Pre-Season Does Its Job
By Dominic Mitchell
A pair of performances which 'Bridge can take a lot of heart from into the season.
In games like these, it is important to take the opportunity to try things, see what new things are going to work in the season and which things to definitely avoid repeating.
Following a minute silence for recently passed former Club Member Irwin Richards, 'Bridge kicked off the opening game against a very strong Dartford Valley team which, although not their full 1st XV looked to include a lot of faces who will be featuring for them in a league two levels above where Edenbridge are playing this season. 'Bridge coped admirably and in fact, held the lion's share of possession and territory for most of the shortened periods of play.
It was to be Edenbridge who opened the scoring with Dan Rowland going over for the first score of the afternoon after some well-worked play for the back of a lineout and play spread across the width of the field. A satisfying reward for some high-tempo and controlled yet ambitious rugby from the home team. Some lax defending was, however, to let Dartford Valley in for an equalising score on the stroke of half-time with 'Bridge punished for maybe trying to play too much rugby in the wrong areas of the pitch.
A slew of injuries was then to strike 'Bridge and although not serious, the decision was made to not risk players before the season had even got going so both Craig Decoteau and Spike Smith (who had both been in storming form) were helped from the pitch. This unsettled the home team and Dartford Valley were to go in for a second score.
'Bridge had further chances but definite early-season rustiness let down a number of promising breaks with the instinctive handling not quite firing yet. 5-10 to Dartford at the full-time whistle.
Next up was Vigo immediately following the conclusion of game one.
The opening few minutes were a fantastic example of what happens when you put a side who are now carrying the aches from a game on an early season-hard pitch against a side of 15 pairs of fresh legs. Mayhem ensures initially as Vigo tore into an already flagging Edenbridge defence.
This Vigo 2nd XV were certainly a stronger proposition than their 3rd XV we had faced in the league last season and, playing a league above Edenbridge, their extra pace (compounded by the back to back games) and tenacity in the carry told. Despite the scoreline of 7-35 when the full-time whistle went, 'Bridge showed some real attacking intent and looked very dangerous when playing with tempo; a series of quick plays leading to fullback Dan Rowland scoring his second try of the afternoon.
So, a lot to take from the afternoon and certainly reasons to be optimistic for the season ahead.
There was a welcome return to Edenbridge RFC for Mark Moore whom we hope to see in the Black and Yellow a lot more times this season and we were delighted to field 3 players for our Academy age-group in Ryan Helps, Henry Porter and Harry Warne. All three of them really put down a marker and looked to be very impressive in both attack and defence. It's great to see talent coming through the Club to the Senior sides.
Next week, the 1st XV are on the road to Ash for the first league game of 2018-19.