Wheatley Go Down Fighting as Slough Secure Promotion
Wheatley loose out in epic battle
Despite only picking up one bonus point Wheatley will look back in reflection on a great team performance in a high scoring contest that either team could have won.
The tone was set early on as Wheatley made their presence felt at every opportunity giving nothing in defence, defensive pressure was forcing errors from the home team and the continued infringements at breakdown was eventually penalised and a penalty was awarded Aaron Laman calmly stroked the ball over to open the scoring,
Slough soon hit back from the re-start moving the ball from side to side, despite some scramble defence Wheatley were unable to stop the heavy winger Craig Fullicks from crashing over from close range and converted by Alex Allen.
Play resumed with a very high tempo with both teams looking to find the chink in the others armour and the official trying to catch his breath! It was James Neal who was the benefactor of some slick handling from the Wheatley back line that saw speedster Dan Rule drive deep into to the Slough 22 Neal scooped the ball up and scored in the corner, with the conversion missed.
Wheatley kept the home team at bay for 10 minutes before the home team produce quick hands to exploit the narrow Wheatley defence with James O’Reilly’s neat foot work finding the extra space needed to get over for a unconverted try.
Wheatley bounced back applying more and more pressure on the defensive linewith the cracks beginning to show Wheatley found themselves 15 yards out with a dominant scrum, with a straight 8 drive Wheatley punished the Slough scrum forcing a penalty Skipper Alex Acklam opted to go again, with Ezra Rees and Alex Gabbidon licking their lips with an anticipated pushover, the Slough front row buckled with the tight head unable to hold the pressure a penalty try was awarded.
Wheatley were caught napping with a quick restart and were unable to react fast enough to stop Slough wing Max Miles from crashing over for an unconverted try giving Slough a 17-15 halftime lead.
Wheatley had the brightest start in the second half with probably the try of the match quick ball found Dan Rule with plenty todo with a change of direction on halfway Rule brushed off the home sides defensive efforts ignited the afterburners and score under the posts Laman adding the extras,
The restart saw number 8 James Neal needing to leave the field injured and the Wheatley pack re-shuffle, with play still maintaining a high tempo frustration was beginning to show with the home team seamingly allowed to slow the ball at each breakdown by the Buckinghamshire referee. Slough were able to turn ball over in the Wheatley 22 and Rob King scored out wide Allen adding the conversion.
Wheatley had another injury blow with Dan Rule suffering a shoulder dislocation in a fairly innocuous challenge.
With both teams having opportunities in the preceding 10 minutes Wheatley again found themselves under the cosh but the defence stood fast and kept the home team at bay, unfortunately Wheatley were not afforded the same luxury at the breakdown and Simon Chadbone was harshly yellow carded for a “team offence” although we’re not sure what that was the resulting penalty say the official award a Penalty try to Slough for a high tackle although I for one am a little sceptical that the Slough player would have scored as several Wheatley players were in place to defend the line.
With Wheatley down to 14 and rueing the penalty try decision Slough hit again hard with what was becoming their signature move, this time exploiting the extra man and despite some fine tackling from Jordan Hook the Slough wing was able to present a fine inside pass for Alex Allen to score. O’Rielly adding the extra.
Wheatley now adjusting to Sloughs extra men, seemed to gain control and peg the home team back, great line speed in defence saw Matt Gibb put in a great hit but the Irish Man came out second best And was force to leave the field with suspected concussion.
Wheatley re-shuffled the pack once more now playing with 5 frontrow their pack gaining more superiority in the scrum and we’re able to take one against the head quick ball saw returning South African Sanda Mpanza charge over in the corner with Arron converting.
Final Score 38-29
Congratulations to Slough on securing promotion we will take heart from our performance given the commitment shown huge blow to loose Dan and Matt for the Shield final and we wish them a speedy recovery.