Shenfield High School

Shenfield boys maintain winning streak

The Year 7 boys rugby team put in another quite brilliant performance to clinch a fiercely competitive match against a strong Chelmer Valley side. On a bitterly cold afternoon and a very, very muddy pitch the boys fought back from a 10-0 deficit at half time to seal a dramatic late victory by 17-15.

The game started slowly with both teams getting to grips with the conditions underfoot, however the home side began to slowly dominate the breakdowns especially within the rucks. After a sustained period of position, Chelmer’s best player broke though tackles with a powerful run to take his side into the lead. They quickly doubled their lead after some poor rucking by Shenfield, with the same player coming through to score a relatively soft try, after a smart line out.

After both conversions were narrowly missed, the away side were down 10-0 at half time, but by no means out of the game. Special mention was given to full back Sam Gray who performed beyond his stature making some match saving tries to keep his side in with a sniff. After some positive feedback at the interval and some discussions on support play, the away side came out with a brilliant attitude and transformed the match almost instantly. Captain Charlie Gooding playing at number 3 made some powerful runs, gaining valuable ground in the process, his teammates sensed this and unlike the first half, they supported him superbly.

With Shenfield now rucking far more effectively the game was slowly turning and some brilliant play by Theo Wheadon, especially at the breakdowns meant his team were getting closer and closer to the Chelmer try line. The breakthrough eventually came after yet more great work by the aforementioned pair and the ball broke to the highly talented Ridley who burst through the defence only to be held by some strong Chelmer defence inches from the line.

After some exceptionally mauling Ridley eventually got the ball down and the match was well and truly alive, this spurred Shenfield on and they began to dominate. After a quiet first half Callum Hawkins-Row took the ball into contact and eluded numerous tackles, gaining at least 15 meters in the process. With the rucking now in full flow Shenfield got the ball out to inside centre Portway who took the ball wide, beating 3 Chelmer players with an unstoppable run to bring the scores level.

With 7 minutes left the home side found there feet once again and were firmly in the ascendency, they were edging closer to the try line that could have been a match winning one. Some stoic defensive work by all Shenfield players meant they held them out after four or five attempts. Winger Ryan Patterson put in the tackle of the match less than a boots length away from his try line to deny what was a certain try. Finally the pressure told and at the fifth time of asking Chelmer got across the line, taking the score to 15-10 with only minutes remaining. A relatively simple kick was missed and Shenfield knew that a converted try would hand them a famous victory. Winning the ball back from the restart was crucial and this relied heavily on their now excellent rucking, a big tackle by Wheadon was followed up by nearly all of his teammates and possession was won back in the Chelmer half.

Some patient play and powerful runs by Gooding edged his side ever closer and with less than a minute left the ball was worked down the line to Ridley who made yet another unbelievable run to take his side level. After big celebrations, the biggest of which by me, Ridley now had the chance to seal victory for his side with a tricky kick, under immense pressure. He remained calm and stroked the ball through the posts to spark jubilant celebrations, after a few late nervy moments the ball was put into touch and the game was over.

A special mention to all 13 Shenfield players, in particular Tommy Jackson who showed some exceptional handling skills in what were difficult playing conditions. A great team effort and a positive attitude throughout gave the boys there fifth win in six games, which by anyone’s standards is a truly superb effort.

Bring on Beckett Keys on Monday!

Team Shenfield.
Mr Bennett