Wymondham 15, Billericay 10
- Credit: Archant
Wymondham reached the regional semi-finals of the London and South East Junior Vase after a hard-fought victory over Billericay from Essex League 1.
The game kicked off in muddy conditions and Wymondham were quickly on the attack against what looked like a strong Billericay pack. They won a scrum on the opposition five metre line and from the ensuing rucks spun the ball out to Wigney on the wing who ran in to make it 5-0. In windy conditions, which troubled the kickers all afternoon, the conversion was missed.
It was now Billericay's turn to attack and after forming a maul they drove the Wymondham pack back to score a drive-over try which went unconverted to level the scores after 10 minutes.
Billericay were making the most of their bigger and more experienced forwards, winning most of the scrums and lineouts. Wymondham defended well and as the half wore on were getting more of the ball. Wyatt at scrum-half was looking to work the ball wide and eventually found Simo at full back who made ground, forcing a penalty, but again the kick went astray and the score remained 5-5 at half-time.
After the break Al Turner took over the lineout throwing and Wymondham started to win more ball and the halfbacks were looking to kick forward for the backs to run on to. Billericay had a player sin- binned for back chatting and Wymondham won several kickable penalties which, on a normal day, may have gone over.
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The weather was now bright with long shadows and a rainbow over the ground with both sides looking for a decisive score and with 12 minutes to go Billericay got their rolling maul going again to score an unconverted try to make it 5-10.
Billericay were keeping it tight to protect the lead but eventually Wymondham got possession in their own 22 and Anderson Brown set Simo on his way to run out of defence and release Wigney on the halfway line to out-sprint the remaining defenders and run in to level the score under the posts with two minutes to go.
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What seemed like a simple kick was needed to win, but the troublesome wind knocked the ball over and the conversion was missed so 20 minutes of extra-time loomed.
Wymondham quickly won a kickable penalty but again it was missed. Both sides were trying to close the game out and eventually Billericay dropped the ball and Sims pounced, kicking it forward through the melee and over the try line to touch down just before the ball went out of play to make the score 15-10 at half-time. Wymondham's young forwards weren't going to let this go and were now on top, with Blake Ambrose and the experienced Turner putting in some big tackles.
Both sets of players looked completely exhausted after a long and hard game that was played in the best of spirits.
Next up for Wymondham is either Eastbourne or Beccehamians, whose match was postponed.