Wheatley lack Bite as Didcot take the victory
By Simon Chadbone
Didcot ran out 17-5 winners in the first match of 2019 with Wheatley unable to break down the Didcot defence
Wheatley were unchanged for the first time this campaign but despite putting several phases of play together Wheatley were lacking a little killer instinct to get point on the board.
Wheatley were under the cosh from the outset with Didcot able to cross the line from close quarters but missing the conversion. The pressure remained constant with Wheatley happy to soak up the waves of attack but to often giving up possession, the scoreline remained 0-5 for much of the half before Wheatley were able to find space to run, Jordan Hook was on the end of a terrific pay with the ball flowing between forwards and backs, Didcot were unable to live with this pace with the ball eventually packing its way to Jordan Hook to dot down in the corner. conversion missed 5-5.
The remaining couple of minutes of the half Wheatley rode out the storm and went into the break full of confidence, Wheatley were dealt a harsh blow early in the second with Sanda Mpanza harshly yellow carded for competing in the air for the ball.
With Wheatley down to 14 men they were dealt a further blow with Scrum Half Hugo Stanford Tuck forced from the field with an injury meaning a re-shuffled backline with Tom Heydon handed his debut in the centre.
Wheatley held out despite Didcots numerical advantaged but on the 60 min mark the visitors did breach the purple wall adding a converted try.
Wheatley were then forced into further changes with Alex Gabbidon and Dan Rule enforced changes and Simon Chadbone and Michale Ridge now engaged in battle.
Wheatley kept Didcot at bay with some robust defending but despite some great line breaks from Joe Taylor and Jordan Hook Wheatley couldn't a mass further points. Didcot did manage to squeeze over for a try despite several infringements going unseen.
Final score 5-17
Wheatley can take heart from the amount of defending and tackles that accumulated but will feel disappointed that we couldn't amass more points and this was a game we could have won.
A big week in front of us with an away trip to Drifters coming up.