Struggling Pats draw blank as Redingensians expose their lack of cutting edge in five-try bonus-point victory
Redingensians Rams 29 Old Patesians 0
by Bob Ellis
OLD Patesians' current malaise of inability to find any kind of meaningful attacking form in National Three South West was exemplified by their hammering by Redingensians Rams.
They finished the match scoreless while Rams racked up a five-try haul and a more than efficient bonus-point victory at Sonning Park. The only positive aspect of Pats' afternoon was their excellent drift defence which leaked only one try in the first half before the floodgates opened in the second period.
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They made the worst of all possible starts when fill-in fly-half Darren Moore, who is normally employed at scrum-half, failed to make the requisite 10 metres from the kick-off and gifted Rams a scrum feed on the halfway line.
Rams forced an early penalty lineout on Pats' five-metre line, but big hits from centre Ben Spry, number eight James Pettigrew and second row Josh Stevens broke up their catch and drive and gave the visitors a moment to catch their breath.
Pettigrew was yellow carded for handling in the ruck, but Rams kicker, scrum-half James Brooks, missed two relatively easy penalty goal attempts while Pettigrew was in the sin bin, but Pats remained firmly entrenched in their own half.
Pats' scrum was always under pressure and while the lineout functioned reasonably well, with Stevens, skipper James Stickland and flanker Nathan Riley providing clean ball, scrum-half James Aherne was nearly always back-pedalling when he took the ball and his hurried clearance kicks were far too often down the throats of the Rams recievers and invited counter-attacks.
Rams were very much in charge at the breakdown and if they failed to win the ball themselves, the referee did the job for them as Pats were penalised time and again.
On the half hour another sloppy kick gave Rams the space to create an overlap for left wing Sean McDermotroe, who at last cracked the Pats defence for a try in his corner.
Pats had a brief purple patch in the final minutes of the half with full-back George Hughes, back for his first game of the season, up to his usual tricks with a delightful chip and chase and devastating break throught the midfield.
But both fizzled out and at the break Rams led 5-0.
Pats were still in the game at the interval, but their hopes of a revival in fortunes were soon dashed.
Young prop George Knowles had the restart catch ripped from his grasp as he tried to turn and set and Pats found themselves deep in their own 22.
Rams opted for three penalty scrums in a row and when the Pats front row stood up the referee awarded a penalty try, converted by Brooks.
It was all Rams now with brilliant recycling through the phases at top pace and though Pats continued to defend with aggressive determination, full-back Andy Bryans scored the next try.
Pats were struggling in the tight with heavyweight Stickland off injured, and when they were shoved off their own scrum feed, Rams hooker Rory Paxton finished the demolition job with a fourth try and a bonus point.
Rams relaxed and Pats were now securing a smidgen of ball, but they could not maintain any kind of pressure on the opposition and rarely set up more than two phases before the ball was spilled.
Rams lost number eight Ian Jeffreys and scrum-half Brooks to the sin bin and they were joined by Stevens for Pats who always seems to catch the referee's eye for no apparent reason.
Rams rounded off the afternoon with a try for centre Andy Amor converted by Spike Chandler and Pats had been well beaten.
Redingensians Rams: R Crame, R Paxton, J Baker, O Root, S Kenneally, T Bryson, T Vooght, I Jeffreys, J Brooks, N Gumbleton, S McDermotroe, A Amor, S Bryant, J Smith, A Bryans. Replacements (all used on interchange ruling): M Fisher, O Randall, S Chandler.
Old Patesians: G Knowles, R White, C Thompson, J Stickland, J Stevens, J Barker, N Riley, J Pettigrew, J Aherne, D Moore, D Burrows, B Spry, E Hayles, J Ballinger, G Hughes. Replacements (all used on interchange ruling): C Dean, K Blankley, B Parker.
Referee: C Thomas (Gloucestershire)
Star man: Pats hooker Rory Paxton