Old Emanuel 33 v 0 Old Tiffinian
Tiffs struggle at league leaders
On Saturday Old Tiffs travelled the short distance down the A3 in high spirits after a much improved performance at home against Warlingham the week before. The travelling team arrived as the Old Emmanuel VP’s dinner drew to a close and honorary legend of OE, Brian Cassidy, dropped by the OTs changing room to state that (i) he wanted OTs to edge a high scoring game and (ii) he wasn’t a fan of his fluorescent yellow and blue blazer – neither of which was said very convincingly.
For various reasons, the start of the season had seen a high turnover in personnel for Old Tiffs. However, the players started to look like they were gelling; preparations were slick and confidence was high in the lead up to KO. The suitably well hydrated VPs took up their positions on the side lines in anticipation of a hard-fought encounter. JW Jang collected the kick-off and OTs looked strong in the opening minutes of the game. Strong carries from Kiran and Carvill allowed OTs to clear their lines. OTs looked organised in defence and there were early signs that this was going to be a competitive game. Although OTs defensive issues seemed to be much improved, the other early season thorn in OTs’ side materialised early on. A defensive infringement allowed the OEs fly-half the opportunity to take first blood, the kick was slotted comfortably from distance and it was clear that any further ill-discipline in their own twenty-two would cost OTs. 3-0.
OEs were clearly more accustomed to playing on a wider pitch and as the game opened up through a series of line breaks and chips Emanuel looked to capitalise as OTs struggled to adjust. Unfortunately for OTs, fly-half GT pulled a hamstring early in the first half. A quick reshuffle saw Sharpie step in at 10 and go about conducting a lengthy period of pressure in OE’s half. Koo, Mackee and JW tried their hardest to break what was a very organised OE defensive line. Regrettably, OTs sustained patience went unrewarded and the scoreboard remained unchanged.
The set-piece had been evenly matched early on, but an OE line that had clearly played together for considerable amount of time pressured OTs ball. With OTs on the back foot the OE back three made further in-roads through the OTs defence. OE manage to do what OTs couldn’t and came away with a try after some sustained pressure on the OT line. 8-0. Further well worked moves from the OEs backline saw them go over again not long afterward. 15-0. Had it not been for an excellent defensive effort from Josh “Champ” Graham and Ed “Back from the Dead” Leung, the gap at half-time could have easily been much more considerable. HT 15-0.
At half-time the message was clear – win your own ball and keep plugging away. The second half started in similar fashion to the first, OTs continual pressure in OEs red zone seemingly making limited ground. McCue tried to improvise and on several occasions his acceleration got OTs moving forwards. However, this exposed the OTs pack’s sub-par fitness and poor body positions at the breakdown were punished. With this in mind, the OE pack began to dominate the tired OTs legs at the scrum. This provided the OE backline with acres of space and they were able to fully utilise. 22-0.
Within minutes of Koo being forced off the field due to injury, an OE maul fell onto Alex Turner who looked in considerable pain (now recovering, last seen: smiling, thumbs up and in a flattering A&E dressing gown). As is the procedure with neck injuries , he could not be moved and the game had to be continued on another pitch. With two front rowers forced off in as many minutes, the scrum went uncontested and OEs again took full advantage. Strong defensive showings from the ever reliable Mackee and Cass off the bench set the standard for others. However, a spirited final effort from OTs (the ref had clearly been tardy in stopping the clock for injuries, supporters reporting the second half as 55 mins played) could not stem OE who were now in full flow. OE’s confidence was such that they opted not to kick conversions in search of a try bonus point, which was deservedly taken.
Final score – Old Emanuel 33 v 0 Old Tiffinians
Match Report by Kumara Mallikaaratchi