Veseyans Rugby started their 2016/17 campaign with a tough trip to Camp Hill in the North Midlands Shield. Veseyans have had some tough games against their Midlands 2 West North rivals in recents years, and this was to be no different.
Veseyans took the opportunity to give debuts to a number of new players with Sam Foster, Simon Millard, Tim Lloyd, Harry Griffiths and Ben Brown all handed their first competitive starts for the club.
The game that followed can only be described as a fantastic advert for Midlands rugby, every aspect of the game was hotly contested with both sides looking creating half chances and quickly being shut down by the opposition. A 0-0 half time score certainly didn’t reflect the entertaining nature of the play, but showed how finely balanced the game was.
It was a loose kick from the Camp Hill fly half that led to the first points of the game, a mis-hit kick going across the pitch and straight into the hands of new boy Foster on the left wing, who showed great evasion, composure and searing gas to beat his man and dot down in the corner opening his Veseyans account, the conversion was narrowly missed by Griffiths and Veseyans led by 5.
The game remained tight, both sides working hard to unlock the other and as the last quarter approached there was little between the sides, this was soon mirrored on the scoreboard when Camp Hill squeezed over in the corner to level the scores at 5-5.
A Penalty against Veseyans fly half Tim Lloyd then led to him going to the sin bin for 10 minutes, and a penalty kick for Camp Hill that took them in the lead at 8-5. This was to be a make or break period for the Veseyans, with a number of new players but they reacted with great work rate and not only fought their way through the deficit period but took the lead through two Harry Griffiths Penalties.
Heading into the last 5 minutes and the tension was evident for both sides, when Camp hill scored with only 5 minutes to go this only increased, the conversion was missed and there were only 2 points in it. The home side now led 13-11 and Veseyans had to find some points. A dominant scrum didn’t provide the reward of a penalty and the mess that ensued led to lost ball, set up replacement scrum half Chris Cheney with a turnover David Pocock would of been proud of, Griffiths breaks down the right hand side and offloads out the back to wing Jon Fellows to go over. Veseyans win in the final play and Griffiths adds the extras to make the final score 18-11.
Veseyans Head Coach, Dan Hemingway, will be pleased with his side’s performance. “It’s always important to start the year with a W. We finished last season with a loss away at Camp Hill and we spoke this week about using today to set a benchmark for this season, the boys can see now how far we have come over preseason and hopefully they will start to believe in themselves. The exciting thing for us as coaches is there is so much more to come.