Basingstoke RFC 23-32 Old Georgians

Nine tries, two yellow cards and plenty of end-to-end action, is the best way to sum up a fresh Saturday afternoon at Down Grange. Despite an improved and spirited performance which saw plenty of positives from the home side, it was the visitors, Old Georgians, who left Down Grange with the bonus point victory, while Basingstoke still look for that illusive first victory.

As appears to have become customary from Basingstoke they again saw their opponents taking a very early lead as the visitors were able to score their first of three opening half tries inside three minutes as several missed tackles by Basingstoke allowed them to breach the defences and score in the corner and take an early 5-0 lead.

Basingstoke did respond though with some points of their own as the visitors discipline at the breakdown cost them a number of penalties well within range for Fly half Joe Campbell, who slotted two penalty kicks to give the home side a 6-5 lead.

The home side had the upper hand throughout the afternoon in the scrum and it looked as if they were going to increase their lead with sustained pressure building towards the Old Georgian try line. But as has all too often been the case this season Basingstoke were unable to make the most of their possession and were soon seeing their lead become a deficit.

Old Georgians soon added to their tally with two quick tries, the first coming from quick hands across the backline from a lineout which despite James Bristow’s best efforts to thwart the Old Georgians attack, they once again found space out wide scoring in the corner to take a 4-point lead, 10-6.

Their lead soon increased further as missed tackles were beginning to mount for Basingstoke. Despite a good defensive effort from the home side, Old Georgians went from one side of the pitch to the other to score beside the posts and take a 17-6 lead.

Basingstoke began to come to life and were aided shortly before half time.

After a sustained period of attack in the visitors 22’ Old Georgians were reduced to 14 men after foul play was spotted by the referee and he swiftly produced the yellow card.

Old Georgians soon paid the price as Basingstoke got their first try of the day, with Jordan Plenderleith finishing off a strong scrum from the hosts, falling onto the ball to narrow the gap as the whistle blew for half-time. 11-17.

Despite starting the second half with 14 men, the visitors were on top, with an early try to pull further clear. Basingstoke caught napping at the lineout and a clever move saw Old Georgians able to walk through the front and again score in the corner securing their bonus point try.

Another missed conversion from the visitors meant they had an 11-point lead, 11-22.

It looked as if they were soon going to be adding a fifth try of the game but some great defence from the home side forced an error and allowed Basingstoke to clear their lines. Their hard work was soon rewarded as some quick thinking from Oscar Worsfold saw him intercept a loose pass from the visitors and stroll under the posts to narrow the gap to four points, during a spell which saw four tries scored within minutes of each other.

As quick as Basingstoke narrowed the gap, Old Georgians were just as quick in regaining their advantage. A missed kick to touch from the hosts saw Old Georgians return the ball up field and score a fifth try to re-establish a nine-point advantage.

Basingstoke soon returned the favour as George Hemmings quick thinking saw him snipe from the back of a scrum, awarded to the home side after Old Georgians were penalised for being offside, finding a gap just big enough for him to crawl through to reduce the deficit once again. At 23-27, with just under 15 minutes remaining, Basingstoke began to cause their own problems as they found themselves missing more kicks to touch. They allowed Old Georgians to again regain their nine-point advantage as they scored their sixth and final try of the game.

Quick hands along their back line saw them breakthrough the splintered Basingstoke defence to move into a 23-32 lead as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

Old Georgians were forced to play the remainder of the game with 14 men, as a late tackle was caught by the referee and following previous warnings, patience had run out.

Despite the best efforts from the home side, they were unable to make the extra man pay and strong defence from Old Georgians meant Basingstoke couldn’t add to their score and secure the try bonus point. FT 23-32.

Defeat for Basingstoke means they head into a run of games which sees them face all three sides at the bottom end of the table, starting with a trip to Portsmouth next Saturday, still looking for their first victory of the season.

Old Georgians victory means they move up into the top half of the table and record back to back victories.

Tries- Jordan Plenderleith, George Hemmings, Oscar Worsfold

Penalties- Joe Campbell x2, Conversion- Joe Campbell x1