Sat 14 Apr 2018
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With spring finally arriving High Wycombe made the journey to Home Park to take on high flying Windsor. This was always going to be a tough match with Windsor trying to gain promotion via the play-offs.
Wycombe welcomed back Henry Wyse, Eddie Roche, Craig Murray and Joe Openshaw to the side that convincingly beat Gosford All Blacks. The game didn’t start as planned for the visitors although they gathered the kick off and cleared their lines Windsor ran the ball back. Seeing some space down the blindside an accurate chip was regathered and after several offloads Windsor went over to score, with the kick missed 5-0. Wycombe responded well and ill discipline from home team gave Freddie Roddick a chance to reduce the deficit with a kick at goal, unfortunately it went just wide. Not to be deterred Wycombe continued to press and more ill discipline from the home team set up a lineout on the five-metre line. An accurate throw to the middle enabled a maul to be formed which rumbled its way over the line and captain Tom Boardman scored, with Freddie making the kick 5-7. Wycombe continued to put pressure on the home team and a well worked backs move put winger Harry Tanner in space, with the defence coming across he put in a kick which seemed to be touched down by a Windsor player over the try line. The referee didn’t agree and awarded Wycombe a scrum five metres out. Wycombe thought they had scored when at the ensuing ruck number eight Craig Murray picked up and dived over the line, but the referee deemed that he wasn’t the last man and came back for a Windsor knock on and another scrum. This time the ball was fed out to the backs where a nice move saw James Outten have the pace to go outside his man and score, with Freddie making the kick 5-14. A penalty in front of the posts for being offside at a scrum allowed Windsor to reduce the deficit 8-14. The home team were now applying the pressure and another penalty which was kicked to touch set up a lineout eight metres from the line. This time it was Windsor’s turn to secure the ball and rumble over the line with a rolling maul, with the kick made 15-14 and it stayed this way until half time.
The opening of the second half saw Windsor on the front foot forcing a scrum five metres out, but an excellent shove from the Wycombe forwards forced a mistake at the base and Wycombe were able to clear their lines. After some excellent defence Windsor were penalised for not releasing at a ruck and this presented Freddie Roddick with a difficult kick at the posts. Unfortunately, the kick fell short and Windsor cleared the ball, Sibu gathered the kick well but with little support was turned over. With the away team’s defence out of position Windsor had an overlap and scored under the posts, with the kick made 22-14. Windsor were now on top and a few minutes later seemed to have broken through the away team’s defence but a fantastic covering tackle from Sibu Zulu stopped the home team from scoring and Windsor were forced into giving a penalty away. Wycombe went quickly and made good yards into the opposition half with some strong carries, the ball was spun out wide where number eight Eddie Roche found himself out on the wing, he powered through two tackles and went over to score in the corner, with the kick missed 22-19. From the restart Wycombe carried well but were penalised when they were adjudged to not have released the ball in the tackle. Windsor went for the posts and their full back made an excellent long-range kick, 25-19. Wycombe were still in the game and pushing Windsor all the way, when from the restart Windsor gathered the ball and put in a short kick which bobbled just in front of Sibu he controlled the ball with his foot and in trying to gather it seemed to be tackled without the ball, unfortunately the referee didn’t agree and allowed the play to continue. The Windsor scrum half scooped up the ball and had the pace to run half the length of the pitch to score with the kick made 32-19. With minutes remaining Wycombe were penalised for offside and Windsor again made another long-range kick 35-19 and this is how the game finished.
Overall an excellent performance against a very strong Windsor side, the fact that the team was disappointed not to get any points out of the game shows how far they have come over the last few months. Good luck to Windsor in their pursuit of promotion after what was an enjoyable game.
Man of the Match – Mike Fradgley
Carried well all afternoon