Victory in the sun
Bonus point win well deserved
In theory, Croydon started this game as favourites. OGs have recorded just one win all season & that against fellow strugglers, Reigate, who are languishing at the bottom of the table with a huge. negative points difference. But, with several players at Twickenham & others injured, Croydon had just about cobbled together a squad to travel.
As it turned out, 20 minutes of quality rugby in the first half & a 5 minute burst in the second was enough to see them home on a lovely day on a Harlequins Academy pitch at Guildford Sports Complex.
Croydon made terrible start & conceded a series of penalties, which eventually lead to a try after 5 minutes - a touch of deja vu here.
From then on Croydon totally dominated the next quarter & should have put the game out of sight.
Croydon's line out was to function perfectly all afternoon & a kick to the corner & drive by the forwards immediately restored parity.
From the restart, a clean catch & feed inside to Alex Griffiths, saw the No 15 display all his strength & power with a 60 metre surge through the middle, which ended in a touch down at the posts - poor defence by the home side but a brilliant solo try.
The Croydon forwards were now going through their rolling maul skills & when a quick re-cycle was shifted through the backs, Jack Bond burst through the middle before Scrum half Will Curtis got over from close range.
Then came the try of the match. Curtis broke blind from another good set piece on half way. James Griffiths made ground up the right touch & exchanged passes with his younger brother, who eventually crossed behind the posts.
The ever reliable boot of Jack Bond kept the points ticking up & half time arrived with the bonus point in the bag & Croydon in an unassailable 26-5 lead - or so you would have thought.
OGs kicked off the second half & Croydon failed to gather & clear. 2 minutes later Guildfordians were over & their tails were up. Confidence works wonders & they obviously felt they were not out of it. They began to run with more purpose & a second converted try made it a one score game.
Fortunately for Croydon, their set piece held up, particularly the line out which yielded dozens of yards with well organised driving maul, on the back of Yorkie Humphrey's pin point throwing.
Unfortunately, with square pegs in rounds holes & injuries mounting, they were unable to find the fluidity of the first half when the ball was moved wide.
Luckily, the tackling in defence was solid & with 10 minutes left, they at last recovered their mojo. A superb break away down the right flank eventually lead to a ruck 5 metres out. Curtis's pass to Griffiths was immaculate & the full back had the easiest of jobs to complete his hatrick.
a good, bonus point win, with a much changed side. You can't complain at that.