Ravens clinch Cup semi-final spot
- Monday, 16 January 2017
The drainage of Gosport Park saved the day and the pitch was fit for Tadley Tigers to travel down from the northern border for the Hampshire Cup Quarter Final yesterday against G&F's Under 14s (the Ravens).
At stake was a top four place in the county this season meaning Division 1 League rugby position next season and the Ravens clinched a semi-final place away at Basingstoke on 12th February by winning 17-5.
The Ravens won 17-5 for a semi-final place away at Basingstoke on 12th February.
The game began with both sides probing each other’s defences and it was clear that the sides were evenly matched with perhaps Tadley stronger in the backs whilst Ravens had forward power when they could bring it into play.
Tadley's players were clearly well coached at winning turnovers in the tackle and G&F had to adjust their game to nullify the repeated loss of possession.
It took 19 minutes for Tigers to score the first try. The missed conversion made it 0-5 at half time.
In the second half, the Ravens came out firing and got into their game and after seven minutes of hard work, Lock Ben Wheeler crashed over for a try that Harry Rabjohn converted.
Tadley were resurgent and on the attack using their backs well despite the poor conditions for handling.
Gregor House was tackling well above his weight again and whilst not pretty, Tadley were being contained but were still threatening.
Fly half Rabjohn put in a tackle on the Tadley right winger to stop a try but Tadley recycled it and worked it all the way across field into the hands of one of their powerful centres who broke through two tackles and looked free for the corner. But in a desperate dive Rabjohn caught him from behind to bring him down.
The Ravens won the contest for the ball and it seemed to be a turning point, as if the Tadley players all had the same thought "What do we have to do to score?"
The Ravens moved up a gear and the front row of Harry Freeman, Finley Daly and Samuel Rushent became dominant and won ball against the head.
The back row of Joe Wilkinson, Ed Bell and Jonnies Lewis were ferocious and kept the ball going forward.
From a lineout on the 22m after a kick to touch from a penalty, Lock Euan Archbold took the ball and rolled into the narrow side channel, broke free of the first defence, shrugged off the second line and dragged the third line over the try line to score.
The conversion missed, at 12-5 the game was still in the balance but the Ravens were now in control with seven minutes to go.
They shut down Talley's attack despite valiant efforts by their man of the match Connor Sitton and Paris McErlain to keep their team in the game.
With three minutes left and after eight phases of pick and drive, scrum half George Smith distributed to close runners and Ben Wheeler crashed over but too wide for the conversion in the conditions.
It was a tremendous game of rugby well officiated by Hampshire Youth Academy Referee Gareth Blake and enjoyed by all those watching. Both sides were a credit to their coaches and played a superb game with real passion.
Ben Wheeler was nominated Man of the Match for the Ravens.
With absences due to sickness in the backs, wingers Oliver Orsag and Jude Read got there first cup game run outs and both did well.
The momentum in the pack didn't drop when forward substitutes William Hosell and Christian Osborne came on in the second half.
Captain Ethan Hammond at inside centre played his part but along with winger Aaron Spiteri and full back Tom Archer had to accept the conditions weren't the best for their game but all played their part in a great team performance.
Ed Bell on the charge with Club Academy Referee Gareth Blake looking on.