Reigate RFC Blogs and Match Reports
Reigate maintained their undefeated run in the league this week and also took bragging rights in preparation for what will be one of their harder league fixtures this year. The undefeated record was retained by Wednesday when it was announced that Pelhamians had withdrawn and so a friendly fixture was arranged that matched Reigate with Surrey 4 rivals, Lightwater. With both teams recognising that there was slightly more at stake than just pride, the two clubs fielded full first teams, with Lightwater taking the opportunity to play a seeming endless supply of replacements.
Reigate went into the game without the services of "Trip" Manning and lost prop Ashley Azzopardi due to illness before kick-off, leaving front-row options looking bleak . In order to maintain the progress made in previous matches a fully contested match was crucial so coach Chris Venn put his neck literally on the line and stepped in to make up the front row.
Lightwater are known for their big strong forwards and this week was no exception, so Reigate had to rely on their rucking and mobility to even things out. From the start Lightwater showed that they would be happy to catch and drive each lineout if given the chance, but with Adam Betteley returning to action and putting in a man-of-the-match performance the Lightwater lineout was invariably under pressure.
After absorbing an early spell of pressure Reigate were given the tiniest of opportunities to get in behind the big Lightwater team. A break through the centres took Reigate out of their own 22. After two fast rucks and quick recycling of possession, Reigate scored out wide with a fantastic sweeping move that must have left Lightwater wondering what had happened.
The Reigate backs continued to terrorise their opponents at every opportunity and seemed to be able to break the line at will. Reigate added two further scores before half time, Andy Turner driving over for the first following a series of well executed drives by the forwards. Chris Harrison marshalled the troops well from fly half until his retirement with a groin strain. Chris Dickson moved to full back allowing Simon King to step forward as stand-off. King clearly relished his move to fly half as with nearly his first touch of the ball in his new role he waltzed through the Lightwater defence and raced clear, offloading to Bleddyn Davis to score under the posts.
Lightwater did manage to make their weight advantage count, scoring from a tap penalty. They were also able to capitalise on a dropped pass in the middle of the field to hack through and score. It was this score that sparked Reigate back into life following a rather lacklustre spell.
If there was a text book on rugby, Reigate's next passage of play would head the chapter on 'how to score from first phase ball'. Line out ball was won "off the top" and quickly moved through the hands at such blistering pace that the Lightwater team were left grasping at shadows. The ball ended up out wide and was finished by new boy Phil Cork. The final score of 27-14 could be considered flattering to Lightwater, particularly given Chris Perry's kicking radar deserted him this week (adding only one conversion) whilst Lightwater's scores came only through Reigate mistakes. With another friendly on Saturday, Reigate will be back in league action at home on the 24th October against Woking.