RAMS head coach Seb Reynolds was delighted as his side bounced back to winning ways with a convincing 36-8 National One victory at home to Hull Ionians.

Having slipped to a first defeat of the season at table-topping Richmond the week before, the home side ran in six tries on a wet afternoon in which their pack were once again outstanding.

And Reynolds said: “It was a pleasing performance because there are no easy games at National One level, and we’ve had an extremely good start to the season.

“But this was an extremely important match against a Hull side who have been getting better and better each week.

“We knew they would come here and stick at it for 80 minutes, and they did that, but we put in a good performance to get the bonus-point.

He continued: “The forwards were able to dominate in wet conditions and we were able to get on the front foot. It’s quite funny to hear it would have been a ‘shock result’ as we’re only six games into our National One experience, but the expectation was different today and we were expected to get a win against a side which has been improving each week. For our players to deal with that, they did very well.

“The pack got us on the front foot superbly, James Baker in the scrum along with Niall (Kidd) and Ben Henderson were excellent in the front row, Jamie Guttridge in the second row was fantastic and they really did a great job.”

Rams took an 11th-minute lead when Tom Vooght broke the defensive line before a series of intricate off-loads culminated with Andrew Denham going over in the left-hand corner. Alex Seers landed a superb touchline conversion, only for Hull to hit back when Adam Brown crashed over from a powerful rolling maul.

Rams replied in kind, however, hooker Henderson the beneficiary, but Hull cut the gap to four points with a Max Titchener penalty.

After Seers was forced off with an injury, a magnificent claim of a high ball and scintillating break from man-of-the-match Henry Bird resulted in Jak Rossiter crossing for Rams’ third try as the hosts went into the break 17-8 in front.

And Reynolds believes his side’s ability to cope with the departure of the influential Seers – which saw Andrew Humberstone switch to fly-half, Ellis Jones to inside centre and replacement Connor Corrigan come on at 13 – was a sign of their strength.

He commented: “It showed the class and maturity of our side because we didn’t have a direct replacement to stick in at 10.

“Losing Alex for any side would be a big loss because he’s had an exceptional start to the season, but Drew, who would describe himself as a ‘north-to-south inside centre’, found himself channelling his brother’s (Tom’s) skills and he did a really good job.

“Connor’s great, he says ‘put me anywhere and I’ll give it a good job’ and he looked really good there. He had really good acceleration and made some really great line breaks.”

Rams dominated the early stages of the second period and the visitors lost Luke Makin to the sin-bin in the 51st minute as Hull illegally stopped another rolling maul, with Rams taking advantage by being awarded a penalty try from the resultant scrum to seal their bonus-point.

The home side continued to boss possession and territory for the final quarter, and added to their try tally as Kidd and second row Ollie Taylor barged over, Humberstone converting the first effort against his former club in a fine performance.

Having restored Henderson, Baker, Jones and Rossiter to the starting line-up for the Hull victory, Reynolds also admitted Rams will continue to rotate their resources as the season continues.

He revealed: “We’re very mindful of the fact the English rugby season is probably too long, so for our guys to sustain 30 games at National One is a tough task.

“We have to keep promoting new guys into the side, we put some youngsters in last week and they did a great job, and we’ll continue to do that because we’ve got a good depth to our squad. We’ve got young guys pushing these guys for the shirt and that’s the way it should be.”

Reflecting on Bird’s outstanding display, he added: “The Birdman is going great guns for us and I’m amazed he’s not got a chance to play a higher level earlier on in his career.

“I think the game could learn a lot from that, as he’s a 29-year-old who should have played at a lot higher level when he was younger, but we’re glad we could offer him an opportunity now and he’s been absolutely brilliant for us.

"He hardly misses a training session, his attitude’s first class and he’s been a great addition to our squad.

“We had a chat with him about whether he’s like to try full-back at the start of the season and he said he’d give it a go in his very relaxed manner, and he’s not looked back since.”

Back up to third in the table, Rams travel to a Blackheath side who have won three and lost three of their opening six games, and Reynolds is relishing another game against one of England’s most historic clubs.

He said: “Blackheath are a very good side, they’ve got a good pack and play on the front foot well, they’ve got a very good off-loading game and have skilful players, so we’ll go there and give it a good go, but we’re under no illusions it’s going to be tough.”

And reflecting on a start to the season most likely beyond even the most die-hard Rams’ supporter could have expected, the head coach revealed their ability to adapt to new challenges will continue to be tested.

He concluded: “The first element you need to understand is what things you need to succeed at this level. We’ve focussed on trying to be fit, getting our defence right, and then we can let our attack

flourish as we develop.

“After 10 games we’ll have a review of where we’re at and what we need to do to achieve, but really simply, the goal for this year is to try and stay up, but we’re really enjoying the challenge.”


Rams 36 Hull Ionians 8


Tries: Denham 11, Henderson 23, Rossiter 37, Penalty 53, Kidd 61, Taylor 77.

Conversions: Seers 12, Humberstone 62.

Hull Ionians

Try: Brown 18.

Penalty: Titchener 27.

Yellow Cards: Makin 51.

Half Time: 17-8

Star Man: Henry Bird (Rams)

Attendance: 526

Referee: Dan Parrott

Rams: Bird, Rossiter, Jones, Humberstone, Denham, Seers (Corrigan 32), Moates (Cole 69); Kidd, Henderson (Moffitt 69), Baker (Steadman 62), Taylor, Guttridge, Collis, Vooght, Stapley (Wolf 62).

Hull Ionians: Magee, Waqadau, Colbourne, Thundercliffe, Ogunwole, Titchener, Green (Fummo 65); Laverick (Carlile 62), Brown (Stephenson 41, Brown 48, Stephenson 51), Bell (Peace 58), Makin, Peters, Mewburn, Choudhury (Brown 62), Torkington (Whyte 48).