Old Tiffinians 37 v 26 New Milton and District
Old Tiffs blow away New Milton and District in windy encounter at Grists
Summer Avenue hosted returning Hampshire side New Milton and District on Saturday 21st October 2017, with fans of the Surrey hosts hopeful that the boys in purple and white would avenge the defeat suffered when the sides last met two seasons ago.
With a strong wind blowing through Hampton Court, Tiffs kicked off with the heavy breeze behind them looking to take advantage of Mother Nature's flatulence and immediately apply pressure onto the visitors.
Louie Mackee rose highest from kick off which ensured the Hampshire forwards were unable to collect clean ball. This disruption resulted in Tiffs gaining early possession and brought into play their big ball carriers. Returning Tim “Two Towel” Fawcett, Tom Carvill and debutant Sam Bardwell all brought strong carries into the New Milton midfield, ensuring the Tiffs backs had front foot ball to play from. The early pressure took its toll on the South Coast side and a penalty was soon conceded. With confidence high the ball was kicked into the corner and after a successful lineout maul 15m out, Captain Jae did what he does best and dotted down the opening score. Will Sharp converted; 7-0 to Tiffs.
Despite the game being in it's infancy, It was clear that the men in Purple and Navy were in the driving seat. Powerful midfield carries from Josh Graham and Tom Anthony resulted in a number of infringements from the away side. Once again, Tiffs would kick for the corner, where this time, Tim 'Tourcett' crossed the whitewash. Unconverted, 12-0 to Tiffs
The third try of the afternoon followed shortly afterwards, following a mix up at a New Milton line out 30m from their own line. Miscommunication between the jumper and hooker led to an over throw which was gratefully gathered by Louie Mackee at the back of the line. Despite being gifted the ball on a plate, Mackee was still some distance from the try line however and showed great drive and light feet to evade 4 opposition defenders before diving over the try line. Conversion missed, 17-0.
The bonus point try would follow shortly afterwards when a huge hanging up and under was misjudged by the visiting full back, allowing Will Sharp to collect and scamper under the posts. Although he was unable to convert his own score, Tiffs led 22 v 0.
Sometimes an early lead can be a dangerous lead and so it proved for Tiffs. With plenty of chat on the pitch about not taking feet off pedals, it seemed that many players had mentally turned off and assumed the game had been won. New Milton and District thought otherwise and struck back to keep within touching distance at half time: 22 v 7.
Knowing that Milton would come out strongly in the second half, and with the benefit of the wind, Tiffs knew that they had to kill the game off with an early score.
From an early NM line out Kumara successfully disrupted the ball, allowing Taylor to move the ball quickly wide. A few phases later, debutant Sam Bardwell crashed over for his debut try. This time the conversion was scored: 29-7.
With 1 second half try came a second and shortly afterwards Fawcett crashed over for his second score of the match to leave the hosts in a seemingly unassailable 34 v 7 lead.
Few things in life are certain however and New Milton showed great character and desire to continue fighting away. Their increased aggression and drive was soon to bear fruit. With Tiffs seemingly back in the club house already, the visitors proceeded to score 3 unanswered tries in a row. With 4 points added from conversions, the score stood at 34 v 26 with still plenty of time on the clock.
Thankfully for Tiffs, the visitors come back was somewhat stalled by the yellow card handed out to their skipper for an illegal use of the boot. Tiffs were grateful for the man advantage and began to wrestle back momentum.
With only a few minutes left on the clock and wanting to finally put the game to bed, following yet another NM infringement Jang pointed to the sticks and Sharp slotted over the final score of the day to secure a 37 v 26 win for the boys from Summer Avenue.
Whilst Tiffs must be pleased with the bonus point win and certainly showed dominance in patches, there will be questions asked about the mentality of the side that almost gave the game away.
Full credit must go to New Milton, who showed that they are a much better side than the score line and their league positions suggest. Tiffs know that they will be in for a tough ride when the sides meet again in February.
Final Score: Old Tiffinians 37 v 26 New Milton and District
Tries: Jang, Fawcett X2, Mackee, Sharp, Bardwell
Conversion: Sharp X2
MoM: Tom Carvill – his presence on the field measured way and beyond his size.
DoD: Tim Fawcett – for injuring himself after his long waited return to 1st XV rugby. Again.
Notable mentions: Sam Bardwell – Excellent debut and try on debut; Louie Mackee – first try for OTRFC
Match Report by Jae Jang