Bucks 54 Horden 17

By Chris Harrison - November 17 2008
Bucks 54 Horden 17
Mallinson The Bucks entertained Horden III on the new pitch at Brinkburn on a very pleasant Autumn day. The order of the day for the home team was move the ball around the park as the visitors arrived with their customary large pack.
The first half was very even but West were able to take the lead after 12 mins when Full back Luke Mallinson was able to strike over a penalty.
After 21 mins a Horden clearance was taken by Mallinson and he struck the Ball across the field for winger Mark Pearce to gather and beat the covering defence (8-0).
From the kick off prop Ian Bates took a tremendous catch to set the ball up. The backs moved the ball and Martin Todd put his fellow centre Tom Armstrong into space from 70 metres out. The young centre showed his pace as he beat the visitors defence on the way to the line. Mallinson converted (15-0).
Horden worked themselves into the game and from a scrum in the West 22 broke blind. Unfortunately for them a spilled ball was scooped up by Wests scrum half Danny Cook and he sprinted in from 70 metres (20-0).
Hordens large pack eventually got themselves close to the West line and did the business as they came alive and smashed their way over despite some valiant home defence.
This score was converted on the stroke of half time (20-7).

The second half belonged primarily to West as their running game paid dividends. From the kick off prop Karl Graham claimed the ball. However fly half Stu Waites was put under tremendous pressure but a fabulous show and go 2 metres from his own line released substitute centre Jamie Shotton on a 50 metre run and as tackled he offloaded to fellow sub Jonny Wright in the back row. Wright was able to run in despite desperate attempts to tackle him. Mallinson converted (27-7).
From the kick off West got themselves in a muddle and Horden got a 5 metre scrum. Once again they showed their mettle as they made the position count crashing over in the corner after dismantling the home scrum (27-12).
The second half was dominated by the West back row and this showed when West turned the ball over and openside Alex Barker was freed in the backs to dummy and drive over from 20 metres out (32-12).
Wests desire to keep the ball alive led to another try when Mallinson, now playing at scrum half, took a quick throw. The ball was spun wide and winger Pearce showed off his newly developed finishing skills with a clinical try. Mallinson converted (39-12).
The Bucks were now determined to mess up their kick off receptions as dithering and lack of bottle gave Horden the ball. But the Jekyll and Hyde character showed itself again as fabulous defence turned the ball over and the ball was moved swiftly wide. Centre Armstrong sprinted outside the initial defence and then cut inside the covering defence to score another tremendous long range try. (44-12).
The pattern of the game was repeated as West messed up another kick off. Horden ran the ball from the subsequent scrum but centre Shotton stripped the ball from his opposite number. In absolute classic back row play the next 2 men to receive the ball were the sweeping 7 & 8 who put winger Pearce into space. Pearce has now developed into a formidable finisher and his long strides took him in from 60 metres to complete his hat trick (49-12).
Again West rescued a poor attempt at a kick off reception and released their backs. Veteran Martin Todd (22) gave a tremendous delayed pass to Shotton for the young centre to run in from 60 metres through a very tired defence (54-12).
To be fair to Horden they never gave in, as you would expect from the ledds, and they finished the scoring off with a pushover try as Wests pack disappeared under tremendous pressure (54-17).

West stuck to their game plan , which was to move the ball (and visitors) around the park. The front row worked valiantly against older opponents but the back row, at times, was truly magnificent.
If you have a backrow at every single tackle or breakdown who creates quick ball then you have a tremendous team and thats what we had yesterday so well done to Danny Doyle, Alex Barker, Joe Rafferty, Jonny Wright and Nathan Rayner. Not one of you older than 19 but if I could work with you for the next few years then I would be a happy man!