Fri 01 Jun 2018 16:21

Sat 24 Mar 2018

Drifters RFC
High Wycombe RFC

An Eddie Roche hat-trick enabled High Wycombe to overcome a brave Drifters team in the Southern Counties North.

With a close game earlier in the season Drifters were targeting this game in trying to record their first win of the season. After a scrappy start it was the home team who struck first when Wycombe were penalised for a high tackle in front of their posts and the three points were taken 3-0. Wycombe hit back and a great scrum close to the line pushed Drifters off their own ball, number eight Eddie Roche picked up but was held up over the line. The away team opted for another scrum and this time another controlled drive from the pack enabled Eddie Roche to pick up and score, with Joe Openshaw making the kick 7-3. Not to be deterred the home team obtained good field position when Wycombe were penalised for going off their feet at a ruck. From an accurate throw at the lineout Drifters set up a maul and went over to score, with the kick missed 8-7. For the rest of the half the Wycombe enjoyed the majority of the territory and possession and although they created a number of chances inaccuracy close to the line meant they couldn’t add to their score and it remained 8-7 at half time. The second half started with Wycombe going back to basics and after some strong carries from the forwards fly half Matt Wardle made a break into the twenty-two with the full back to beat he offloaded to prop Henry Wise who went over under the posts with Joe Openshaw making the kick 8-14. The away team extended their lead when after some good continuity the game was stopped due to an injury. The game re-started with a scrum to Wycombe on the opposition twenty-two. A solid scrum enabled number eight Eddie Roche to pick up and feed scrum half Joe Openshaw who seeing the full back up in the line put in an intelligent kick behind the defense and winger James Outten had the pace to outstrip the defense, scoop up the ball and score in the corner, with the kick missed 8-19.

An excellent hanging re-start was regathered by Drifters and then they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and decided to kick for goal, with the kick made 11-19. Wycombe continued to enjoy the majority of the territory and from a penalty for a high tackle kicked to touch. Unfortunately the throw was deemed not straight and Drifters cleared their lines. From the resulting lineout a strong carry from Eddie Roche took Wycombe into Drifters territory and a great offload sent Dan Kier away who was stopped short of the line. With the ball recycled quickly and fed out to the right hand side Eddie Roche went over to score 11-24. With the re-start going out on the full, Wycombe were awarded a scrum on the halfway line and a great break from James Outten took play close to the home team’s line, Drifters were then penalised and Wycombe took a quick tap. The play came to nothing but the referee was playing another advantage and this time Wycombe opted for a scrum five metres out. Another excellent scrum enabled Eddie Roche to go over for a push over try and his third of the match, with Joe Openshaw making the kick 11-31. With not long remaining the away team continued to press and superb break from Henry Wyse put him one on one with the full back but unfortunately his pass didn’t go to hand and the ball was cleared. With no further score the match ended 11-31.

Overall a scrappy game but Wycombe’s second half performance was enough to see them win comfortably in the end. Drifters never gave up and looked threatening especially in the first half. Injuries to both teams and the referee’s whistle meant it was a stop start affair but Wycombe came away with the five points and now have a week’s break until their last home game of the season against Gosford All Blacks.

Man of the Match – James Outten