Whitehall 0 - 22 Chipping Sodbury

February 27 2018

Sodbury were greeted by a steely grey sky and heavy rain clouds when they arrived at Whitehall’s Speedwell base


Whitehall  0 - 22 Chipping Sodbury 


Sodbury were greeted by a steely grey sky and heavy rain clouds when they arrived at Whitehall’s Speedwell base. The opening exchanges were robust but Sodbury’s defence close to the breakdown was led by Luke Balentine-Smith and Dave Guest, with the open spaces patrolled by Dom Pullen, Jon Cook, and Joe Horton. The set piece was also a happy hunting ground for the visitors with the scrum operating with a certain authority that allowed hooker Guest to filch four against the head. It was the lineout however where Sodbury had the most success. Dave Turner announced his return to first team rugby with a personal haul of five wins out of seven from the Whitehall throw. 

The only score of the first half went to Sodbury on 10 minutes following an infringement by Whitehall on their own 22.  Jon Cook somehow found a suitably firm patch of turf for his standing foot and fired the ball between the uprights for a 0 – 3 lead. 

The visitors enjoyed an avalanche of possession, but failed to press home the advantage. Each time they looked to build pressure they infringed, letting Whitehall off the hook.

Sodbury started the second period with renewed vigour, and the introduction of Jake Lewis at fullback paid off just minutes later. Dan charged down a kick in his own 22, and started to dribble the ball up field with Cook: both of them showed Messi-like control until 10 metres out, when Cook fell on the ball to create a ruck. The rapid recycling of the ball found lofty pace-man Joe Horton, who attracted three defenders only for him to slip the ball to Lewis, who gratefully accepted and dived over with a splash to score. 

Whitehall kept their attack fairly narrow while their visitors believed in their own handling ability and this brought Horton increasingly into the contest. Running the hosts big men around seemed to be working when Sodbury’s talismanic captain Matt Cook turned the ball over on halfway. Tom Head picked up at the base of a ruck and drew the defence onto him with a little sniping, before popping the ball up to Bradley, who scored easily. Jon Cook converted. 

Sodbury’s third try was a spectacular show of total rugby. Lewis fielded Whitehall’s long kick in his 22 and his pass after 20 metres found Horton, who cut infield. After five rucks the ball found Jon Cook, who raced up the last 40 metres to score. He concerted his own try. 

The last ten minutes of the game saw the hosts rejuvenated. They came at Sodbury hard using their pack as a bludgeon. However, Sodbury have some hardened campaigners in their ranks who revel in such circumstances, and they held firm.