Guildford Rugby Club

Reading 7 Guildford 34 - a Jacob Jones hat-trick moves Guildford into fourth place

Reading 7 – 34 Guildford

Saturday 17th February 2024

Team: 1 Luke Brooks, 2 Jacob Jones, 3 Alex Hankin (C), 4 Alex Burrill, 5 Flynn Crean, 6 Ollie Millward, 7 Brett Kingsbury, 8 Joe Garner (VC), 9 Ieuan Jones, 10 Liam Driscoll, 12 Oli Fielder, 13 Ben Roberts, 14 Blair Norton, Zac Rodber

Replacements: 16 Jon Karimian, 17 Briarly Brown, 18 Matt Poole

Guildford secured a bonus point win on the road enabled by a dominant lineout that built the platform for a six try win over a young plucky Reading side.  The Guildford team was bolstered up front this week with the return of the Kiwi contingent, who had enjoyed a sojourn to London a fortnight ago.  The back line showed one positional change with the versatile Zac Rodber moving to fullback to replace the unavailable Joe Gwyther.  Ben Roberts moved into outside centre and Blair Norton replaced Louis Bounds on the wing.

Guildford kicked off wearing their usual blue shirts with wind behind them. The first half was uneventful for the first twenty minutes with both sides sounding each other out, but defences were holding strong.  The Guildford attack was stuttering a little, the boys were trying to play, but the last pass was just not sticking.  One thing that was becoming clear from the early exchanges was the dominance of the Guildford lineout.  Joe Garner, Flynn Crean and Alex Burrill were making things very difficult for the Reading lineout, either stealing the ball, or disrupting the ball Reading won to put them under a lot pressure.

It was from one such Guildford lineout in the Reading 22 from a penalty that led to the first try.  The process worked well with Jacob Jones finding Flynn Crean at the front of the line. The drive was good, Reading couldn’t defend it, and Guildford drove over the line with Jacob Jones getting the score.  The conversion was missed,  the score was Reading 0 – 5 Guildford.

More good work from the lineout and several short pick-and-goes resulted in Joe Garner crashing over for the second try, converted by Ieuan Jones. Reading 0 – 12 Guildford.

It was rinse and repeat from another lineout close to the Reading line that saw Jacob Jones crash over for his second and Guildford’s third try that was again converted by Ieuan Jones. Reading 0 – 19 Guildford.

The referee then called a close to proceedings for the first half.

Half Time: Reading 0-19 Guildford

Reading kicked off the second half with the wind behind them.  Over the course of the first half their scrum had become more dominant, as in the corresponding fixture in November at Broadwater.

The second half ebbed and flowed along similar lines to the first.  Guildford were trying to play and finding space out wide but were faltering either due to not executing the final pass or being called back by the referee.

A penalty to Guildford saw another lineout close to the Reading line and the Jones - Crean lineout machine worked its magic, another unstoppable drive resulted in Jacob Jones’ third try and Guildford’s fourth to secure the Bonus Point.  Guildford’s driving maul was too strong for the home side to stop despite several attempts to pull it down.  Reading 0-24 Guildford

Reading got themselves back into the game through several penalties conceded by Guildford.  Interestingly choosing to take the scrum option as opposed to kicking for the corner.  Not surprising really given their struggling lineout and dominant scrum.

It was one such scrum that resulted in a good drive from Reading who pushed Guildford back 10m towards their own try line.  The referee decided that Guildford had stopped a certain try and awarded a penalty try to the home team.  It also resulted in a yellow card for Guildford.  Reading 7 – 24 Guildford

It wasn’t long before the referee was showing another yellow card, this time to Reading, for pulling down a Guildford driving maul.

Guildford were starting to create more space out wide against the 14 men of Reading and at last the passes were sticking. This resulted in two further tries, one for each winger.  Blair Norton finishing strongly down the right wing and AJ finishing off a good move from the backline on the left hand side.  Both conversions were unsuccessful. Reading 7 – 34 Guildford.

A good performance on the road from Guildford with a nod to Zac Rodber who was voted Player of the Match by the Reading team.  Guildford now have a week off before a home game against Wimborne on Saturday 2nd March.  The Past Players lunch will be held before  kick-off, so a large, noisy crowd should be in attendance. 

Mike Burden

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