Old Tiffinians 2nd XV 7 v 57 Battersea Ironsides 3rd XV
Tiffs lose, but more importantly a blue Charles Tyrwhitt jacket was returned
It was a grey and dismal morning as we arrived at Grists, only half an hour before the proposed 12pm kick off. Opponents this day were Battersea Ironsides, a team who were flying high in the league with only a solitary loss (and that by only a single point no less) marring their record (I have not checked the factual accuracy of this, but have just repeated what I have been told. If it's good enough for Trump...).
Spirits were hardly high and were not improved by the fact that Grists was proving more of a fortress than usual: we could not get into the changing rooms. With only 8 of our 13-man team at the ground, albeit including Mags who was taking a break from synchronised swimming, Sedgers was in a bad enough mood to consider cancelling the match. These were tough times. The arrival of the Old Tiffs Ultras supporters with their 11am beers, inappropriate comments in front of the schoolboys and porn star ‘taches did little to lift us (though Kinnard eventually found his jacket, which, spoiler alert, would be the only win of the day). However, the show must go on, and the match went ahead slightly later than originally planned and just after the arrival of Jamie “Sorry I’m late, I pulled last night and I had to take two taxis to get here, and did I mention I pulled last night” Duncan, with Ironsides generously loaning us a couple of players.
It was a strong start from the underdogs with some bullish carrying and aggressive defence suggesting that the match might be closer than the form book suggested. However, reality soon set in and a couple of missed one-on-one tackles, and some poor defensive organisation cost us several scores. Going into half time 20-odd nil down was a harsh reflection on what had been a fairly even first half: the scrum was proving a lottery in the slippery conditions, the Battersea loanees were having a great time knocking seven shades out of their temporary opponents and Cass had only gone down injured twice. Things could have been a lot worse.
Unfortunately, a couple of very strong runs from a newly introduced centre led to early scores shortly after half time, and the deficit quickly increased.
Despite the rapidly increasing number entered next to the visitors name the OTs pack was actually dominating at the scrum (a feat that seemed to infuriate the Ironsides coach, who was acting like they were 30 points down!). Not to be perturbed by the score line the Tiffs forwards began smashing everything in sight (or at least everything around the fringes) and continued their strong carrying from the first half. Inspired by the forward perseverance, the backs, led by Man of the Match George Powell began chopping down the big opposition ball carriers and making some yards themselves. Tiffs were on the up.
At some stage during this OTs renaissance a penalty was awarded to the hosts. With little point in going for the sticks, Powell decided that the best option was to tap and go. Or at least tap and not go, as he seemed to quickly change his mind as soon he had tapped the penalty and instead kicked the ball directly to the opposition winger. At this point a collective groan left the forwards. Thankfully, unlike at Twickenham later that day, no TV camera was present to pick up some of the words that were uttered.
The forwards disgruntlement proved to be misplaced however; we simply lacked the vision to see what Powell had planned.
After receiving the perfectly placed kick the Ironsides winger passed to his fullback who duly knocked on in front of the posts. A couple of scrums (and Cass claiming a try that was yards short) later and the powerful figure of George Oram crashed over the line to cap off a fine display on debut. I love it when a plan comes together and have always said how smart our back line is.
Despite the best efforts of an OT side that battled on strongly until the end, a couple more breakaways for Ironsides followed, and the final score was an unflattering 57-7. Despite the score it was a match that I thoroughly enjoyed, partially because (and I am sorry Laurie) Battersea Ironsides were not *****. They were actually quite good value and a good bunch of lads. So really, overall I think that rugby was the true winner on the day. Rugby and Battersea. But mostly Battersea.
Final Score: Old Tiffinians 2nd XV 7 v 57 Battersea Ironsides 3rd XV
MOM: George Powell
Report by Dave Wood