Fullerians 1st XV vs Old Habs 1st XV
Habs lose but secure 2 bonus points
The 1st league game of the 2017/18 season saw us venture up towards Watford to play against old rivals Fullerians. They were promoted two years ago, so we missed playing them last year and were keen to see what level they were at having successfully stayed up in our new league, London 1. Fullerians looked a big pack and some familiar faces amongst their side gave us a rough idea that they would try to dominate us upfront so we knew we needed to be physical from the outset.
Both sides started well, with the conditions, a wide pitch and the new ruck rules, enabling a fast paced game. After the early exchanges we got ourselves into some good field position and our attack started to find holes. Eventually we found ourselves a yard out from the line and debutant Jeremy Hasson dived over for what would have been a great try on debut, sadly he left the ball behind. It wasn’t to matter though as a few moments later, Clarky made a half break and as the tackler pull him back in, charlie came flying in from deep to take a nice offload on open the scoring. Ian McGhee converted. 0-7 to Habs.
Fullerians were quick to respond as they got themselves up into the Habs 22 due to some poor discipline from Habs. Fullerians executed an effective catch and drive and their second row broke free from 5 years out and crashed over. It was a worrying sign for the Habs side as the Fullerians pack got their first score but it must be said that Habs responded well as for the remainder of the match Fullerians has little to no success from the catch and drive. Fullerians converted 7-7.
After the Fullarians score Habs increased their physicality in defence and Fullerians looked unlikely to score with some big hits coming from Seb Taylor and Matt Lowcock. Unfortunately our discipline deteriorated so Fullarians enjoyed some good field position and in the 15 minutes left to half time kicked two penalties to give them a lead of 13-7 at the break. Discipline will be something Habs have to work hard on in the coming week as feudal position is crucial.
The second half started well for Habs who immediately got hold of possession and the whole side increased their intensity in attack with carries all of the side eventually resulting in a bit of space bit of space out wide. Tom Jackson executed a nice delayed pass and put Si Miller through who beat the fullback to score and make it 13-12. Conversion missed.
Only a few phases after the kick off back into Habs half, a stray arm in the ruck dislodged the ball from Jonny Whittles hands and the ball fell to their Centre who ran in to score under the posts. Very unlucky on Habs but the score went 20-12 Fullerians. Habs recognised the nature of the Fullerians try and bad fortune so went back at the Fullerians with confidence and again sent everything they had at their defence. This time is was Clarky who found the space from another delayed Tom Jackson pass, and Clarky beat the fullback to score under the posts and bring it back to 20-19.
Fullerians weren’t going to let the momentum swing against them though as they came back at Habs hard. Again, some ill discipline ruined what was otherwise good defence from OH and Fullerians got the field position they needed to attack the Habs line and send their 12 over under the posts. Disappointing as OH had done well to stop the Fullerians pack but a lack of communication in the Habs midfield gave away a soft try. 27-19
What happened next can only be put down to the “bounce of the rugby ball”! Fullerians kicked deep and the ball looked to be going dead but it popped up on the covering Ian McGhee and slipped through his fingers to the chasing fullerians centre who gratefully accepted the try. 34-19.
Habs knew they needed to get something from the game though and so set about getting their forth try and trying to get back within 7. The first of those was achieved when Jeremy Hasson, who got through a lot of open field work, manages to break free on the outside of their defensive line and feed Charlie Johnson who put Faz over to secure the 4-try bonus point. 34-26. With less than 10 minutes to go, it was all Habs as both sides were tiring but Habs were chasing the game. Eventually Habs got deep into the Fullerians half and won a penalty which Habs took to bring the score back within 7. 34-29.
Habs got a final roll of the dice in the dying minutes but unfortunately the Fullerians defence held strong and forced a Habs knock on. Final score 34-29. Well played to Fullerians in what was a great game of rugby and we look forward to hosting them at OH next April.