OHs 33 v 19 The Economicals
By Philip Huckin
What a way to start the League season for our first match in Surrey 2!
1st XV Match Report - Economicals - HOME - 33 - 19 - WIN
After a grand total of 146 days OHRFC convened on a sunny Saturday at midday(ish) at their new London Clubhouse, The Grapes, Wandsworth. The day was immediately a buzz of anticipation of what Surrey 2 had in store for us, would we be competitive? would it be a huge step up? Would be pumping teams by 70 or 80 points like we used to? You could sense the excitement as we made our familiar way down to Ruxley Lane.
After a precise and diligent warm up you could tell everyone was switched on for this one, I do not think a ball was dropped throughout the warm up and even Hugo was not causing the usual havoc. Is this a new serious side to our maverick number 8?
The game started and after approximately 1.67 seconds a shrill blast from the Referee's whistle as Hugo leapt like a salmon to take the kick off, to then be upended whilst still in the air by their wiry blind side flanker. How the chap didn't get 10 minutes to contemplate his approach to the new season straight away I am still unsure. However we ploughed on and exerted immediate pressure on the Economicals who perhaps didn’t expect the ferocity the OH would bring having just been promoted. After a period of play dominated by slick hands and hard carrying from the forwards, OH stormed through on the opposition 22 with top try scorer last season Pete Clarke opening the OH account for the season.
Economicals came thundering back after the frenetic start and battered their way up to the OH 22. After some ill discipline, they won a penalty and kicked for the corner, the resulting 5m lineout was won and their well organised, large pack rumbled over the remaining metres to clinch a push-over try. Conversion missed. 7 - 5 OH.... We have a game on our hands!
After the restart OH didn't deal with it well enough which allowed Economicals to build some pressure through their forward running off 9 and 10 (which turned out the be their only real tactic.) After some huge fringe defence from the likes of JB, Jeweller and Eochy finally a split ball gave us some relief. Working our way back down the field we began to again build pressure and phases, allowing new signing toby berridge to smash through the defence from 30m out to finish under the sticks, promptly followed by a celebration which will go down in the annals of history: A roll, a vomit and a self-induced 'HIA' assessment, because that was surely the cause of the dodgy stomach...
A long phase of both teams battering away and testing each other both upfront and the OHs stretching the Economical defences out wide, ended the final few minutes of the half. Economicals camped on the OH try line smashing away, again, huge commitment from the fringe defence resulted in what can only be described as the most monstrous of hits on their poor little scrum half from Hugo. However an earlier penalty resulted in a quick tap, after a huge defensive shift again from the boys, with sweat and blood spilt in the name of keeping our lead, the ball was eventually held up over the line.
HALF TIME 14 -7
The second half started as frantically as the first with both teams realising it will be an almighty fight to win the game! Economicals won a penalty on the OH 10m line bang in front, if they have an assured boot such as our resident Birthday Boy Bullet the scores would have become closer again, however a skewed kick resulted in the pressure being let off.
Economicals however came back hard! After losing Pete Clarke to injury early in the second half we lost a bit of direction, resulting in a break away Economicals try through and interception pass thrown by chunder monkey himself.
Time to get serious. Under the stick Bison started rallying the troops demanding a higher quality across the board. The boys listened. OH came back HARD. working their way up the pitch. As quick as a flash Tries from Hugo and Potter put OH well on top! Hugo carved their defence up every time he touched the ball and with the OH offloading game finally hitting hands and clicking we were in business. A huge defensive shift from Potter was well rewarded with a try of his own on approximately 65 minutes.
Enter Robert John Petherick for what can only be described as one of the best 15-minute cameo appearances I have had the pleasure of witnessing. Taking the ball on from 1st phase off a scrum (which OH had begun to gain ascendancy after a monstrous battle all day), carving inside his opposite number and pulling out a delightful step we all thought Skip was under the sticks after his first touch back from what could have been a very serious knee problem. Unfortunately, he found himself in a vat of treacle when he got to the 22, with their scrambling winger dragging him down inches before the line. Thankfully the ever dodged, ever keen, ever running JB was on hand to flop out from short range!
With a few minutes to go and a large number of tanks running on fumes, Economicals came back with their big runners looking for a consolation score. A tired OH defence could not cope with the quick ball and clinical hard running, resulting in the their man of the match tight head trotting over from 22 out, after an excellent scrambling effort from debutant Sean.
FULL TIME; 33 - 19 BP Victory!
MOM: Sedi - unreal running and marshalling from the back, coupled with rock solid defence
DOD: toby berridge - for that celebration
The usual quiet evening proceeded after the game, celebrating Will Bullet Taylor's birthday in style! Mini Bison leading the charge in voice and boozing, ending up falling asleep on his train home and ending up in Gillingham.... Welcome to the club Sam....
Onward next week to a hotly anticipated game at Reed Weybridge our familiar foes, who enjoyed a similar start to their season (not this story again!)