WRFCU16S TOUR MATCH V ST MARY'S OLD BOYS
GREAT WIN FOR U16S ON TOUR
St Mary's Old Boys (Bristol) RFC u16 5
Winchester RFC u16 40
Winchester travelled to Bristol for their autumn weekend tour. Their hosts, St Mary's Old Boys, had lost one game throughout last season and are the joint Gloucester & Bristol cupholders – worthy opponents for the reigning Hampshire champions.
The first half began with a flurry of set pieces. From a line out, Winchester broke: wing and captain Josh Wise searing up the pitch from well inside his own half and going over to score, his conversion making it 7-0 to Winchester. In the 18th minute Jamie Cook made a crunching tackle, picked up the ball from the tackled player to run clear before neatly delivering to Filippo Hall to touch down. Josh Wise got the extras again to make it 14-0 to Winchester. In the 20th minute Josh Wise again broke free and went through to touch down; converting he made it 21–0 to Winchester. After a multi-phase play from Winchester, including giving the ball away and winning it back again, the Winchester back line opened up once more and Toby Reid went over to put the score at 26-0 to Winchester.
Some great work at the breakdown by flankers Filippo Hall and Cam Jesney led to some solid Winchester possession, and despite some overconfidence in the backs, eventually led to another try from Josh Wise, which made it 33-0 to Winchester after the conversion. Good work by Cain Williams in breaking down St Marys' attacks led to a try for full-back Ben Pearce, who had been looking dangerous since the start, Henry Williams kicking the extras to make it 40-0 to Winchester. Special mention should go to Henry Williams and his halfback partner Toby Gilbey for some excellent distribution work in the first half.
Winchester made a number of replacements at half-time to accommodate their touring party. Early in the second half, an interception by the St Marys' openside flanker, with a sprint the length of the Winchester half saw him get to within a metre of the Winchester tryline only to be felled by Jamie Cook, who had chased him down from some distance. Stout Winchester defending on their own try line held off the threat, countering with a fine break by wing Rufus Beck.
Superb Winchester rush defence led by Number 8 Henry Gwilliam meant that any score from St Marys' was avoided until late in the second half, the Bristolians going over with a pushover try utilising all 15 players to make the score 5-40. The full-time whistle immediately followed the missed conversion.
A superb whole-squad performance - if a little maverick at some points - by Winchester, showing they can deliver results on the road as well as in Hampshire.