that took them into a good attacking position in the hosts half. The lineout saw a series of phases with play switching left and right before Ollie King stepped across a rushing defensive line and through a gap to go over for the bonus point try, which went unconverted to put Guildford 7-24 ahead.
To their credit and despite their league position, Towcestrians continued to work and were never out of the contest, but Guildford’s possession and territory led to a final score for Ben King who dummied from short range and dived through a gap, taking two tacklers over the line. Chisholm converted from short range giving a final scoreline of 7-31 with Guildford taking a much needed maximum 5 league points.
With three league games left this season, Guildford know they need to move up the table to ensure their safety but still very much retain control of their fate.
Guildford will hope to generate some momentum from this win into their next match, at home on April 7th against local rivals Sutton & Epsom who sit one league place above them in the table.