LONGLEVENS coach Richard Rudge was pleased with how well his players battled back in one of their toughest games of the season to secure a place in the Junior Vase final.
Rudge said Battersea Ironsides were threatening to end their hopes of reaching Twickenham until his side turned their fortunes around after the break.
“They scored first and we came back, but we were 19-13 down at one stage,” said Rudge.
“I wouldn’t say we weren’t playing very well, but I think our emotions were quite high and we didn’t really look like we were in the game. We were struggling, to be honest.
“But we made a couple of changes and we had a good half-time talk and really as soon as we got into our stride and got a bit of ball and managed to release our backs, we got back into the game.
“I thought they would be quite forward-orientated and they were very good at the set-piece, but they also had good centres which we struggled with in the first half.
“They were a lot tougher and harder than I thought – they were well up for it – and it was probably one of the hardest games we’ve played this year.
“We were going to play a bit of Gloucester ‘dog’, but we tried it and they didn’t back down. It was a very tough game for us.
“Everyone got stuck in, but the man of the match was full-back Tom Evans.
“They made some kicks into our 22 and he managed to run them through and they couldn’t cope with him really when he got the ball out in space.
“Harry Yorke, the winger, he stood out as well and replacement Gavin Stokes, who came on in the second half, really took the game to them as well. The crowd were amazing really. We took four coaches down there, which was brilliant, and we’re looking to take more to the final.”
After getting together yesterday to mark their achievement, the Longlevens players will support their three sides in county junior cup finals at Hartpury College on Sunday – the Under-13s, Under-16s and Under-17s.
Rudge added: “It’s wonderful, brilliant and everyone’s over the moon, about reaching Twickenham.
“It was a really good day on Saturday and it’s going to be a cracking day in the final.”