Despite going behind to a penalty after two minutes, Walcountians were by far the better side in the opening 20 minutes. The pack, solidly anchored by props Andy Scales and Steve Cowlin, repeatedly drove Blues off the ball in the set scrums and the loose exchanges were dominated by aggressive ball-winning and ball carrying, in which locks Dom Bell and Will Thornton and flanker Joe Henderson were prominent. However, Walcountians’ backs failed to make effective use of this possession and too many passes went astray. One exception to this saw Walcountians take the lead in the sixth minute and involved a blind-side break after securing second phase possession, from which Joe Wright set up fellow centre Dharshan Vadiveli to race over and touch down for a try.
Blues then came to life and started to take advantage of Walcountians’ mistakes and pin them back towards their own line. From this territorial advantage, Blues scored two tries to put them twelve points up. The first, in the 21st minute, was a short-range charge from a ruck on the Walcountians’ line by Blues’ tight-head prop; the second, four minutes later, came when the Blues right winger took an inside pass and swerved past two attempted tackles to touch down.
Stern words from coach Steve Witcomb and skipper Steve Cowlin appeared to have little effect in the opening minutes as Blues’ scrum-half scored an opportunist try after breaking from the 10 metre line. But, as the second half progressed, Walcountians began to introduce more cohesion to their game. The turning point came when Matt Witcomb was brought on as fly-half and began to run the game and pin Blues back with his potent boot. Ten minutes into the second half, Walcountians crossed for their second try when flanker Jack South finished off a tap penalty move to touch down, Matt Witcomb converting.
Walcountians continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded with another try in the 10th minute when Joe Henderson dived over after retrieving the ball from a ruck on the Blues line. Six minutes later, they drew level when centre Eddy Ryan threw a long pass to pacy winger Marvin Fletcher-Rogers who hit the gas pedal to round the Blues defensive cover and touch down.
Victory was now in sight for Old Walcountians. Unfortunately, an expensive lapse of concentration with five minutes to go saw Blues win the match as their outside-centre rounded the Walcountians defensive cover to run in a converted try.
Next Saturday, Walcountians are on the road again when they take on Guildfordians. Kick-off at Stoke Park is at 3pm.
Old Walcountians:- Beales, Fletcher-Rogers, Vadiveli, Wright, Moorhead, Ryan, Henderson (James), Scales, Fleming, Cowlin, Bell, Thornton, Henderson, South, Baker.
Subs:- Evans, Houghton, Witcomb.