1st XV book Semi Final Place
By Jimmy Rees
Warminster RFC are through to the Dorset and Wilts 1st XV Senior Vase Semi Final after a fantastic 10-33 victory over Swanage and Wareham.
Warminster made the long journey to Wareham in Dorset for their Quarter Final game against Swanage and Wareham. It would be the first time these teams have met as Swans usually have played their trade a few leagues above their visitors.
The home side came out the blocks fast playing quick ball from the breakdowns and with an impressive offloading game found the hosts deep in the visitors half. After some dogged defence Warminster still deep in their half were keeping the home side out! This determined defence gave the visitors more and more confidence that they were in this fixture to compete. Playing against a terribly strong wind decided not to kick the ball. After some great defence Warminster has a line out deep in their own half, playing into the wind, fly half Jimmy Rees decided to let the backs play with the ball. Rees quickly shipped the ball to 1st XV debutant Steve Matthews, Matthews played a lovely delayed pass to Dan McIntyre who broke through the home sides defence. After being brought down the ball was quickly recycled to Rees who drew the defender to pass to winger Ross Williams, the speedster manage to evade the back pedalling defence to sprint in and score. Williams converted his own score! This was definitely the confidence that the visitors needed and they began to play with the ball. They shortly added a second when Williams spirited to score under the posts. Both scores converted and now Warminster began to believe in themselves. The home side hit back, they used their heavy pack and with the use of the maul from the line out. The found themselves deep in visitors half, again! This time the home side broke the wall to score. Swans scrum half took the ball from the line out to sprint through the defence and score. The conversion attempt struck the upright and was unsuccessful. Swans scored again before the half, the scrum scoring from close range from the back of a strong scrum 5 metres out.
At half time the message was simple, let’s not mess this up! Warminster would now have the slight slope and wind to their advantage going into the second half. The half started with the home side piling on the pressure again to the defence and looking certain to score. But the defence held strong, Matthews, James Rowbotham, Steve Rowbotham and Dom Davey all making some strong tackles. Unfortunately in an injury plagued game for the hosts, the next injury was the referee. After a quick conversation with the game going on the pitch next our game. The other official came over to allow the game to continue from this Warminster began to assert dominance. Rees managed to find a gap in the defence and creep through, he drew two defenders before offloading in the tackle to full back Tom Evans with still a little work to do sprinted through to score under the posts. Sprangle added the extras. Warminster began to make the changes with Will Thomas and Ryan North coming on. Almost immediately, after some intelligent work from Jason Sprangle taking a quick tap penalty passed the ball to North, who athletically dived and scored in the corner a try that Semesa Rokoduguni would of been proud of! Williams tried to add the extras from the sideline and missed narrowly. Now with the visitors were rampant and were using their speed to break the home sides defence and causing Swans to commit infringements. In a fast and furious game, skipper Steve Rowbotham calmly began to slow the game down, opting to kick into corners. There was one last score before the final whistle, Matthews finished his debut off with a great score under the posts! Rees converted the extras!
A great victory for the amber and blues against a team that is renown to be a tough team. Captain Steve Rowbotham commented ‘it was a great game, we came out and played the game in our style. We were very tight in defence and using our strengths in the game’ Club captain Jimmy Rees talked about the game ‘it was a great game for us, and the squad really came together well! We have talked about playing what’s in front of us and highlighting the oppositions weaknesses and challenging those weaknesses which I think we did perfectly’ Warminster will now proceed to the semi finals of the competition where they will have a now away tie against Minety - a team they have already defeated in the league. Rees mentioned ‘we won’t get to carried away, Minety are a good team! Especially at home they use their pitch very well to their advantage! We will focus on our league campaign where we travel to Sutton Benger next week’. The players man of the match was awarded to Steve Matthews who was a stand out on his 1st appearance for the 1st team. With some strong tackles and some great decision making in attack. We all would like to thank Tommy Sprangle for standing in as coach for the day and helping us through the game