OHs beat top of the League Old Cranleighans 15 - 9 - what a result!
By Philip Huckin
Take that Surrey 2s!
Dick of the day here, self-nominated after butchering a try that you can enjoy, with the rest of these highlights on the Facebook page. make sure you follow us the OH at this link https://www.facebook.com/oldhaileyburiansrugbyclub/
For the lads who played on Saturday, I will try and capture the special moment in words. Very excited to see what we get up to this weekend at home.
As many people have said- and I do agree- it was one of the finest OH displays of rugby we have been lucky enough to be a part of in recent years. so well done to all involved in toppling top of the league, it was a huge effort that showed this league has a place in our hearts and wings.
There was something in the air. it was rain and lots of it. As we lined up facing into the wind with the rain pounding towards us- thru the rain we could see the top of the league; Cranleigh with the wind behind them. A sight that inspired the very best from the OH in the most daunting of conditions.
The wind was strong and added 20 m onto their kicks, and reduced our first half tactics to having to run everything out. well almost everything, but more on the Bullets cross-field kick later.
Some last minute call-ups from the 2nd and Matty Southgate coming out of retirement to trot around with the exclamation "well this is fun" as the new splash tops got handed out. (thank you, Wilson, for arranging the new stash!)
The OH started with a fight, something we hope to become a standard we can call upon through these winter months. We worked it around the park well, and the new woody pods allowed us to find space around key areas. Jonny B making light work all day (see highlights link) of the spaces around the fringes and eating up yards putting us on the front foot and earning his share of MOTM award, if not just for his great running, but his accuracy at lineout work in a storm, something his opposite man could only dream of doing in such conditions, but also coming on to close the match out at 10! a valiant effort we can all agree!
The weather limited the OH to playing closer to Cranleigh game plan in the first half, only due to the conditions- something we would have to work to change if we were going to win.
The first try (see highlights) came from a counter attack where Matt Burton made light work and 50 yards in our favor down the right flank. Quick stand-in at scrum-half from Danny P, showing his silky skills, served Will at 10, who changed the angle of attack and chipped to the corner for debut Tim to take it on the full, to beat 2 men and dive in successful in the corner for a contender for try of the season.
Will continued to play like it was a beautiful sunny day, with more time on the ball than their 10- this gave us a key platform to move there pack around. That on top of his continued solid kicks kept us in the game throughout. I must get dick of the day too for making Will kick to the corner instead of taking the 3 points he could have done with his eyes closed.
but as all good teams, we battled on through the conditions- the volume in D could be heard through the wind and fire and the line speed was as good as in training, straight off the training paddock, and making light work their fringes and the confidence to defend phase after phase without losing a yard against their big runners, which was there clear intentions as there game plan. We simply waited for them to make the inevitable mistakes that would occur in this weather and capitalized when we got a shot.
The half time whistle came, and OH were still in it and had the wind in our favour in the 2nd half. however the wind had died down. ah. Thats not ideal. ah well. game on. We had a contest on our hands, we would need to make as few mistakes as possible to keep the ball alive and away from there scrum for us to work our way up the pitch.
Burton and Tetty decided to headbutt each other out on the wings, plus Baker rolled off with a shoulder injury so our forwards heavy bench was unloaded- cue Matty S, Max and Benji in clean kit joining the party and later Jonny B filling Wilsons boots for the last 15.
Henry Davies was everywhere, like his voice in the showers, he found every corner and hit the high notes with a try. Defensively everywhere and took there biggest men down a peg or two throughout the whole match. He was immense. (see highlights)
We stayed patient, working our way up the pitch and taking 3 points at a time, before working again to get another 3 points it left us 7 points ahead, with 5 minutes to go- however, the ref was sure it was only 5 points in the lead, an interesting 5 minutes lay ahead with a lucky dip scoreboard- the game could really be anybody.
the rain and wind started again, the kick off hammered deep into our half. Could the OH hold tight, and remain patient.?
a scrum in their favor, as they twisted (illegally) the ref gave a penalty in their favor, a quick tap from the 9 darts for the line. only to be called back by the ref. They opt for a scrum again. 2 mins left. 5 meters out.
The scrum continues to be a joke, will the 7 joining in as an additional prop- but we held tight. keeping them at bay, the cant drive us back- so they work it left, aiming for the posts. and again for the posts. still, our defense stayed strong. Then bang- the 9 works it back blind and goes himself over the line to drop it as the cover defense knocks him to a rightful DOTD nomination.
the ref calls it, last play scrum to OH, on our own 5 m line- with a wild west in the scrum. all we needed to do was get the ball out of play.
the scrum goes mad, I think someone shouted rape- the ball had been taken out and the game was won. Victory to the hearts and wings. the unbeatable, beaten.
video highlights here: https://www.facebook.com/oldhaileyburiansrugbyclub/videos/vb.473356022694972/1775196862510875/?type=2&theater