Haringey Rhinos 28-36 Old Millhillians
You remember Rocky? you remember Any Given Sunday? What about moneyball or even cool runnings and dodgeball! Well you may as well add ‘the choccy and whites’ to that list… a list of underdogs who triumph.
I’ve come to learn that this team prefers to play with 13 men then 15, stacked against the odds is where OM’s brings out the prowess and heart to win. Once again they brought this on Saturday. Another last minute team sheet that saw some interesting coach choices: Reece Tanner in at 9 and Ioannis Theodorou back to his preferred position of hooker.
Provided with another Brad Abraham warm up masterclass, the choccy and whites felt ‘suitably’ prepared for the first whistle. Playing with a wind that was as strong as the smell of Nicholas Calder Schild‘s kitbag if provided a platform to gain an advantage in the first half.
OM’s started strongly, shifting straight into tactical mode and using the wind to their advantage, putting the opposition under pressure with a strong kick chase. This subsequently led to recovery of the ball and through patterned attacking play Brad Abrahams cut through the defence and dotted down to give OM’s the early lead, converted 7-0. From here the choccy and whites pushed on using the wind to their advantage, pinning the opposition back into their half. Using their balance of heavy forwards to hit lines with Ralph Murduck punching through. Hands to the wide channels saw Jim Zouchcross over in the corner which was converted from out wide with a tricky kick (james Roycroft who…..?) 14-0.
Old Millhillians continued to play intelligent rugby, yet had to withstand a barrage of attacks from the opposition. Important defensive work led unfortunately to a bang to the head for Adam Boxer which saw him walk off looking as if he’d gone 12 rounds with mike Tyson and while deemed fit to come back on the ref decided we didn’t need him. Alas, this numerical differences didn’t deter the boys, and a quick tap penalty from Oli Avent was held short before Ralph Murduck followed it up and went over for the score, a collectors item if you will. Conversion missed (come back james) 19-0.
Continued pressure from the team saw another quick tap lead to Greg Walshmaking his mark on the scoreboard, ploughing over with the trademark power. Converted, 26-0. Bonus point in the bag, we felt we could lose one more with Ioannis Theodorou having to leave the field due to a knock to the head.
Ill discipline saw OM’s pushed back into their half and Haringey grew into the game. Ralph decided it was time for his weekly yellow card, a team one at that but it had to be Ralph. With Haringey playing hard against the wind and against a depleted OM’s team, they attempted to run from deep, unfortunately throwing the ball loose into the loving hands of the teams panda Joe Wray to run it in from 25 metres out.
Half time 0-31
The second half brought a change of circumstances for the choccy and whites playing against the wind and fatigue beginning to set in. Restored to the mighty 13, OM’s had to withstand more phases from Haringey. Rejuvenated from half time they struck early with a brilliant line from their 12 scoring under the posts, converted 7-31. Yet the OM’s reacted strongly, pushing forward and sending George Fenton down the right hand side to cross over and return the advantage. Missed conversion 7-36.
Constant pressure from Haringey resulted in a handful of tries. Making use of their numerical advantage to revive a comeback. With their kicker adding extra points like no tomorrow it brought the score line back to 28-36 with 7 minutes remaining. A call to dig deep and the winning feeling that would resonate after the whistle drove OM’s to attempt to play out the last minutes smartly, using forward strength to work phases. However, a turnover threatened to provide the upset, yet strong defensive work granted OM’s a penalty in their 22 to win the game
Final score Haringey Rhinos 28 – 36 Old Millhillians.
A fantastic performance from all the boys, who really showed the great character of this club in the face of adversity. A special mention goes to Sebastian Kosmin for stepping up and In addition a shout out to Luke Mathers who made his choccy and white debut and had a blinder.
This weekend turns towards Old Isleworthians for the 1’s and Mill Hill for the 2’s. A social afterwards which we hope you all get involved in. Be nice to celebrate with a win and have some beers.
See you there