Guild­ford win but ‘still have work to do’

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page - Lon­don & SE Premier Southend Sax­ons 19 Guild­ford Rugby 38

GUILD­FORD im­me­di­ately ap­plied pres­sure, press­ing deep into the Sax­ons 22 and forc­ing the hosts to quickly gather their scram­ble de­fence, writes John Hines.

The vis­i­tors were awarded a kick­able penalty two min­utes in but fly-half Gareth Davies pushed the kick wide.

Min­utes later, how­ever, there was no re­spite as Guild­ford cap­tain Joe Gar­ner found him­self in space for an al­most un­chal­lenged run to the line, crash­ing through winger Bert Radze­vi­cius’ last­ditch tackle.

Damp weather made con­di­tions dif­fi­cult with both teams mak­ing han­dling er­rors in the first half as their­packs got the mea­sure of each other in the scrums.

The Sax­ons’ set-piece con­tin­ued to strug­gle, lead­ing to testy scrum­mag­ing and mount­ing frus­tra­tion.

An early shove in the scrum gave a free kick to Guild­ford, who took the op­por­tu­nity quickly to find an open space. A foot race en­sued be­tween Radze­vi­cius and Guild­ford’s Alex Jor­dan, with the lat­ter edg­ing ahead and dot­ting down in the near cor­ner and Davies ad­ding the ex­tras.

The hosts were fi­nally able to get on the board 25 min­utes in, through a Tom Ram­sey penalty af­ter a high tackle. Ram­sey added another three points min­utes later from dis­tance as Sax­ons clawed back some of the deficit and Guild­ford’s James Kirk was shown a yel­low card.

Down to 14, pre­vent­ing any fur­ther score was key but four min­utes into the sec­ond half the vis­i­tors con­ceded another penalty to see the lead nar­row to three points.

And ten min­utes later Guild­ford, play­ing from their own half, had the ball ripped away in the tackle and Chris Shields smashed through and off­loaded to Ge­orge Grif­fiths who charged down the wing and found Sax­ons cap­tain Ross O’Brien who touched down.

Fall­ing be­hind was the spur Guild­ford needed and they re­spons­ded with a try three min­utes later from Brad Smith and again three min­utes on, from Ash Wil­liams, leav­ing the Sax­ons trail­ing again.

At 26-14 Southend’s pos­ses­sion did not lead to points and their frus­tra­tions could have boiled over sev­eral times be­fore the ref­eree sent sec­ond rows from both sides – Franco Mag­gi­olo and James Phillips – to the sin bin.

Guild­ford sealed the game by run­ning in tries from Kirk and cap­tain Joe Gar­ner be­fore Southend scored a late con­so­la­tion.

“We made some changes to the line up through un­avail­ablity and we were re­warded for our pos­i­tive play,” said Guild­ford coach Dave Ward.

“We still have some work to do, par­tic­u­larly in our de­fence and some of the set­piece plays, but we take that re­sult.

“The boys de­served it for their ef­forts.”

Cap­tain Gar­ner added: “There were pe­ri­ods where we let Southend take their game to us and we will have to work on that and our dis­cilpline not to give away soft points.

“but we came here last sea­son and did not get a re­sult so I am pleased with the five points.”

Guild­ford meet newly pro­moted Sid­cup at Broad­wa­ter on Satur­day (ko 3pm).

Pic­ture: Darren Pepe EN171830

Esher’s Liam Ed­wards, left, in ac­tion dur­ing his club’s 32-17 Na­tional League One vic­tory at home to Ross­lyn Park on Satur­day

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