Falcons fight back falls short by James Wyatt
Close finish to Met Cup semi final
WP 19 - 21 Old Elthamians
It goes without saying that having shipped 50 points with no reply in the previous round against Bromley, OE’s were going to significantly re-jig their team and so it transpired as tier 3 & 2 players were selected back into their starting 15.
OE’s kicked the start off downhill, it's quite deep and goes to the WP 22, each side starts competing and OE’s are pinged for not rolling away. WP kick and take the line out on the WP 10-yard line. WP kick, OE’s return the kick with their own, we return the kick to half way, there is intensity in the middle and OEs get the ball wide, to a rather sizeable young man who scores in the far corner. The conversion is made and applause all round to recognise a great kick. But WP have conceded early doors again without being in the oppositions half. 0-7
WP restart and we go straight into a mini game of kick ball, pen awarded to WP. Dan O’Neill makes touch with a great kick to the OE 10-yard line. Resulting line out and WP get pinged. OE’s get the ball back into the WP 22 and a scrum to WP is awarded. WP are 5 out, the ball back to Sam with the post intervening leads to a rushed kick which skims the packs heads, OE’s pounce and get the ball wide quickly and score again in the far corner, exit strategy training beckons your correspondent muses. To be fair it's a remarkable kick to make the conversion. 0-14.
WP restart, kicking between each other commences again, and WP are awarded a scrum on the OE’s 10-yard line. WP scrum is solid, WP get the ball wide OE’s knock on but it looks deliberate, WP scrum but we knock on. Scrum OE’s on half way line. OE’s get pinged again for not releasing, WP kick deep. WP are near the OE’s line and the call is to go maul, it doesn't work out and in fact we are taken straight into touch. OE’s kick long from their line out, Harry Shotton gathers well, and gets return yards in, WP are awarded a scrum followed by another Pen. WP are not taking Penalty chances. The centre ground is very competitive, another two penalties to WP, OE’s turn the ball over and kick very deep, WP defence gets sucked in, yet again OE’s spin the ball out wide to a rather speedy winger they have who scored in the far corner, which is again converted. 0-21 and the ref blows for halftime. Coaches get to work, so much for OE’s not taking the met cup seriously.
WP restart the second half. We go with a shallow kick and OE’s get the ball wide to their pacy winger who is abruptly taking into touch by Max Sanger. WP go with a three-man line out, all of a sudden, we are so much better, direct forward running, aggression is meted out. Another pen to WP, we are 5 yards out, it's a good line out Mike Tutt gets fed the ball he goes around the back gets his body angle spot on and crashes over for a try, to relieved cries from the WP supporters. This is a good start. Conversion is missed. 5-21.
OE’s restart with a very good kick, ball bounces and is fumbled, scrum OE’s on the WP 22. WP get pinged for offsides, OE’s kick for a line out 5 out from the WP line. The WP defence is resolute, OE’s try to drag us wide but our defence is good and WP are awarded a scrum 5 yards from their line. WP recycle and Mike Tutt kicks past the 22-yard line.
Following the line out WP receive another penalty, OE’s offside again. WP have a line out on the OEs 10-yard line but in the resulting play a scrum is awarded to OE’s who then forward past. The opposition are starting to struggle to get any form of momentum. WP have upped the ante.
OE’s get pinged yet again, for a high tackle following a wrap, there are a few scrums back to back and WP are solid.
Chilli ball! Chilli ball! CHILLI BALL shrieks the smallest member of the opposition coaching team. Now, your devoted correspondent understands that chilli ball is something that would be inflicted upon you should you have ‘forgotten’ to pay your bar bill in some stimulating far flung bar in Thai land. Obviously, having heard about this second or third hand I duly refer you to Mr Brelsford for clarification. Nonetheless OE’s have a small array of signature moves subject to certain pitch positions, and for all the bawling from their sideline I must commend the WP team for stepping up the physical side. OE’s are rattled. OE’s are kicking from deep and WP are awarded another scrum for an OE knock on, whose Captain is having a proper moan at the referee, its unedifying frankly. The scrum holds and quick ball is out from Max to Alfie, who is having a marvellous second half, onto Harvey who inflicts a dose of Harv ball on the opposition and two hands on the ball bashes through two solid attempted tackles for a good score, which is converted 12-21. WP are fighting back. Rocky soundtrack is on.
OE’s restart and they catch their own kick, WP pack go in fighting for the ball, crunching contacts and the referee has to stop the game as OE’s have two down. Our lot look proper up for this. OE’s have a scrum inside their 22 and the WP pack takes it against the head, marvellous stuff! It's a great scrum, Kareem is again making yards, he's not getting isolated as the support is there, and again Kareem goes he’s got more momentum than a freight train and he bludgeons over the try line for a great score, which is converted. 19-21.
OE’s restart is straight out, they are rattled further. WP scrum, “c’mon please” I plead with the big guy upstairs, “please… I promise to believe in you if we score again.” There isn't long enough to go we have a line out from the subsequent play OE’s are awarded a scrum from where the 9 dispatches to ball to touch to whoops of joy and checking of watches… It's full time and OE’s have won.
Final score 19-21
Arghhh! This one stings a bit. Can we start our next match with the same intensity that we started the second halves against OE’s, Beccs & Bromley please? As Clive Woodward, England's World Cup winning coach says, “we never lose, we either win or learn”. Let's learn from this defeat and make it right next time we play them.
Mike T 1
Harvey A 1
Conversions: Dan O. 2 from 3.
Kareem was voted Man of the Match.
3 against WP
15 against OE’s.