Sat 20 Apr 2019, 15:00

High Wycombe RFC
Marlow Rugby Union Football Club

by Matt Lewis

Wycombe wrapped up their season with a pulsating victory over local rivals Marlow. Although there was nothing more than bragging rights to play for both teams put everything on the line in a hugely entertaining game.

The home team started brightly, a Freddie Roddick break set up Wycombe’s first chance of the game but his kick through just bounced out of the reach of Tom Bosley. Marlow hit back and two penalties put the away team on the front foot and a delicate chip forced Wycombe’s Toby Lane to carry the ball out inches from the line. Marlow’s well drilled lineout secured the ball and a well worked backs move enabled the winger to score in the corner 0-5. A combination of individual errors and the referee’s whistle meant it wasn’t long before Marlow had another lineout just short of the try line. This time the lineout didn’t function as planned and the ball was knocked on. From the scrum a strong break from Jake Banton took play up to half way. Quick ball and good hands form the backs enabled James Shuck to get outside his man and carry the ball into the twenty-two. With Marlow scrambling back Matt Wardle spotted a gap in the defense, handed off the last man and went over to score, with Freddie Roddick adding the conversion 7-5. With talented backs Wycombe were looking to run the ball at every opportunity but some errant passing gave possession away. A penalty for going off their feet at the ruck enabled Wycombe to clear their lines. Pressure at the lineout meant the ball was tapped back and forced Toby Lane to scramble; unfortunately his pass was intercepted by the Marlow number 20 who had a free run to the line to score 7-10. More individual errors were hurting Wycombe and a yellow card for Toby Lane for playing the ball on the floor gave Marlow more good field position. For the next ten minutes Wycombe were forced to defend their line, Marlow threw everything at them but the defense didn’t buckle. Unfortunately just as Toby Lane came back onto the pitch Wycombe were again reduced to 14 players when Matt Wardle was yellow carded for a no arm tackle. Marlow decided to take the kick at goal and Freddie Lewis made no mistake 7-13.

Half Time 7-13

It was Wycombe who started the second half strongly, when a Marlow knock on in midfield gave the home team field position. Number eight Joff Forber broke from the base of the scrum and fed the ball out to Jake Banton who again carried hard into the Marlow defense. A deft offload by Freddie Roddick put Rob Johnson into a gap and he carried the ball deep into the twenty-two. With quick ball Toby Lane fed Freddie Roddick who dummied and handed off the last defender to score, Freddie kicked the extra points 14-13. Marlow knocked on the kick off and at the resulting scrum the Marlow loose head prop was yellow carded. Wycombe were now back to 15 players but a knock on in midfield gave Marlow a scrum on the half way line. An excellent long pass in midfield put the Marlow winger away with the just returned Matt Wardle to beat. His tackle was adjudged to be high and he received his second yellow card and consequently a red card. With Matt being the last defender a penalty try was awarded 14-20. It was now backs against the wall for Wycombe on a sweltering hot day and with 14 men for most of the second half it would have been easy to think that the game was lost, but that wasn’t the case. Wycombe upped their game and from a penalty kicked to touch to set up a line out on the twenty-two. An excellent break from Tom Boardman took play close to the line, a couple of carries from the forwards were unsuccessful so the ball was fed out to winger Harry Tanner who ran a great line to bundle his way over the line, Freddie Roddick made the kick 21-20. Excellent hands at the kick off secured Wycombe possession and good continuity worked the ball up to the twenty-two. A great running line by Jake Banton looked like he had got in behind the defense but he just couldn’t hang on to the ball and the move broke down. You wouldn’t know Wycombe were down to 14 men, and a fumbled kick into touch by the Marlow winger set up Wycombe’s next attack. A neat kick into the corner by Freddie Roddick was only sliced clear and gave the home team more good field position. With the lineout secured second row Mike Fradgley carried the ball back into the forwards. The ball was moved out to the backs where another excellent line by Jake Banton enabled him to score under the posts; Freddie Roddick made the kick 28-20. With fifteen minutes remaining there was still time for Marlow to hit back, but Wycombe’s game management was excellent seeing out the rest of the match without incident.

Full Time 28-20

An excellent way to finish the season and shows the character of the team to come from behind with only 14 men. Wycombe have shown this season that by beating each of the top four teams they should be looking to move up the table next season.

Man of the Match

Freddie Roddick

Was instrumental in everything good that Wycombe did. When reduced to 14 men he moved to fly half and ran the game with poise and control. In defense he never missed a tackle and managed the game excellently.