Rams IV Vs Crows



The Crows travelled to Rams’ impressive Old Bath Road ground on a sunny February day, with a strong squad in determined mood. A win would put Crowthorne in a realistic position to chase the league title.

The Crows had 5 changes in the pack, 2 positional, with Osborne back in his familiar loose head position, Bullett back into hooker, Mollett at tight head, Clarkson shifting to openside and George Watson back in at number 8. There were also 2 changes in the backline, with Smith in for the departed Lang and Coombes starting at 12. The Rams ranks were bolstered by the cancellation of their 3rd team home fixture, which incidentally also happened when they hosted fellow title contenders Bracknell, themselves somewhat familiar with this practice. Quite frustrating but ultimately, it’s not Rams’ fault that their 3’s opposition bailed and at the end of the day, lads got to play some rugby on a Saturday, when otherwise they’d have been at a loose end.

Onto the match.. Rams started the brighter of the 2 sides, moving the ball with real pace and clearing rucks rapidly. Their efforts were rewarded with an early try for their sizeable number 8, who’d made strong yards with a number of pick and go’s. At 7 nil down, the Crows began to regain a bit of control and started to make forays into the Rams half. Watson and Dowd both taking opportunities to pick and go right through the middle of the Rams ruck, as they failed to defend the breakdown. The early exchanges in the set piece showed that Crowthorne had dominance at both scrum and lineout. Knocking the Rams scrum back and at lineout time, Stock used his height well to disrupt Rams’ attempts to win any clean ball. Eventually, it was a lineout that led to the first Crows score. Osborne’s throw perfectly picking out Dowd, who fed Clarkson, who managed to beat 5 defenders and roar across the line from 20 metres out for his 12th try of the season! Converted by Coombes, it was now 7-7. The Crows dominated the remainder of the half and were unfortunate that a shot at goal went just wide. The 1st half ended in bizarre fashion, with loosehead prop, Osborne, momentarily forgetting he wasn’t a fly half, calling for scrum half Roberts to pass him the ball from the base of the ruck, with the intention of kicking the ball dead to bring about half time. However.. his kicking skills let him down, the ball bounced off a Rams player’s head and then a bemused Booth, now standing in an offside position, volleyed the ball into touch. Penalty Rams. Luckily the Crows managed to hold out and halftime was safely reached with the scores all square.

Crowthorne started the 2nd half with real energy. Shepherd making a searing break and being caught just short of the Rams line. Rams in desperation, conceded a penalty and Stock opted for the corner. From the resultant line out, the drive brought Crowthorne within 2 metres of a score before Osborne broke off and fed Shepherd, who finished superbly in the corner. 7-12 to Crowthorne! At this stage of proceedings, Rams rang the changes, adding some pacy outside backs and a fly half with a strong kicking game. The new Rams 10 began to have a big influence on the match, with a number of testing kicks into the Crows 22, coming close on a few occasions to a 50/22. Crowthorne defended manfully and continued to clear their lines but the onslaught from the rapid Rams back 3 kept coming. Finally the Crowthorne line was breached and a conversion added, to give Rams a narrow lead at 14-12. As the game entered the final 10 minutes, a surging run from the powerful Rams left wing, was brought to an abrupt end with a strong tackle from Stock. The ref however, saw things differently and appeared to have jumped ahead a few months to waist high tackling and deemed the sternum height tackle to be a yellow card offence! Down to 14 for the closing stages, Crowthorne showed what they are all about and rallied, to once again advance deep into Rams territory, following some great set piece work and strong running from Joyce, on at outside centre. Ultimately the Crows kicked a penalty into the corner for a line out. A powerful catch and drive, gave Shepherd, now at scrum half, the opportunity to make one last dive for the line, somehow evading 4 massive Rams forwards to cross the white wash and level the scores! Now at 17-17, the referee decided there was time for one final play. Heartbreakingly for Crowthorne, the Rams were able to regain their kick off and despite a dropped pass and knock on, which was sadly missed, managed to work the ball to the winger to cross for the winning score.

A disappointing ending but ultimately a draw would not have been enough for Crowthorne and would most likely have awarded the league to Bracknell. On reflection, Rams are clearly the strongest opposition we have faced, so if it can’t be us, then they are the most deserving of the contenders. 

The Crows can be very proud of their efforts and have come a long way since last season, when we were struggling to field a full 15 and never had the same team from one game to the next. We now look to the final 3 games (2 league games + 1 friendly), all at home and aim to finish the season on a high. On that note, we go again this Saturday (18th Feb) at home to Reading Abbey. All support appreciated as always! #COYC


Date Time League Season
11/02/2023 2:00 pm Counties 3 Tribute Berks Bucks & Oxon South 2022-2023


Rams IV13324Win
The Crows03117Loss

Rams IV

Position T C P DG

The Crows

Position T C P DG