Crows Vs High Wycombe II



In Monsoon like conditions, the Crows started 2023 by welcoming Buckinghamshire side, High Wycombe to the Nest.

In the Crowthorne pack, there was a return to action for Kank Osborne at loose head and Sam Clarkson at number 8. The Arborfield assassin, Henry Wareing made his first start at 9 and opted to leave his tights at home this week! There was also a return to the starting lineup for Dan Coombes, this week at fullback. Amongst the replacements, there was the welcome sight of Josh Roberts, coming back into the squad after a 3 month injury lay off.

The opening exchanges were frantic in the driving rain, in what was very much a day for the forwards. The Crows tight 5 began to find dominance in the scrum and this created a great platform for Clarkson to pick and go for an early score. 5 nil Crows. A frustrating 20 minutes or so followed, with Crowthorne winning the ball at line out time, as Dowd leapt like a Salmon and asserting pressure in the scrums but failing to put together many phases, due to multiple knock ons, as the wet ball slipped through fingers regularly. In the backs, Shackleford carried well into traffic to give the Crows real go forward but not enough was made of the spaces out wide, as the team got drawn into an attritional battle up front, when kicking into space may have been a better option. The High Wycombe number 8 tackled admirably, consistently chopping down much larger opponents and frustrating the Crows. Eventually, another 5 metre scrum gave Clarkson an opportunity to power over and double his try tally for the day. 10 nil Crows. A searing break from outside centre Jack Booth, almost created a 3rd just before half time but another knock after the ball was recycled at the ruck, ended the chance.

10 nil at half time and the Crows regrouped. They had never been in danger of conceding a try but agreed that they needed to do more with all the possession they had. Turner came on at loose head and Dyson replaced Mollett at blindside. In the backs, Roberts entered the fray at Scrum half. Due to a lack of substitutes in the High Wycombe squad, Craig Joyce, John Casey and Luke Smith all made their debuts for the opposition! The Christmas rustiness began to wear off as the 2nd half got underway and Crowthorne soon made inroads into Wycombe territory. The scrum dominance really started to become a factor, with the Crowthorne pack winning several on the opposition put in and in the line out, veteran skipper Tom Stock stole several HW throws, using his giant hands to tap down to Hooker Marc Bullett. Early in the half, Matt Marriott, returning from an ankle niggle, entered the fray to inject some real pace into proceedings. Marriott immediately made breaks with a series of trade mark runs, as he combined well with Shepherd and Coombes. The backs were grateful to see the ball, as hypothermia was beginning to set in. However, the forwards soon got the ball back. Another string of forward set pieces created the space for Clarkson to cross the whitewash and seal his hatrick. This try also moved him to 7 tries for the season, one ahead of Shepherd at the top of the tree!

Chasing the all important bonus point, things started to get a little loose and mistakes began to creep in. With about 10 minutes to go, making yet another break from the base of the scrum, Clarkson fed Roberts to put him clean through with no defenders in his way. However, caught in 2 minds between an Ash splash or a Jason Robinson dot down and ball punch, Josh unfortunately forgot to hang on to the ball and in the process, knocked on, to scoop the Dick of the Day honours! However, nerves were soon eased when that man Clarkson went over yet again, to get his 4th of the day and 8th of the season. Having finally found his kicking boots, Holden slotted a cracking conversion from the touchline, to make it 22-0 to the Crows.

There was still time for more action, as Stock collected a kick off and fed Dyson on the charge, as he made a great burst into the Wycombe half to cap an energetic display. The ball found its way to the wing and the flying American, EJ Lang, in space for probably the first time all game, only to be smashed back to the ground by team mate, Luke Smith, putting in a fine shift on the wing for High Wycombe! In the final play of the match, with High Wycombe in possession, confusion at a ruck saw the ball shoot out the back and Redpath was quickest to it, as he gleefully strode over from the 22 for his 3rd of the season and the 5th Crows try of the day. Converted by Holden, 29 nil final score.

This was a great game for the team to get back into action, after a month without a match. Huge credit must go to High Wycombe, who haven’t played since early November, due to a chronic player shortage, owing to injuries and unavailabilities in the squad. We are extremely grateful that they made the journey to Crowthorne and the game was played in the right spirit. High Wycombe are a thoroughly likeable club and we wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season. The Crows now move on to Marlow away next weekend, before rounding off the month with a home game on the 28th of January against Phoenix. The Phoenix game is also President’s day and EJ Lang’s last game before returning to the States for a few months, so it promises to be a great occasion. Please get down in big numbers to show your appreciation for our President Chippy MacLeod and the flying American, EJ Lang!


Date Time League Season
07/01/2023 2:00 pm Counties 3 Tribute Berks Bucks & Oxon South 2022-2023


The Crows05229Win
High Wycombe II00Loss

The Crows

Position T C P DG

High Wycombe II

Position T C P DG