It was a massive day for Eastwood celebrating a milestone in the club's history and there was a massive crowd on hand to witness a very fast paced, skillful and competitive match with Eastwood playing to keep their season alive and Easts looking to take down a big scalp.
The Woods began well and were first to score early when sustained attack caught our defences a little skinny on the right edge. A further penalty took the score to 0-8 before the Beasties replied with two wonderful tries to Fergus Lee Warner and Rowan Perry after great lead up work from all fifteen players and we were in front. Eastwood hit back though with a try under the sticks after we were guilty of not catching the kick off cleanly before Ned Yeomans crossed from a wonderful set piece from the back line and the Beasties were back in front at 21-15 after a penalty to the Woods. We were again guilty of not exiting from the kick off and handed Eastwood a penalty on our end with the home team scoring 3 phases after a line out to take back the lead 21-22. Further penalties to both sides saw a 24-25 scoreline with minutes to go in the half, with the try colours missing a further conversion attempt only to see Eastwood awarded a penalty after the half time hooter and the resulting conversion took the score to 24-28 in favour of Eastwood after a first half that has the local crowd thoroughly entertained.
We started well in the second half with Will Maddocks slicing through after the backs went wide from inside our 22m and looked set to put Tom Merritt on a direct path to the try line but a slightly ill directed pass hit the deck and not only did Eastwood pick it up, they kicked ahead and won the foot race to score one against the run of play and lead 24-35. Madds made amends though shortly after receiving an inside ball from Archie King to storm through the Eastwood defences untouched and run 45m to the try line and it was well and truly game on at 31-35 with the home team hanging on. Then, just as we were thinking the next team to score will win this, as had been the case in the first half, we did not get the catch from the kick off and the loose ball bounced perfectly into the Eastwood #9s hands to see hime score and undo all the hard work with an easy seven pointer that took the score to 31-42 Eastwood which was the score at full time.
A determined performance from a Beasties side that has gone as close in virtually every other game we have lost this season to top six teams and yet, went into this match out of finals contention and playing for pride, each other and the jersey. We are left to wonder what difference a home ground advantage would have made in so many of these matches this season, let alone a training ground.