Cuffley 7 – 29 Old Millhillians 1st
Mr Nicholas Calder Schild prompt arrival in picking me up, highlighted a change in the winds and attitudes that could be expected in Saturdays game against Cuffley who were poised above us in the table at the start of the day. Needless to say there was the obvious stop for a quick steak bake from the big man to gain the required nutrients to get round the field for 80 minutes.
Now an Old Millhilians game would not be complete without a bit of drama, and sure enough we found ourselves starting the game with a nice complement of 14 players; Oli Leigh providing the mishap, not knowing whether he was still on his night out or meant to be driving himself to the game.
The game began with intensity from OM’s that highlighted an intent to be aggressive and clinical in both attack and defence. From the kick off Gavriel Neuman broke the line, and his unbelievable pace along with the shock of a strong start left him without support. Sustained pressure on Cuffley with important ball carrying from the forwards created an opportunity to get the first points of the game through a penalty in front of the post. With James Davis-Roycroft preferring to attempt to hit a golf ball into a hole this weekend instead of playing for the mighty choccy and whites, Oli Avent did the impossible and slotted 3 points in front of the posts for once, 3-0. From this moment on OM’s dominated the game, through intensity in defence and a strategic game plan of pinning the opposition into their half. OM’s were tested for around 10 minutes on our line, and the boys stood up to the test of a continuous barrage from the opposition. Phenomenal aggression and determination maintained an intense performance in defence, and the intensity boiled over when our own Heavyweight Chris Jewel-Clark decided to try and take centre stage and audition for a spot as Anthony Joshua’s next opponent. On this occasion there was an intake of breathe when Chris’s opponent could well have been John Coffey from ‘The Green Mile’. Luckily only a few punches were thrown but no knockout, and the penalty was given to OM’s to release the pressure.
After this sutained pressure a line break from our own 22 looked to bring a first try of the game, yet it was wasted with a terrible pass from Oli Avent, yet the skill of Gus Ferguson kicked the ball on. from the resulting ruck and Cuffley stretched, gaps appeared in midfield for Oli Avent to run over to make it 10-0 with a conversation. Kicking into the corners with a phenomenal kick chase from Rob Seger, Philippe-Raphael Hadji and Gus ferguson, meant that Cuffley were unable handle the pressure and forced Cuffley to panic and concede a 5 metre scrum. Replenished with a full pack, after Mr Leigh finally made an appearance, the forwards dominated the scrum, and Oli Leigh aiming to make amends picked and powered his way through the winger to score in the corner, 15-0, conversion missed.
The second half started with the same passion displayed in the first half, pinning Cuffley back in their half. From a Cuffley scrum the forwards destroyed the opponents and in turning the ball over in the red zone the forwards provided Sam Askham with the opportunity to twist over from 9 in his only pick and go of the game (James Davis-Roycroft take note) 22-0. From here the Old MillHillians highlighted their ability to not switch off and allow Cuffley to come back into the game which we have been susceptible to in recent games/ seasons. The ferocity of our defence was exceptional, making Cuffley work for every inch on the pitch and forcing them back in tackles. Injuries for the opposition forced us to go to uncontested scrums which was unfortunate having just started to dominate on that front. The game then swung with frantic play from both sides, yet intensity in defence created a breakaway from Sam Askham who with the screaming flamboyant William Wheeler outside him thought otherwise and threw the ball inside to Harry Wheeler who in turn was on the recieving end of a bruising hit, full marks to him for getting up again (just). A few minutes later Harry Wheeler departed the field with what seems to be a partial tear of the shoulder. 14 against 14 now. Ralph Murduck continued his run of trying to not play 80 minutes of rugby by losing a contact lense and running up and down the touch line trying to get the changing rooms open. For 15 minutes OM’s laid their bodies on the line with men strewn across the turf at intervals of the game. Ralph on the receiving end eventually of the weekly yellow for OM’s for consistent team penalties in the red zone. Finally the pressure mounted and Cuffley went over in the corner but not to any of the boys faults or desires to keep them out, 22-7.
It was after this that the highlight of the game came, a moment of genius from the dynamic duo William Wheeler and Gavriel Newman; a loop in the middle of the park, with Will Wheeler acting as the ball playing 10 we all knew he was. Yet Gabriel’s inability to fizz the long pass, saw him instead get the ball from A to B by running across half the field. Om’s did not let the conceded try alter their attitude and with the last play of the game a try from the young Gus Ferguson saw the win and bonus point secured and would probably have brought a wry smile from coach Jason. This try was in fact the perfect way to end the game. A razor called after a break, Chris Jewel-Clark powering his way forward in midfield, quick ball and through the hands to the wing, where Gus with some neat footwork and a small dummy baffled the outside opponents and ran under the posts. 29-7.
The attitude from the team from the get go created a foundation for a positive performance. Every man 1-15 put his body on the line and played with intensity and aggression both in defence and attack that we need week in week out. This is a result that highlighted the ability that Om’s can play with, and a satisfying win is something we can build on now! Get yourself down to training this week to extend this fantastic performance and build on the foundation we have.
There were a number of standout performances; Chris Jewels Clark’s defensive intensity making huge hits and carrying well, Greg made important carries in midfield and broke the line several times, William Wheeler, Nicholas Schild and Harry wheeler for a dominating scrum. Sam Askham for filling in spectacularly at 9 and Gus Ferguson who held his own and capt it with a try.
Yet MOM was given to Oli Avent for controlling the game effectively.
DOD: while Nicholas Schild was given it in the bar for his 10% success rate at lineout, the DOD has to go to Oli Leigh for his late arrival.
Mill Hill this weekend; a double header at the club. these are two games we can win big and we should aim to be clinical.@Nicholas Calder Schild has something up his sleeve for a big social given that both teams are at home, keep your ear close to the ground or something spectacular you won’t want to miss it!