Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Reynolds takes positives after losing to league leaders

RAMS’ director of rugby Seb Reynolds saw plenty of positives in his side’s performance despite table-topping Caldy leaving Old Bath Road with a 32-21 National Division 1 victory, writes Richard Ashton.

The visitors made it 16 straight wins on the back of first-half converted tries from man-of-the-match scrum-half Nye Thomas and Ollie Hearn, Rams replying with a Michael Dykes effort added to by Drew Humberstone.

Ben Jones kicked a penalty to put Caldy 17-7 up eight minutes into the second half, but Rams rallied and grabbed a penalty try from a maul which also saw visiting lock Tom Sanders sin-binned.

Yet the league leaders showed their class to reply immediately with captain JJ Dickinson going over at the back of their own maul, Jones again on target with a magnificent touch line conversion.

A stunning score from Jak Rossiter, started by Henry Bird’s good run and continued by an exceptional back-of-the-hand off-load from Ben Henderson, brought the home side back into the game as Humberstone again slotted the extras to cut the gap to three.

But Caldy weathered the storm, cleverly took the tempo out of the game and dealt the killer blow in the final five minutes as Jones slotted a penalty before they sealed a try bonus point when Nick Royle crossed on the right with the final play. Reflecting on the defeat, Reynolds was proud of his side as he said: “It was a close and well-contested game, but you have to credit Caldy.

“We were very motivated for the game and fancied the challenge — our guys won’t stop and there’s no end-of-season thoughts.

“In this league, anyone can beat anyone on their day and you saw that on Friday when Blackheath almost took Sale, and you just have to be on the money every single week.

“I thought our guys were great and maybe a couple of decisions didn’t go our way, but they closed the game out very well.

“When we got back to within three points (at 24-21 down) I felt we would go on and win, but perhaps a couple of breaks didn’t go our way and we just couldn’t get back on the front foot. But even in defeat, there were definitely some positives to take from the game.

“We have confidence now that when Ben Henderson, James Baker and Ollie Cole come back (from injury), we can use them as impact players whereas perhaps in previous seasons they’d have been straight back into the starting line-up.

“Max Hayman, Paul Englezos and Caolan (Englefield) have really progressed well and they’ve been pushing the guys for positions, and there’s a two-fold benefit — you see the young guys develop and then you can see the experienced guys come off the bench.”

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