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REPORT - East Grinstead 73 Basingstoke 5
BASINGSTOKE RFC suffered their third heaviest defeat in league rugby history against a powerful and pacy East Grinstead side in the opening game of the season.
While the home side displayed good skills in all areas, ’Stoke did not help themselves by making numerous unforced errors, which their opponents took advantage of to score.
In conceding 10 tries, the visitors were guilty of some poor kicking, dropped passes, a porous defence and too many missed lineouts. The only real positive from the game was the performance of the scrum.
The early play was dominated by the home side and they opened the scoring on seven minutes following a poor clearance. East Grinstead ran the ball back at pace from the halfway line and with support runners, they scored a converted try.
Within the next five minutes, Basingstoke gave away another two tries and found themselves 21-0 down on 12 minutes. The first of the two tries came about when ’Stoke dropped the ball on their own 22 and the second came from the resultant kick-off, when missed tackles allowed the home side to run through the ’Stoke defence.
Basingstoke finally got into their opponents’ 22 following a penalty kick for the corner on 15 minutes.
They enjoyed a five minute period of pressure but again it was unforced errors that saw them come away with nothing to show for their efforts.
On the half-hour mark, Basingstoke conceded a penalty in their own 22, which East Grinstead kicked to extend the lead to 24 points.
The next try came on 33 minutes following two poor clearance kicks, which allowed the home side’s full-back to show his skills. Grinstead kept the pressure on ’Stoke before a missed lineout by the visitors allowed the hosts to extend the lead to 31-0 with a converted try following a good back line handling display.
The visitors had fly-half Callum Staff yellow carded on 37 minutes for a professional foul and were down to 14 men for 10 minutes.
The home side scored three points from the resultant penalty to lead 34-0 and then, with the final move of the half, the home side scored again following a passage of keep ball, making it 41-0 at half-time.
Basingstoke conceded a further three tries in the first 15 minutes of the second half, all of which came from their own errors.
The first came about following another poor clearance kick, the next a dropped pass in midfield and then some poor tackling and the third when a missed lineout throw gave the home side possession. They went the length of the pitch with pace and support, extending the lead to 58-0.
’Stoke finally got on the score sheet when second row Andy Hore found himself in space following an interception to run in from the 10 metre line, making it 58-5 on the hour mark.
The visitors then had their best spell of the game but again unforced errors stopped any promising moves leading to scoring chances.
The final five minutes saw the clinical home side finish in style, starting with a penalty on 75 minutes.
They then scored a try on 77 minutes following another dropped pass by ’Stoke and went over again with the last move of the game after a run by Hore came to nothing due to lack of support, the home side gathering the ball for a converted try.
Basingstoke: Whitby; Dampies, Guilfoyle, Byett, Richards; Staff, Fish; Osborne, Folan, Wilkie, Keresi, Hore, Hicks, Kiernan, Horne. Reps: Wassell, Kochonowski, Humberstone.
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