QDG’s opening fixture of the 2013/14 season was against 3 Battalion REME at home. Conditions were slightly wet but favourable considering the rain which had been falling prior to the game.
The first game of the season is always a nervy affair and both teams were hoping to settle into a sound structure and pattern early on. 3 Bn REME certainly achieved this much more effectively than QDG in the opening stages of the game. Some impressive tactical kicking combined with some poor kicking and indiscipline from QDG meant that QDG had very little possession or territory for the first 20 minutes. Accordingly, QDG found themselves 6 – 0 down, however, a glimpse of what was to come was shown when Tpr Isaiah Bobo hacked on a loose ball, gathered and looked to have scored only to be held up over the line. The resulting 5 meter scrum was lost against the head which allowed 3 Bn to clear the only threatening position QDG had managed thus far.
Never far from the action Bobo was then sin binned for a dangerous tackle and with QDG struggling to maintain possession and territory there was the real potential for 3 Bn to capitalise on their man advantage. However, the introduction of an old head in the form of WO2 “Bongo” Davies at 10 allowed the QDG to find a structure that had so far eluded them. A period of sustained possession and territory, with some strong running from no. 8 Tpr Ian Hicks, saw debutant Capt Dan Reed bundle over for QDG’s opening points of the season. This was duly converted and, perhaps unjustly, QDG found themselves 7-6 up. QDG then settled into a pattern of play which saw them take a stranglehold on the game, sound tactical kicking combined with dominance at both scrum and line-outs put 3 Bn REME firmly on the back foot. Tpr Bobo returned from the sin bin to score 2 tries and show glimpses of the form which caught the eye of Army selectors last season.
As the game opened up, QDG were able to exploit gaps in the previously sound 3 Bn REME defence. Strong running from Chunk Davies was complemented by line breaks from Skipper Lt Ryan “Ref” McBride and had he backed his pace might have ended in 3 tries, however he has clearly spent too much time in the gym and not enough time on speed work! Tries were forthcoming with the forwards managing a push over try from a 5 metre scrum, Lt Howard “Tubbs” Paine finishing off a try which was the result of some strong running and good offloading out of contact and another forward storming in from 5 metre line.
The final result of 47-6 was particularly pleasing considering the pressure the QDG were under in the first 20 minutes. Encouragingly there were some impressive individual performances from the likes of Tpr Ian Hicks and LCpl Sam Gould, who were both strong with the ball in hand and ruthless in defence. Most importantly though, the team showed that they can play some good rugby when they maintain structure and discipline. So plenty to work on but overall a great start to the season!