On Sunday the 12th if December the Wallingford SDS faced a strong Witney side in the last match before Christmas.
The SDS were keen to end 2021 on a good note, but were up against it in the beginning of the game, with Wallingford facing on a first quarter onslaught from a strong Witney forward pack. A couple strong carries from the Witney front 3 following 2 quick passes to the sideline allowed the left winger to fall over the line.
However Wallingford were not easily disheartened and were keen to get some point on the board. This came midway through the first half. When a right hand scrum gave the SDS their first attacking platform of the game. 8 to 9 to 12 allowed centre JJ brown to find some space in the Witney back line. A strong fend and a surprising burst of pace carried him over the tryline for a converted try.
Wallingford struggled to gain much in the form of attack for the rest of the half. But excellent tackle technique and work rate from the whole team allowed the team to remain ahead 7-5 at the end of the half.
After ringing the changes at half time. The boys aimed to control more of the ball in this half, using their dominance in the set piece in order to stay ahead. However the physical control of Witney remained, with Wallingford struggling to hold onto the ball through poor discipline and handling. The pressure paid off for the visitors as they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Which they converted to put them ahead by 1.
The SDS were confident they could overturn the deficit. But a series of strong runs off the kickoff put Witney just meters from the line, and despite strong defending from the short distance, the ball was dotted down from just 1/4 of a meter away.
Now 2 scores down with time running out. The SDS applied all the pressure they could in attempt to get more points on the board. A rare scrum in the opposition half gave the backs another opportunity to attack from the base. A long pass by Toby Bucknell releasing Max LT, who scored one of the individual tries of the season so far, skinning the 4 defenders on the outside before diving down over the line at the opposite corner flag.
With the clock almost in the red there 1 was final attempt to overcome the 3 point deficit. However an error in the breakdown within the 22 allowed Witney to run in a try on what would be the final play of the game. Bringing the final score to 20-12.
The overall feeling at full-time was that the team had played very well against a strong and well drilled side, with plenty of positives to take into the New Year.