Our first pre-season match saw a return to Amesbury RFC – one of last year’s pre-season friendlies. Last year it ended up with us on the receiving end of a 60 point beating, so clearly this was always going to be a tough game.
The night before the game, our squad list looked very healthy with 23 names down, but due to some pull-outs and no shows, we arrived with a bare 17, this needs to be addressed for future games! The difference in squad size put us on the back foot, as Amesbury had a large (in both sense of the term) squad and could quickly rotate players. Our scrum, more than held its own for the majority of the game, particular mentions going to Tom & Mike there. A cracking all round game by another forward was Sean , who carried the ball relentlessly throughout the game.
Debutante Jimmy also had a strong showing at outside centre. When the ball made its way to him, his darting runs, bullet passes and space-finding kicks showed promise for the new Kingsclere.
For the most part, our defence was strong, especially the individual tackling, which was excellent by everyone. This was epitomised by Simon Goodson, who is now plying his trade out on the wing, but still tackles in his own very ‘special’ style !
Our attacking play wasn’t quite as strong, partly due to this being the first game of the season, partly due to the conditions and partly due to this being the first time plenty of the team had played together. We did, however, score a try, Rob Doble squirted through the middle of a ruck and exploded over the try-line. Alex Hiscock slotted the conversion in the very blustery conditions.
The final score line of 36-7 showed a few things. Firstly it showed the points difference was half that of last year against a team that went unbeaten in their league in the 18-19 season. Secondly it showed we have progressed and have much to be proud of.
There was one significant downside to the match, which was the grim injury to Captain Mark McCorry. An accident on the wing involving a 25 stone behemoth, an unfortunate angle and Mark’s hip has led to surgery and an extended hospital stay. We wish Mark all the best and hope his recovery is very rapid – he will be a huge loss to the playing squad.Thanks to everyone that stayed to look after him while the ambulance arrived.