Toil Without Song Is Like A Weary Journey Without An End
By Simon McInnes
The weekend after Hallowe'en sees the A in very Lovecraftian territory
OLD MIDS A 0 SUTTON & EPSOM 49
This was a long hard afternoon for the Mids, and the tone was set from the off. Playing up the hill and generally against the wind, Mids fluffed the opening kick off and a scrum restart ensued. Within a minute or so, Sutton were inside the Mids 22, and there they stayed for almost twenty minutes. From the Mids point of view the possession and territory graphs were a horrible sight, so they are not reproduced. The scoreboard said 0-0, so let us concentrate on that. The problem posed was that the visiting half backs were both playing excellently, and the team was very good at getting big, powerful runners aiming at the gaps, or at worst the smaller defenders. Eventually the dam had to break, but not after John Bocking had made four try saving tackles from the fullback position. Once S&E were 7-0 up, Mids did try to fight fire with fire (water or foam is generally recommended as more effective) and by keeping the ball in tight and concentrating on possession scrums, they were able to deprive the opposition of possession. That was not getting them up the hill to threaten the S&E line and after a while the balance tipped again. Just before halftime the score went to 0-14 in the similar way as the opener, but this time it seemed not quite so reflective of the balance of play. The chase back after a long clearance kick was won by Mids, but on gathering the ball, the first phase saw them outnumbered 3 to 6 and lose possession. From there S&E had the patience to run through as many phases as they needed.
Under the circumstances, a two try halftime deficit could be filed under “might easily have been worse” but Mids chances of a fight back died when they conceded a very early try in the second half, and second one a few minutes later. Again they knuckled down and kept S&E at arms length for a while after that damage had been done. Unfortunately from the hour mark, fatigue, injuries and even fatigue connected injuries took a tool, and three further converted tries were conceded. On the one hand, the score was unflattering because Mids did so many basic things, such as retain what possession that they had and tackle with lunatic-like conviction, mostly quite well. On the other hand, when you are facing a team that is quite good and perfectly equipped to exploit your weakest points, it is realistic to expect scores to be shipped. Here’s to next week.
For those who stayed, the song was in the bar, after the England game