OH 32 v 12 Old Cranleighans
By Philip Huckin
Twice beaten by OCs last season, this was our time for revenge!
A pumped-up Old Haileyburians 2nd XV travelled to Thames Ditton for a highly-anticipated opening tie with Old Cranleighians.
Having been edged out by them twice last season, the OH were keen to make amends and start 2017/18 on a high note.
Some choice words and a well-structured warm-up from the skip had the boys in the right frame of mind and from the opening it was clear that the OH were in for a great day.
A terrific passage of play and drive forward off a rolling from the lineout at the 5-yard line gave the backs the platform they needed to slice over for the opening try - our centre partnership of Alex and Kieran finished it off, can't remember which one dotted it but both got a meat pie in the first half, so well done chaps!
Some classy work from the forwards, in particular, new Irish recruit Miles Milner, the 'Wild Dutchman' David Korthals, and our new 7 Harry Jones ensured we kept the momentum up. Some great crash ball work too from experienced heads in Piesy and Phil ensured the boys kept going forward and gave the backs plenty of space to do their thing.
The Wild Dutchman then finished off a terrific drive to grab his first of two meat pies, and then it was the backs turn with Alex or Kieran - as the skip was lying at the bottom of a ruck catching his breath, I wasn't sure which got the third bit of meat, but I'm told it was a classy finish.
Old Cranleighians then finished off a nice play to pull one back before The Wild Dutchman bagged his second from a close-range drive to the line.
Piesy should have scored his first having run the ball over the try line impressively from 15m out, but had a brain fade and forgot you actually need to place a bit of rubber on a blade of grass. That allowed one of their smallest players time to sneak underneath Piesy and prevent him from getting ball down.
Four tries to one lead at half-time, some more choice words from the skip, Rory, and Bob had the boys ready for another big half of rugger.
However, Old Cranleighians definitely got their act together and to their credit played a great forwards game in the second half. They pinched one try back off a strong drive from their forwards and it wasn't until late in the game, the OH got over the line with Connor getting the ball down in the corner. Which, to all our surprise, was kicked off the ground without a tee from Alex straight through the posts to make it 33-12.
DOTD performance was quite an impressive feat, with our Belgian prop Alex turning around and allowing their opposition 8 to run into his back. Technically should have been a yellow for use of no hands, but it gave us all a good laugh.
Some great efforts off the bench with Hayden, Ben L, Rory and Jordan stepping up and putting in really strong shifts, and amazing returns to the OH from old favourites Big Des and Bertie, who both put up big performances in week 1.
MOM was an easy one with two tries and almost a million tackles, well done to the Wild Dutchman for a terrific league debut.
Hearts and wings,