Sat 20
The Mids 1st XV
Cranleigh RFC
A Hall, G Daniels, O Fitzgerald
W Chenery
W Chenery (2)
Old Mid-Whitgiftian 22 - Cranleigh 8

Old Mid-Whitgiftian 22 - Cranleigh 8

By Russell Jones
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Old Mids’ second match of the weekend saw Cranleigh as guests at Lime Meadow Avenue in the quarter-final of the Surrey Cup, a competition in which Midwives were a powerful force in the 1990s.

Mids dominated territory from the off but could not turn all their domination into scores, frustrated by some over-elaborate play in difficult, greasy conditions and a dour Cranleigh defence. Strong carries by second rows Mark Handley and Matt Shillabeer and prop Nathan Bacon ended just short and another powerful surge by skipper Ali Hall after 18 minutes promised a score. Instead it was the visitors who scored first when winger Charlie Treasure ripped the ball and scooted away from inside his own 22 to stun everybody and put the visitors 5-0 up.

Mids were soon back on the attack and,when Handley burst through, seemed certain to score, but his pass went astray and Cranleigh survived. Shortly after, the Mids’ scrum forced a penalty and fly half Will Chenery slotted the kick to narrow the gap. On 32 minutes a rare foray into Mids’ territory won Cranleigh a penalty and from the 10 metre line full back Curtis Beecroft kicked a very fine goal, with the ball going over off the crossbar. Mids, for all their possession and territory were now 3-8 down. They stuck to their task, however, and were visibly stronger in set pieces with Handley and No.8 George Daniels rock solid in the line out and scrum half David Stanton sniping around the edges and making frequent bursts to gain ground. Flankers Martin Simmonds and debutant Peter Bates also put themselves about to good effect. On 39 minutes they were again battering the visitor’s line when a deliberate knock-on gave them the chance to take a quick tap and put full back Ollie Fitzgerald in for a try in the corner to tie the score at 8-8.

During extended injury time Cranleigh had their best period when they spent some time in the home half and were unlucky not to score when a cross-kick found two men clear, but a hack ahead went over the dead ball line to deny them a score.

Mids centre Marc McEvilly burst clear just before the interval but the last defender did well to stop his effort to chip him and the scores remained level at half-time.

Coach Andy Edwards’ half time words had a definite effect on Mids and his co-coach Daniels had a purple patch when he effected a fine turnover, took a tap penalty and then set up a driving maul which gained some 20 metres before it was stopped for an injury. From the resulting scrum Mids drove again and forced a push-over with Daniels getting the touchdown. Chenery converted to put Mids 15-8 to the good. They were soon threatening the Cranleigh line again as the vsitors’ pack tired and twice were over the line, first when flanker Ryan Williams seemed to score but was adjudged in touch and then when Daniels was held up. The pressure told, however, and finally skipper Ali Hall, who had been everywhere and involved in everything all afternoon got his now regular weekly try. Chenery’s conversion closed the scoring and Mids had secured a victory that was hard fought in the end after Cranleigh’s combative performance in the first half.

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Sat 20, Jan 2018



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