Onto next week
Buckinghamshire Men visited East London RFC to take on Essex, in the first round of the county championships, and a battle the new king would have been proud of.
Buckinghamshire kicked off and immediately put pressure on the Essex ramparts. The hosts, with a big pack, were able to gain some inroads into the Bucks half and tried to spread the ball wide, but due to the intense pressure and line speed from the Bucks defence, a fumble was expertly picked up by man-mountain Callum Liles, who expertly offloaded to Will Andrews. The versatile back, known amongst the squad as The Court Jester, was able to outpace two chasing Essex defenders to give Bucks the early lead. Conversion missed (5-0).
Buckinghamshire, with a coronation spring in their step, were causing Essex problems with their strong scrum. Against the run of play, Essex intercepted a wide pass and raced away into the Bucks 22. A fantastic covering tackle from Callum Liles prevented a certain try, but quick recycling from Essex allowed them to finally crash over. Conversion missed (5-5).
Bucks restarted and Essex couldn’t take the kick off. The following scrum resulted in a Bucks penalty. The backline played the advantage on offer, and a cultured, some would say regal, chip over the Essex defence from Will Andrews, led to the imperious Louis Bounds pouncing on the ball to score. The conversion was successful (12-5).
Essex realised they were in for a game at this point. The game swung back and forth, with both sets of forwards jousting in a right royal battle. In the final 10 minutes of the half, the momentum swung to Essex and they quickly scored two tries, with one conversion, to lead 12-17 at half time.
Essex, buoyed by the previous ten minutes, started to move the ball wide, but resolute defence from the Buckinghamshire backline, led by Noah Jarvis, kept them at bay. The pressure finally paid off for Essex as they were able to go over for two quick tries to extend their lead to 29-12, and claim the crown jewels.
Bucks, proudly fielding a team made up of the aristocracy of eight different clubs from around the realm, and ten new caps, had a never say die attitude. They kept on probing from deep and asking questions of the Essex defence. In the final minute they were rewarded with a try by ubiquitous Captain Kaz Olayinka, crashing over to take the final score to 29-17.
Buckinghamshire will be buoyed by the performance, and pushed Essex all the way.
The Man Of The Match was the peerless Prince of Centres, Noah Jarvis.
Next week we travel to East Grinstead RFC for Sussex.
Aled Lewis / Richard Gommo