On Wednesday the Southam 1st XV travelled the short distance to leafy Princethorpe to play in what we knew would be a very physical encounter.
Southam welcomed back Peter Armstrong and Mario Palmer from their short sabbatical at Full-Back & Hooker respectively, their calm assured heads under pressure, would prove to be a key facet of the Southam performance.
The early phases of the game showed that Princethorpe had the edge through their powerful, combative pack. However, whenever the Southam backs were released from first phase ball, they continually beat the first man to get over the gain line.
Pressure on the 5m Southam line saw Princethorpe go over for an early score after numerous attempts through the defence were thwarted by aggressive tackling by Bay Toner and his loose forwards. The Southam response was quick and extremely impressive. Not many teams score straight from first phase ball…the impressive Southam centres did it twice in quick succession.
Firstly, a scrum on the left hand side saw the ball shipped to Joe Tresadern who powered through the defence before releasing partner Fin to score a well worked attacking try. Minutes later the feat was reversed when Mario Palmer stole the Princethorpe ball from a scrum, the Southam back row swooped on the loose ball, again releasing Rich and his back line. This time Fin used excellent footwork to beat his man on the outside before returning the ball to Joe who scored under the posts. Joe’s accuracy from the tee would prove vital at the end of the game.
HT 10 – 14.
The second half saw Princethorpe gain the ascendency through their powerful driving lineout. They scored an early try, but fortunately the kicker missed his conversion attempt.
The Southam substitutes added impetus from the bench, Tim Virr carrying the ball hard on the left wing proved to be a real threat when released with time and space.
The Southam forwards weathered the storm and began to play the ball in the right areas. Astute tactical kicking kept Princethorpe pinned in their own half. From one error of judgement, Joe Tresadern calmly slotted over a penalty to see the scoreboard tick over to 15-17. The Southam defence held firm for the remainder of the game and thus secured an impressive victory.
Next week sees a tough encounter with Bablake (a).
Please see team sheets for details.