OHRFC 45 v 26 Merton
By Philip Huckin
A tough semi, but OHs move onto the final of the Surrey Bowl!
On a dry yet chilly Wednesday evening, the OH boys made their way to the arse end of nowhere in South London to take on a Merton side keen to make up for two league defeats to the mighty OH.
After a long day's work and whatsapping the boys cracked on with woody's warm-up. Kick-off shortly ensued with Merton making a strong start with their big and willing forward carriers attacking the fringes of the breakdown.
Roughly 5 mins in to the game, Merton were pinned back in their 22 by a great kick from Jimbo and strong chase forcing a penalty. A quick tap 10 metres out led to Clarkey putting in Matty Burton for a 5 pointer in the corner. 0-5.
Following the restart, some sloppy OH defending and strong Merton carrying lead them to dotting down under the sticks, 7-5. The basketball type action continued with skip carving through the Merton midfield following a strong attacking scrum, 7-12 with 15 on the clock.
Merton came roaring back with two more quick scores to put OH under pressure and with their tails up, they looked a determined outfit.
With a disappointing first 20 leaving OH two scores behind, the boys showed great character to turn around the second quarter and took a slender 24-21 lead into halftime with Hugo and Bison finishing off a couple of well worked passages of play.
The second half started with OH on the back foot and Merton applying pressure within the OH 22. A huge defensive srummage from OH lead to a big turnover with 'enry Lavies clamping on to win the penalty 5 metres from the OH line.
OH continued to march downfield leading to Clarkey shimmying inside two players to dot down under the sticks, rounding of patient phase play, 21-31. With OH's defensive intensity raised a few notches, Merton's 10 was forced into a loose pass on the halfway line with Matty B scooping up the ball to link with support runners resulting in 'enry Lavies getting on the scoresheet, 21-38.
Despite the deficit, Merton weren't done yet scoring another 5 pointer after a chip over the top and a fortuitous bounce. 26-38.
With the light dwindling and Merton's resilience not fading away, OH showed good maturity to see out the game by pinning Merton back in their own half. The game and contest was then rounded off by a textbook OH catch and drive from 10 metres out with Jeweller latching on for OH's 7th try. 26-45, fulltime.
A really good team effort and most importantly recovery after being behind on the scoreboard with standout performances from MOTM - 'enry lavies, Bison, Clarkey, Hugo, Jimbo and Skip.
A good result and another win sees us take on Old Ruts to retain the Surrey Bowl at Esher on Monday.
Onwards and upwards boys. X.