Tuesday, 01 December 2020

Waterhouse piles on points as champions ease to win

ABBEY finished their season with a flourish, ignoring the wind and rain at Rosehill to run

ABBEY finished their season with a flourish, ignoring the wind and rain at Rosehill to run in 13 tries against Chesham.

The victory gave them an undefeated season as champions of Berks, Bucks and Oxon Premier and the champagne flowed after the match when the players were presented with the league shield.

Abbey took the lead after two minutes. Skipper Sam Hallett won the opening line-out and after his fellow second row Danny Pawlett had broken to the left inside the visitors’ 22, halfbacks Will Bevan and Tom Bird both handled before winger Dylan Baptista dived over for the opening try. Fullback Tom Waterhouse could not convert from a tricky position.

The home side continued to play the game at speed, but Chesham spent a fair amount of the next 15 minutes playing competitively inside Abbey territory.

The second try, which came after 16 minutes, began in the home 22 after Chesham lost the ball while attacking. Baptista ran up the left wing before Waterhouse outpaced the remaining defence to score a spectacular try which he converted superbly from wide out.

Minutes later it seemed as if Abbey had scored again after Bevan and Waterhouse had created space for Steve Warwick on the right, but the winger’s try was disallowed as he had put a foot in touch.

The third try arrived at the end of the first quarter when Sam Hallett battled through to cross the line under the posts. Joe Hallett was up in support, and the skipper handed him the ball, ensuring that his older brother celebrated his 200th league appearance with a try. This was to the delight of four generations of Halletts who were at the game. Waterhouse added the routine conversion.

Play remained competitive for a while after this, but Abbey dominated the scrums, winning the next set piece against the head. Number eight Mike Beckly made a good break and the move ended with Waterhouse being stopped just short of the line.

Chesham scored next after skipper Jack Davis kicked ahead when Abbey lost the ball in the visitors’ 22. Winger Dan Cady gave chase and despite the best efforts of Pawlett he crossed for a try on the left. Outside half Toby Deane was unable to convert.

Chesham were forced to use their sole replacement shortly before half-time when centre Alex Jaycocks was injured, and Abbey then proceeded to score three more tries in the final 10 minutes of the half.

First prop Ollie Charlton scored a great individual try, bursting through the Chesham defence to cross on the left. Then, after prop Paul Emery had collected the restart kick, Abbey were awarded a free kick inside the Chesham 22. Bevan took a quick tap, and Sam Hallett, Waterhouse and Charlton all handled before Warwick sprinted over on the right.

Finally, centre Arron Ross made a spectacular break from ten metres inside his own half, giving a scoring pass to Waterhouse, who raced in under the sticks. The conversion was missed as Abbey led 34-5.

The second half became something of a try procession, but Chesham never gave up competing, despite being reduced to 14 men for a while after winger Jon Underwood spent some time off the field injured.

The visitors kept Abbey at bay for the opening seven minutes of the half, but after Pawlett had stolen a lineout and both Beckly and hooker Mark Toland were held just short of the line, Sam Hallett crossed for a try after Beckly broke from a five metre scrum. Waterhouse converted, and Abbey replaced Baptista and Gingell with Kaspar Strugar and Chris Shaw.

The next try came in the 52nd minute when Charlton scored in the right corner after a break from Joe Hallett. Waterhouse could not convert.

Just after the hour mark, Bird caught a misdirected clearance kick from Deane, and Ross put Waterhouse over for his hat-trick. The conversion was unsuccessful.

Five minutes later Abbey scored again when a sniping run from Bevan gave Ross a deserved try wide on the right. Three minutes later Bevan scored, touching down after a mazy run from the halfway line. Waterhoue added the conversion as Abbey led 63-5.

Sam Hallett set up the next score, sending Bird to the line from a tap penalty. Waterhouse missed the conversion, and Abbey used their final replacement, Fungai Mutepfa coming on for Toland.

Abbey managed one more try, scored by Ross after a Pawlett break. Waterhouse converted.

Abbey: T Waterhouse, S Warwick, A Ross, D Love, D Baptista (K Strugar, 47 mins), T Bird, W Bevan, O Charlton, M Toland (F Mutepfa, 73 mins), P Emery, S Hallett, D Pawlett, J Hallett, M Gingell (C Shaw, 47 mina), M Beckly.

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