A XV drowning on dry land
The A suffer their first loss of the season at home to Battersea Ironsides
OMW A 5 Battersea Ironsides 25
So far this season Mids have seen more than ninety players attend training or play, so it was very disappointing to only have thirty-three available this weekend. The trickle down effect for the A was to have sixteen players but a sub-optimal alignment between the players’ natural positions and those that make up a typical rugby team. Fortunately it appeared that the weather was going to try and neutralise that problem. Two weeks ago the team adapted well to a firm surface and drizzle that made everything greasy. This time it was not taking any nonsense and poured down in spades. It was the day for the sort of player that is delighted to go to ground in a big puddle, just for a rare opportunity to touch the ball in play – even if only to shove it forwards in error. The capacity crowd of three was reduced when Graham Crouch fled at the end of the first half.
The impact of the rain on the first half was to render the effort put in all fairly ineffective – or so it looked watching from the bar. Mids had the slope and wind but the tone for the half was set at the first scrum. Battersea’s scrum half looked up to double check the backs alignment, whilst he did so his pack nudged forward a metre, and as he grasped for a ball that had moved onwards, he fell over. Technically it could be deemed an illegal dummy, but taking yourself out of play completely neutralises most of the benefits. Mids did get their try about ten minutes in, an individual (too far away to name the individual) break being halted just shy of the line, and someone trundled over a phase or two later. Most of the rest of the half was spent in midfield set pieces, as the ball a) easily slipped out of the hand forward when attempting to pass, b) was easily dropped when a pass was made, c) easily squirmed out of the grip in contact and d) players were easily caught in illegal positions during the confusion that was going on around them. Mids rarely threatened the Battersea line, and the visitors never remotely got close to a score of their own, but Battersea would have been pleased to keep the half time score at 0-5.
Mids had suffered what proved to be a decisive disruption with injury to Max Maynard, so after the shortest half time in rugby history, the defence failed to sustain the standards of the first period and within a minute of the restart the scores were level at 5-5. For the rest of the half Battersea were on the front foot, although after two more scores to give the visitors a 15-5 lead, Mids had a seriously good chance to haul themselves back into the game, but conceded a penalty after having set a ruck right on the line. An injury to an Ironsides front row then meant uncontested scrums for the last fifteen, which did not suit front row surplus for the Mids as well as the opposition, and there was an easing in the rain, which also did not help as everyone knows that only front rows and blind side flankers like playing in heavy rain. This resulted in two more scores (and still no successful kicks) for Battersea. The last one, just before full time, was a disappointing try to concede as having lost a loose ball in the opponent’s half, Mids were extremely slow to adjust and ended up trying, and failing, to defend a six against two overlap.
A disappointing result, but we know the team can be better than this. So folks, let’s be available out there.