Match Report
Berkhamsted School 1st XV vs  Bedford Modern School
On: Saturday, 11 Oct 2014
Venue: at Home

Twenty minutes into this game, this is a result we would have taken; at the final whistle, the feeling was that it was one which got away. BMS certainly showed their class right from the start. Within the first five minutes we had seen a towering defensive clearance down the tramlines by 9; a powerful catch-and-drive from a line-out; a dismantling of our scrum and subsequent penalty for slipping our bindings; and a try after several phases of driven ball off the ensuing line-out. 10, 12 and 13 looked a real handful in midfield in the opening twenty minutes, although we had managed to stay in the game with a penalty in front of the posts after a tapped-free-kick forced an indiscretion at the breakdown. BMS struck a heavy psychological blow ten minutes before half-time. A double tackle on 12 in midfield off a lineout left BMS under pressure from the ensuing ruck, but a magnificent dummy by 10 created a hole for 13 to exploit before popping to 12 who ran through to score under the posts unchallenged. The ease with which we had been opened up looked ominous, but we responded with great spirit. A clever kick-and-chase by Casey O’Gorman forced a line-out on the 22m. Jeremy Lucas won a magnificent line-out which we moved ‘off the top’ wide left, catching BMS’ defence too narrow. Scott Duguid released Timi Sanusi on the overlap and then supported him on the inside to score. We were very much in the game at 8-12, even though we had not put together a great deal of ‘phase-play’. Certainly when the ball was moved wide, the opposition were looking vulnerable, although on half-time a careless lofted pass in midfield and interception of the bouncing ball saw the opposition break away for a certain score, only to be hauled down close to the line by a magnificent tackle by Casey O’Gorman.

At half-time, with the second half slope and breeze in BMS’ favour, we looked to have our work cut-out, but they had looked vulnerable on the outside and, to the boys’ great credit, they set about exploiting this from the kick-off. Our midfield defence was very sharp throughout the second half and 10, 12 and 13 were getting caught behind their own gain-line. Will Hughes at 10 was mixing up his game beautifully, spreading the ball wide, or ‘punching’ close, or tucking the ball behind the right winger. The pack, with Jeremy Lucas ‘turning over’ lots of ball were almost rampant. Loose clearance kicks were giving Casey O’Gorman and Timi Sanusi the chance to run the ball back and Berkhamsted were very much on the front foot. After fifteen mins a loose pass from 9 at a 5m scrum led to a knock-on ‘in goal’, and from the ensuing 5m scrum in our favour 8 released 9 on the blind-side to put Casey O’Gorman away in the corner. Ollie Green converted magnificently from the touch-line, and Berkhamsted were ahead for the first time in the match at 15-12. Ten minutes later, another loose clearance kick was fielded by Casey O’Gorman on the BMS 10m line before releasing Timi Sanusi on a magnificent 40m run for the line, beating five defenders en route. Ollie Green converted to leave Berkhamsted 10 pts up with ten minutes to play. The game looked over.

To BMS’s great credit they found a way back into the game. A clever grubber down the right by 10 forced a kick direct to touch just outside our 22m. From the ensuing line-out BMS went through the phases and forced a penalty in front of the posts (22-15). With only a couple of minutes left, another clever kick forced another line-out on our 5m. BMS moved the ball left two or three phases and forced their way over left of the posts. A brave conversion left honours even at 22-22. Some game, and probably a fair result, although Berkhamsted were disappointed not to have closed out the game when ahead.