The Laminators had it covered and sealed the victory
In Wellingborough’s last preseason friendly they took on a tough S&L side away at Corby. This final game was a chance for some players to cement a place in the starting line-up and also to give some of the fringe players a chance to shine.
This game was selected as the final friendly due to the tough, uncompromising nature that S&L teams have offered over the years, this current S&L side have ambitions to be in the same division as Wellingborough so offered a good marker for both teams.
Wellingborough started the first half against the slope but an early turnover from Joel Smith put Wellingborough on the front foot. For the first 10-15 minutes Wellingborough had S&L under some pressure and a series of thrusts to the line were repelled by a strong S&L defence. Set pieces for both teams provided mixed results with Wellingborough stealing S&L ball on a couple of occasions but S&L with their large pack caused issues for Wellingborough in some scrums. The first quarter did show that Wellingborough looked dangerous when combining phases, one particular bit of good play saw Chris Hallam make a break up the field. However, the S&L drift defence caused an error with a Wellingborough attack which lead to the S&L winger breaking clear. The Wellingborough defence scrambled back but after a couple of rucks S&L scored a try in the right hand corner, which was converted. (S&L 7v0 Wellingborough)
The try seemed to give S&L a boost who started to use their pack to good effect and a series of phases lead to a chip over the top which Wellingborough couldn’t gather, the S&L player following up made no such mistake and they scored their second try which again was converted (S&L 14v0 Wellingborough). Just before the half time whistle Wellingborough started to get themselves back into the game by retaining possession but again handling errors let them down, it was proving difficult to get the ball wide to both wingers. The first half had shown that even though S&L were leading the Wellingborough pack could adapt and stand up to the tough S&L pack.
(S&L 14 v 0 Wellingborough)
The second half kicked off and immediately a mistake was made by S&L. Four phases later and some good work by the Wellingborough team saw Pete Vickers crash over for a Wellingborough try which he then converted (S&L 14v7 Wellingborough). Wellingborough received the kick off with Jon Redman catching the ball and setting it up, the ref penalised S&L and the ball was cleared into the S&L half. Wellingborough won the lineout and after a series of drives they found themselves on the S&L try line, Dave Morgan drove the ball on further and offloaded to Adam Lambert who powered over for a try from 10cm, this was converted (S&L 14v14 Wellingborough).
The game then proceeded to get scrappy as both teams went searching for a try to get back into the lead, S&L started to find some space around the edge of the ruck and put pressure on Wellingborough’s defence but a combination of strong defence and S&L errors meant that Wellingborough could relieve this pressure.
Having the slope in the second half with the light breeze meant that Wellingborough could use their kicking game to good effect with Pete Vickers pinning S&L back, one Ben Gardiner kick from the back of a ruck was spectacular. Further good play from Wellingborough saw them enter into the S&L 22 and attack the line, but a knock on gave S&L a scrum 5 metres from their own try line and the opportunity to clear their line, however, the ball wasn’t clean and Freddie Davidson dived on it setting up a ruck. Quick recycled ball saw Paul Lambert crash over for a try bringing him level with his work colleague Luke Gardiner on one try for the pre-seasons friendlies (Paul, remember to show this at work!). The try was converted (S&L 14v21 Wellingborough).
Not long after kick off, Wellingborough found themselves down to 14 players as Jack Whittet was sent to the bin for 10mins for a dangerous tackle. S&L took full advantage and pinned Wellingborough back, they were using their forwards to good effect but great defensive play especially when scrambling back stopped Wellingborough conceding a try. Finally S&L gave away a penalty and Wellingborough moved clear of their lines. Wellingborough had to lose a further player and were down to 13 players but they showed great resolve and progressed their way down to the S&L line. Finally, Wellingborough were able to free their wingers, with Luke Gardiner using his pace to great effect. As a result they were able to move back into the S&L 22 and after a couple of phases Tom Bryan was on the end of a well executed backs move and scored for the second week running. This was converted (S&L 14v28 Wellingborough). The final minutes of the second half saw S&L utilising their driving maul but again strong defence repelled the S&L attack.
S&L 14v28 Wellingborough
Pete Vickers 1 try
Adam Lambert 1 try
Paul Lambert 1 try
Tom Bryan 1 try
Pete Vickers 4 Cons
An excellent win for Wellingborough against S&L. This was a tough game but the performance showed that even with a changed pack Wellingborough could stand up to a big uncompromising pack and still win the game. There were some good performances put in by a number of players which makes selection even tougher for next week’s games.
Finally, a big hand must go to Jon Redman who played his second game ever at prop and did a great job, it’s certainly different to hanging around on the wing, but he follows his brother into the ranks of Wellingborough front rowers.
Report by Matt Armstrong