Expectations were high for this local derby – always a tense and unpredictable contest, a good crowd gathered in a crisp, blustery wind as battle commenced.
Both sides used the boot to keep the ball in their opponent’s half, even Warriors hooker Tony Gibson, as the early balance of play favoured the visitors. Warrior flankers Nick Woodley and Olly Gray were much in evidence at the breakdown and helped start a move on the left that saw Jamie Smith score within 5 mins through a startled YM defence.
The hosts came back strongly using their heavy pack to charge up to the Warriors 10m line and unfortunately drawing a number of penalties which turned the attack. Woodbridge re-challenged the YM 22 Jacob Bodkin and JP Hart kicking from hand to pin Ipswich back. Curiously YM possession, and there was a lot of it, didn’t seem to flow. Penalties were conceded, balls were knocked on and rucks were lost. The Warriors capitalised on this Woodley, Gray and Jono Cooke revelling in loose ball and Tim Johnson putting in some useful carries. Eventually the YM forwards got the ball into a central position for their centres, 12 in particular, to gain some ground and winger Carlton Ford was exceptionally difficult for Woodbridge to stop. YM was penalised in an attacking position repeatedly which allowed Hart to clear and attempt a couple of breaks through Christian Hoolihan at right wing. A frustrated YM couldn’t seem to string any phases together against a well-drilled Woodbridge defence that saw all possession as a chance to score. After Ipswich knocked on again Jacob Bodkin ran a great line from a good scrum to score under the posts.
Carton Ford nearly scored from a forward pass during another period of pressure as Ipswich were back in attack but again penalties denied them time to build.
Smelling a win Woodbridge restarted strongly, sustaining an attack in the YM 22 and forcing a dead ball. A helter skelter run by Cooke, Captain Tom Stokes and Dan Taylor ended with a high tackle penalty and another 3 Warrior points. A long pass from Gray found Jamie Smith caught in possession and forced a penalty from which Carlton Ford scored to open the YM account.
The tension increased as both sides realised what might happen, the blustery wind meant that territory kicks often missed touch and triggered counter attacks. YM increased their intensity, Potter and Tui Uru working hard with their second row Ben Hockley and Kieran Rudland to keep some possession and Woodbridge was forced into some hard tackles to stop the rampaging YM backs and conceded penalties in the process. Ipswich put in a sustained challenge in Woodbridge’s 22, passing the ball wide from side to side but the defence held. Once cleared Warrior substitute back Sam Jackson won the ball from loose play and sprinted 40m to score and quieten the home crowd further.
Ipswich YM 7 v Woodbridge Warriors 24