Old Mid-Whitgiftian 20 - Law Society 25
Both sides started at a furious pace with commitment to entertainment and running rugby.
Law Society, with a strong wind at their backs were more composed and Mids, though initiating some promising moves were prone to handling errors, often forced by the pressure exerted by the visitors’ line speed.
Law Society opened the scoring after 8 minutes when centre Robin Eager slotted a penalty after Mids were offside. Mids were under the cosh again 3 minutes later when, despite a fine tackle by full back Harry Wilson, Law spread the ball left for winger Logan Piercey to score.
Mids came more into the game and their scrum was now getting on top. However, the line out, a strong part of their play this season up to now, was not functioning and, over the course of the afternoon, the visitors took all their own ball and a large part of Mids’ throw –ins. After 18 minutes only a fine turnover by No.8 Tom Townsend on his own line prevented another Law score. The visitors did increase their lead to 13-0 after 29 minutes when two missed early Mids’ tackles allowed them to generate pace and put Eager in for another try.
Eventually Mids managed to tidy up their passing and after a fine run by Wilson they sustained the pressure and forced Law to concede a penalty which fly half Dan Crouch struck sweetly into the breeze to make it 13-3 to the visitors at half time.
From the kick-off Mids stormed into the attack and forced two scrums in their opponents’ 22.
They seemed certain to score, so dominant were they in the scrum, but they failed to control the ball and Law escaped. In the next wave of attack centre Andy Dean, who had a solid game in defence and attack, was just forced into touch in the corner while playing advantage. Crouch kicked the penalty to narrow the gap to 13-6. Three points seemed little recompense for this sustained period of home domination but Mids felt that the wind and their powerful scrum promised more as the half progressed. Alas, it was not to be. Mids made a mess of the restart allowing Piercey to pick up the loose ball and dive over for a gift score. Eager converted and the gap was 20-6.
Now, with a greater mountain to climb than they had anticipated, Mids set about their task. Three points from a penalty in front of the posts were declined in favour of a scrum and this paid dividends. A strong drive forward gave Townsend a platform and he patiently waited for his support to come and drive him over. Crouch’s conversion narrowed the gap to 20-13.
Mids kept up the pressure and had several opportunities in the visitors’ 22 but poor line out work and some fine clearing kicks for Law full back Tom Jones denied them.
Eventually Mids won a penalty 5 metres out and opted for a great scrum position. However, this too went awry when a punch was thrown, the penalty was reversed and Townsend was sent to the bin.
Mids now grew frantic and some loose kicking gave good possession to Law who mauled well and put lock Andrew Ball in for another try and a bonus point.
Mids kept trying and with 5 minutes left got within one score when Rob Farmer, who had come into the pack from the wing, blocked down a clearing kick and pounced to touch down the loose ball. Crouch’s excellent kick form the touchline set up a grandstand finish but Law Society, the more cohesive and organised side on the day, survived to relieve their relegation worries and claim the points.