Two in Two for Twos
By Martin Lee
Watford won their second game on the bounce against high flying Tabard
Words from Andy Lee
Watford 2s took on top of the table Tabard at Radlett Road with the 1st team hosting Haringey - there was a lot of potential for some sore heads in the morning should a double win be pulled off. After a closeish defeat to Chess Valley and a solid win against Hemel, Watford entered the game up for a good contest. The second team had a few debuts and people playing out of position. Talismanic skipper Pieface Hicks had tweaked his knee in training, leading to Jack Beynon stepping up into the on pitch captaincy with Tullett adding some youth and vibrancy (and a full head of hair) to the vice-captain role.
From kick off Watford knew that they were in for a potential long day at the office, Tabard looking to utilise some strong strike runners and targeting the mismatches after a few phases and marching Watford’s pack 20m down the pitch in the first scrum. This lead to their first try, after keeping it tight a simple pass where there was a lack of cover lead to them crossing the whitewash. This score galvanised Watford, leading to a lot more control being had around the fringes of the contact area. After Lee realised that you’re supposed to actually hook the ball when playing hooker, some good work from the scrum gave Franklin a solid platform to pick and go from the back of the scrum and showed good strength to power through attempted tackles and dot down for Watford. B. Wilson duly obliged with the extras – 7-5.
Tabard were not to be denied however and in a real ding dong of a game managed to up the ante and score another try after yet another well worked march down the pitch - 7-10. After taking a few too many knocks, prop Tierney had to leave the pitch, making the scrums uncontested. Tullett also had to leave the pitch sporting a rather fetching black eye. Although passing his HIA, he was deemed too precious to be thrown back into the fray leading to a shuffling of the back line with Steven James stepping into the 10 spot – slightly less hair but still doing a better job than Jack and Pie.
The final score of the half came from Wilkinson, proving what a loss he is when injured by showing a clean pair of heels after a superb line break to put the ball under the sticks for an easy conversion.
With the game being so close tempers started to fray leading to a few off the ball scuffles. After a few of these the referee warned any more foolishness would result in a card. Cue the most foolish of foolish people, Steve James deciding that an off the ball challenge would be a clever idea, especially in front of the referee. After a bit of a kerfuffle afterwards, the referee saw him swing a punch that landed about 4 miles west of North Watford. A red card was duly produced and Mr James was given his marching orders, reducing Watford to 14 men for the remainder of the second half against a very up for it Tabard side.
Fortunately Watford had decided to dig their heels in and play some pretty good rugby for the remainder of the half. With the only other lifter being off the pitch and Tabard jumping well, each penalty was decided that a scrum was the correct course of action. With quick distribution and clean lines being run, Watford refused to be contained and showing good movement of the ball worked the ball out to debut Kingsley on the wing, who with over half of the pitch and 3 defenders left to beat, decided to turn on the afterburners and dot down in the corner. The kick proved to be slightly too far for Ben.
With a man overlap in the backs, Man of the Match Greg Reeve led from the front, putting Tabard’s backs under serious pressure when trying to utilise any overlap. A number of hard presses from Reeve led to fumbles and turnovers, making life much easier for Watford than it could have been.
The second of the afternoon for Kingsley was pretty much a carbon copy of the first, showing that even after showing what you have, if you can skin someone on the outside it’s very tough to stop them.
Tabard got one back after a dastardly bounce from a high ball saw Silver wrong footed in the try area and after diving onto where the ball was supposed to go, vainly tried to tap it down prior to a tabard chaser getting there. Unfortunately he was just beaten – Tabard getting the conversion to make the game far from over. Tabard continued to knock on the door but some handling errors with the try line begging let Watford off the hook.
The final 2 scores came from Lee, who was feeling rather fresh as all he had to do was walk from uncontested scrum to uncontested scrum. After solid phase play within tabard’s 22m, Pete Jenkins took contact and provided a good offload to Lee to put it under the sticks.
The final try came from Lee who was given the ball and ran it over for the final play of the game.
All in all a very encouraging performance from the 2nd team against a well drilled and solid opposition. With half of the season left and comfortably sitting mid table it is definitely all still to play for.
Watford now have a week off for both squads, but the clubhouse is open for the 6 nations. See you all there.