Berkshire too powerful for Dorset & Wiltshire
Berkshire opened their 2014 County Championship campaign beating Dorset & Wiltshire 37 – 18 at Royal Wootton Bassett RFC on Saturday 3rd May.
The sizeable crowd enjoyed the sunshine and the carnival atmosphere of the Royal Wootton Bassett ‘Cider & Sausage Festival’ and an eight try feast of rugby with Berkshire outscoring their hosts with a bonus point five tries to three.
Berkshire’s pack was just too powerful for their hosts. Berkshire had the upper hand in the scrums from the first engagement. The front row trio of Ben Louisson (Windsor), Stuart Silvester (Bracknell) and James Baker (Redingensians) providing a platform from which Berkshire’s captain, and man of the match, Nico Maybury (Bracknell), tore into and through the Dorset & Wiltshire back line ably supported by his flankers Matt Bramble (Bracknell) and Aaron Hopkins (Redingensians). The line out was superbly managed by Leo Bailey (Bracknell) providing Silvester with lots of options through Kenny Barry (Bracknell) at the front and Maybury at the tail. This Bracknell line out combination allowed the Berkshire pack to catch and drive ten’s of metres at a time and it was only resolute defence or some white line fever that meant the pack did not pick up even more tries.
Full back Chris Laidler (Windsor) drew first blood for Berkshire with a well struck 40m penalty after two minutes. Just over ten minutes later, with Barry thundering around the park and Sean McDermottroe (Redingensians) looking sharp down the left flank, Baker drove from close range for the first of his two tries.
Dorset & Wiltshire responded almost immediately with a penalty from their fly half Rory Brown and then minutes later a try from second row Lewis Paget following some excellent counter attacking play by their lively full back Jay Wetcare to level the scores at 8 – 8 .
Then Berkshire flanker, Hopkins, scored the first of his first two tries of the afternoon; Laidler adding the conversion. However, the hosts living off scraps of possession continue to show some excellent counter attacking and were back on the scoreboard again as their captain and centre, James Kaminski, broke through the Berkshire defence for an unconverted try. Half time arrived with Dorset & Wiltshire trailing Berkshire 13 – 15.
Berkshire got the second half off to a dream start. Following a searing run down the left McDermottroe got within 5m of the line and off loaded to the supporting Maybury to score wide out. Although Laidler could add the conversion he did land a penalty five minutes later to establish a 13 -23 lead for Berkshire.
The hosts dug deep and replied with their own try from lock, David Hogg, bringing the score back to 18to leave the score 18 - 23.
For all their possession and territory Berkshire knew that they needed to step up a gear in order to pull away from a dogged Dorset & Wiltshire. The final quarter was all Berkshire. Baker scored his second try off another well managed driving maul that Laidler converted. Then finally Hopkins added his second try; Ollie Mann (University of Reading) converted having replaced Laidler.
“There were many positives to be taken from this afternoon” reflected Head Coach, Mike Tewkesbury, “especially taking into consideration the limited squad preparation time. However, that is the nature of representative rugby. We have lots of things we need to focus on but this performance gives us a good platform to work from as we prepare for next week’s match against Oxfordshire.”
Berkshire pay Oxfordshire in Round 2 of the Championships on Saturday, 10th May, at Newbury RFC, KO 15.00. Oxfordshire handed out quite a beating to Berkshire last season so this should be a cracking encounter. At stake is a semi-final place and one step from reaching the hallowed turf of Twickenham.
Man of the Match: Nico Maybury
Berkshire Scorers: Tries: Baker 14, 66, A Hopkins 21, 78, Maybury 42, Cons: Laidler (3), Mann, Pen: Laidler
Dorset & Wiltshire Scorers: Tries: Paget 17, Kaminski 29, Hogg 56, Pen: Brown
Referee: A MacNeaney
Berkshire: C Laidler (Windsor)(73); S McDermottroe (Redingensians), S Lear ((University of Reading)(60), AJ Hopkins (Redingensians), O Johnson (Redingensians); J Harrison (University of Reading), W Clark (Redingensians)(60); B Louisson (Windsor)(53), S Silvester (Bracknell)(75), J Baker (Redingensians); K Barry (Bracknell)(65), L Bailey (Bracknell); M Brambley (Bracknell), A Hopkins (Redingensians), N Maybury (Bracknell) (Capt); L Hewitt (Windsor) (75), C Herd (Windsor) (53), O Taylor (Bracknell)(65), J Williams (Redingensians)(60), A Webb (Redingensians)(60), O Mann (University of Reading)(73), B Yates (Bracknell)(65)
Dorset & Wiltshire: J Wetcar (North Dorset); S Barber (Chippenham), R Larkham (Salisbury), J Kaminski (Salisbury)(Capt), J Wadman (Devizes); R Brown ((Devizes), C Knott (Swindon); G Palmer (Chippenham), G Davies (Swindon College Old Boys), G Williamson (Swindon); L Paget (Devizes), D Hogg (Royal Wootton Bassett); G Ougan (Royal Wootton Bassett), M Thompson (Swindon), M Navunisaravi (Devizes); P Bardwell (Royal Wootton Bassett), C Lewis (Devizes), C Day (Chippenham), R barter (Salisbury), J Goldsmith (Salisbury), P Flood (Salisbury)
Berkshire squad, coaches and management team that beat Dorset & Wiltshire 37 – 18 in Round 1 of the 2014 County Championships at Royal Wootton Bassett RFC, Saturday 3rdMay
Berkshire’s captain and man of the match, Nico Maybury (Bracknell) launches another attach off the base of the scrum supported by Aron Hopkins (Redingensians) and his fellow Bracknell players, Matt Brambley, Kenny Barry and Leo Bailey