Cheltenham Civil Service RFC - Club Logo

Old Pats II 17 – 34 CCSRFC

“Conquerors of Everest Rd”

Service took the short trip to Everest Rd for a top of the table clash against Old Pats 2’s.

A big travelling support lined the length of the pitch to cheer on the visitors who responded and took the early exchanges to the hosts.Playing up the hill in the first half Service kept the ball in hand and tested the first up defensive tackling of the home side.

The contact areas were brutal and both sides held nothing back.CCSRFC, confident with their systems, looked more fluid in handling the ball and were able to gain quicker ball from the breakdowns.Service kept the ball, tested the defence and built pressure and four mins into the game a powerful run from No.8 Ollie Wilton saw him break through a few tackles before flying down the wing to open the scoring for Service with a superbly taken try in the corner. Conversion missed, 0-5.

With a Blustery wind blowing across the pitch, both teams chose primarily to keep the ball in hand which resulted in a very punishing, physical game. Service were clearly up for the top of the table battle and started to boss the contact areas.Old Pats started to concede penalties at the breakdown for not releasing and slowing the ball down. One such penalty and some quick thinking by the impressive Gus Guthrie at scrum half sent Jack Gascoyne through to score under the posts. Will Markey converting, 0-12.

The Home side reacted and used the slope to their advantage applying pressure deep in the Service 22. A couple of defensive exit errors from the visitors gave the home side an attacking scrum 5 meters out from the try line. Pressure told and a blind side attack off the base of the set piece resulted in an opening score for the home side. Unconverted, 5-12.

Civil Service regrouped and began to assert their dominance at the set piece, especially at scrum time, where they were taking the game to the home side with powerful drives sending them backwards up the hill. Pats struggled to deal with the away sides driving game up front and this, coupled with some great ball retention and powerful running lines, saw service turn the screw on the hosts. Will Markey, controlling the game brilliantly at 10, ghosted through a gap in midfield and looked home and dry under the posts for his legs to hit the one spot of treacle on the up slope and he was stopped 7 metres short. Holes were appearing in the defence and centres Gascoyne and Eastoe were running hard lines with Ollie Wilton continuing to punch holes out wide and after 33 mins a first Club try for winger James Arnold again put Service into a two score lead, 5-17.

A handling mistake from Service allowed Pats to counter attack with pace and some good hands. They made good yards into the red zone and even after some strong defensive tackles from the visitors the home side had the last say of a hard fought first half with a converted try.Half Time 12-17.

Service thoroughly deserved their lead and turned round at the break knowing that they needed to up their intensity. With the benefit of the slope in the second half service made two changes in the front row with Issac Lewis and Fran Cole (having both done excellent jobs in the first half) being replaced by Prop Scott Munden and Tim Davies (on his return from injury) going into the back row for skipper Ross Ruck to take over at Hooker.The half time chat was about keeping to the game plan, playing with patience and slowly building the pressure to up the tempo of the game. Skipper Ross Ruck lead from the front, his tackle count, ball carrying and work at the breakdown was equalled by his leadership throughout.

Service were becoming ever more dominant at scrum time and numerous line out catch and drives saw them walk back the home sides front 8 time after time. Breakdown power and recycling speed caused Old Pats to defend much of the second half on the back foot with possession and territory being controlled by the visitors.

Service were getting their big ball carriers on to the ball and after 55mins Service’s loose head and Colossus that is Matt Baker took the ball from a few metres out (being a prop he’ll tell you it was easily a 40m+ run in) and crashed through the defence under the posts to open the scoring in the 2nd half and secure the try bonus point. Try converted by Markey who was dealing well with the blustery conditions to make the score 12-22.

Civil Service were relentless and very much in the ascendancy. They were disciplined and were beginning to dominate every aspect of the game. They defended stoically and attacked with power and purpose which saw two further tries follow shortly after one another around the 69 minute mark. Second row Tom Wood crashed his way over from a tap penalty (that the coach was screaming for a scrum to be taken, but what does he know!) that had attempted to be taken initially from Scott Munden. A minute or so later saw a second for the returning Jack Gascoyne who had recently arrived back from Mexico with quite possibly the worst excuse for a tan I’ve ever seen. With 10 mins to play Service had a commanding 12-34 lead but Old Pats kept coming and with 2 mins remaining they scored a consolation try.

Final Score 17 – 34