Amber and Blues Too Hot for Benger
By Jimmy Rees
The amber and blues continued their perfect start to 2019 win another bonus point win when they hosted Sutton Benger.
After a good session at training and with the bad taste of last weekends performance still lingering, Warminster wanted to show the home support what they capable of and to put in a great performance using all the aspects that they have been working on at training. And of course the win.
Warminster started the game unusually strong. Dan Bowman taking the ball well from the kick off and his rumble down the field set the tone of the game. The amber and blues forwards took the game to the visitors carrying the ball strongly. This set a great platform for scrum half Gavin Pratt and fly half Jason Sprangle to release the backs to get involved in the game. It wasn’t long before the first scored was registered, outside centre Dan McIntyre received the ball with a little bit of time, after spotting a gap in the defence and a quick change of direction, McIntyre step back inside wrong footing his opposite number and then used his pace to sprint into score under the posts leaving the remaining defenders dead on their feet. Sprangle retook kicking duties this week and converted the extras. The amber and blues quickly added another score, this time McIntyre’s top try scorer competitor Ross Williams was to dive over the line, after a perfectly judged and executed cross field kick from Sprangle, with the bounce popping perfectly into Williams’ grasp to dive over. Sprangle confidently nudged over the difficult extras. Stand in skipper Pratt cried out to the team to keep their focus. Another score would quickly be added, after some good running by McIntyre created an over lap and a well timed passed to the supporting Ollie Pinnell allowed Pinnell to score. Sprangle again adding the extras. Warminster early dominance seen them quickly score three tries within twenty minutes. However the amber and blues started to become complacent; rather than sticking to the great support play, individual running and slow support saw the home side infringing with holding on penalties as the visitors pounced at the breakdowns. The visitors began to assert pressure on to the hosts. But the amber and blues defence was dogged and were committed in the tackle. Alex Jenkins, Reid Curtis and Ollie Pinnell putting in their fair share of tackles in. The good defence managed to keep the visitors a-bay and eventually after good discipline at the break down forcing a penalty. Sprangle would try to relive the pressure by clearing into touch. Unfortunately the kick didn’t quite make it. With the amber and blues defence rushing up the Sutton Benger back booted the ball clear. The seemingly unthreatening kick, bounced between winger Williams and full back Daniel Harris, unfortunately the ball hit the muddy ground and an awkward bounce managed to squirm from the grasp of Harris and land in the path of the Benger winger would used his boot to push the ball over the hosts line and the winger dived over to the score the points. An unfortunate try to concede. Although the pressure asserted from Benger they never seemed like breaching the defence so this score was deemed rather fortunate. The order from Pratt and Jenkins was to put that score out of the minds of the frustrate amber and blue players and after a condoling pat on the shoulder and reassurance to Harris the game continued. Now after the score Benger’s tails were most definitely up and they began to put together so good passages of play and the backs began to stretch the hosts defence. It wasn’t long before Benger scored again, this time after some good carries from the strong pack. A short distance attempt was successful after a good offload. Both tries were converted and Benger were back within a score. Pinnell would score his second before the half ended to give Warminster the four try bonus point and give the hosts a little more confidence.
The second half began and then so did the rain. The changed weather conditions dictated the game as playing conditions became more difficult. Benger began to keep the ball tight and were attempting to batter through the amber and blues defence. The hosts kept discipline and thwarted every attack Benger threw at them and after a prolonged period of defender the amber and blues forced an error and used the resulting scrum to clear their lines. With the ball Warminster looked threading Dom Davey and Dean Preistman were carrying and offloading well creating space behind the tackle area. The pressure resulting in Warminster deep in the half of Benger. A lot of strong carries saw Curtis dive over the line, some good defence work from Benger saw Curtis’ attempt prevented. Warminster continued to attack the line, desperate to score but a good read from the Benger scrum half saw an attempted offload intercepted and the Benger 9 sprinting towards the amber and blues line. The 9 began to tire and ran towards the touch line and went to go around Harris, Harris did well to usher the attack to the touch line and the sprinting McIntyre was able to put in a last ditch tackle with Harris to prevent the score. After that Benger started to kick a lot more, Harris at fullback was solid under the high ball and began to attack with the ball at any given opportunity. This would result in the next score, when a clearing kick found its way to Harris who changed the direction of attack, the ball found its way to new boy Jamie Verden who broke through the tiring defence and found himself with nothing but an Benger fullback in front of him he eventually tried to offload to supporting Pratt who by then was taken down by a last ditch tackle. The resulting phase of play saw the ball get to winger Williams who used a change of pace and direction to navigate his way though six defenders to score under the posts. Sprangle slotted the extras. There would be one more score before the final whistle after a crushing line break from Curtis saw him offloading out of a tackle to McIntyre who was able to sprint clear and score under the posts. Sprangle was able to get the extras and take his tally to twelve points for the day and 100% with the boot.
A very impressive performance from the amber and blues was very positive. Some very good cohesive periods of play! Not the ‘perfect performance’ that the boys know they are capable of but there are definitely progressing as the season goes on! Sprangle kicking performance was very good and was used well as an stacking threat. He also was able to release his backs well! Lai Vinakadina as always was a strong in the tackle and carried the ball very well! There was also time for the team to sing Pratt's newly composed song 'Pride of South West Wiltshire' or 'Mighty Amber and Blues' (Title pending) to end the day in good spirits. Man of the match went to Ollie Pinnell who with his two tries, also put in a tireless performance around of the pitch, putting in countless tackles and was good in the lineout and a nuisance at the breakdowns. Club captain Jimmy Rees commented ‘we are on a good run at the moment four wins out of four games in 2019. The lads are developing well together and are building week to week’ the amber and blues will have a well deserved rest this weekend before they face Trowbridge 2nd XV on the 9th February away