By Oliver Hale
Triumphant 5-29 over Saracens 3rd's
The Mighty 2xv yesterday was, with the unexpected inclusion of Mr T:
1 Ben Price
2 Will Hale
3 Greg Turner
4 Ollie Maund
5 Sean Wakeham
7 Nick Gleed
8 Cavey (capt)
9 Luke Campioni
10 Jack Mason
11 Mooey Cahill
12 Sam Sherlock
13 Ben Hudson
14 Ben Noel
15 Marino Oliveri
16 Oscar Wong
What a week it had been with so many unavailables and few people able to properly commit, so when Greggles contacted me Saturday morning and said “is there a game on ? Ive been working in Hinckley Point and there’s been no reception “ I was ecstatic ! Oisin had an important game for the Crusaders Sunday so had come along as a favour, with “use as last resort” impressed upon me, by him.
The day was a muddy, wet, bruise of a day as we arrived at Sarries, but it was good to see some friendly faces in Fordy, Pedro, Tom & Grace and Martin Kelly, there to support Sarries 1xv playing on adjacent pitch.
The first 20 mins were a battle of wills, as both sides savaged each other for supremacy.
Then our resilience paid off as from a line out we called the siege weapon !
With Price, Hale and Turner leading the pack, and a strong engine with the pistons of Wakeham and Maund at second row we were strong but then Crowlerz and Gleed were summoned in by Capt Courageous Cavey. With the ball passed securely to Will Hale, at the back of the maul, Mooey came speeding in and we accelerated over their line for our first try ! So 0-5 to the good.
Luke Campioni had been a star inviting two players, Noel and Wong, over from Cardiff, with Noel having not played before and Wong being a damned good league player.
But Lukey was brilliant at scrum half digging away at the oppo 9’s confidence and getting penalised for his sledging at line out, so well done Lukey !!
We were now dominating Sarries but against the run of play we fumbled a cross pitch kick from them and they scored, a well deserved try.
5-5 and all’s fair.
Mooey had had a great 30 mins but I wanted to see how Oscar Wong would get on so put him on with 10 mins to go first half.
Oscar got straight in and showed his strength with some great tackling and a lively step.
But that try sparked our ignition again and Greg, the Hummer, Turner had been hot wired into action and with one of his magnificent runs Rhinoed through Sarries defence to score a singular try at 40 mins passed. So we are 5-10 to the good and with another five mins played the half was over.
Second half starts and Ollie Maund and Nick Gleed are putting in some exceptional runs up central channel. Our X & Y moves are going well and Cavey’s impressed upon players at half time the need to communicate again.
Also, at half time I had asked that we get the ball out wide, as Sarries were clearly tiring and so our youth and fitness in backs should now be used to our advantage. Ben Noel has been holding his own on right wing and Pricey had been tutoring him whilst playing in terms of where to be and what to do. Pricey said post game that Noel had been enthusiastic, strong and fast.
10 mins in to second half our backs produced some beautifully fluid play, but with Hudson ghosting through the central channel, sending the Sarries defence down blind alleys with his serpentine runs, it was his time to strike, and so he did with a marvellous centre of field try, which he nimbly converted.
So we are 5-17 to the good.
Crowlerz has been an unsung hero of this game, as his ability to plug defensive holes and dig away for the ball were an omnipresent threat to any momentum that Sarries tried to muster.
The next 20 mins were a defensive tussle and I can’t deny that our defence WAS tested, but not stretched.
Marino is such an effective fullback, with a good kicking range and missile like defending. He is also an excellent collector of the ball with an effusive burst of speed that sees him carry forward warily and intelligently.
Our central partnership of Sherlock & Mason, there’s gotta be a Victorian detective drama in that name, were probing, strong and determined. Sam is again a strong runner and has a great offload, and Jack is a resolute defender and distributor. Together they were a fortress in the central channels !
30 mins in and our pack is again vying for opportunity. As we went forward in phases you could feel momentum building until Sean Wakeham rounded from the back of the advancing maul/open play and scored a glorious try !
So we are 5-22 to the good and looking for the harbour of the final whistle.
Then a sharp unintentional elbow to Ollie Maund’s eye and Mooey is back on at second row.
The game swamps on, but the damp conditions do not tire either side.
Oscar has been trying to get around the Sarries defence and his sniping moves have proved a continuous annoyance to them. Meanwhile on the opposite wing Ben Noel receives the ball beautifully and makes an heroic run on his wing literally swatting away three Sarries defenders who have all tried to bring down this machine of a man.
But he offloads to Price who passed through players to end up with The Hummer who bulldozes over for last score of the game. Lukey converts and we end our game 5-29 to the good.
Many thanks to all my players who turned, what looked like would be a bare 14 at one stage to a well rounded 17. Thanks especially to Luke Campioni for bringing Ben and Oscar, for Ben Hudson making himself available by denying a trip to Dorset, to Oisin for being on the bench (good luck today) and to the supporters who came along.
A big thank you to Saracens who played a well spirited game and to my captain and vice captain for helping me organise kit etc.
Best regards Kev McGarry.