Old Habs 1st XV vs Old Priorians 1st XV
OH win again!
After slogging through the mud of January, Habs were delighted to see the sun making a return appearance over Croxdale Road, perhaps heralding the return of open rugby and spring’s first whisperings. 50+ attendees at the pre-match lunch were there to cheer the boys and take the opportunity to remember the former world middleweight champion Terry Downes (father of OH stalwarts Terry, Rigo and Paul). An unchanged pack from the bonus point win at Letchworth and a strong set of backs had been selected, eager to amend for the disappointing loss earlier in the season to a team, like Habs, now ensconced in mid-table.
From the off, Old Habs looked the stronger team in the tight exchanges, working hard to secure ball against a mobile Priorians pack. Their perseverance up the hill was rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts, slotted dutifully by fly half Ian McGhee. Soon after, Habs were back up in the Old Priorians 22, hammering at the line until a penalty was given after another infringement. Having already had a look at the OP’s pack, Miller (informed by the Sanderson brothers and Baxter) elected to go for the scrum, and were rewarded with a push over try, scored by James Clark.
Old Priorians then came straight back at Habs, their hard running centres making good yards in the still very heavy Croxdale dirt. A break from deep around the edge of the Habs defence put their winger through, with 30 metres of clear space ahead of him. Sadly for him, he hadn’t reckoned on Clarky’s covering run, tackling him just short of the line and causing him to spill the ball forward. As would be the pattern of the game, the Habs pack got their knife and fork out, munched the opposition pack, drawing the penalty before clearing the ball downfield. From the following phases, more yards were made, until Simon Miller released Charlie Johnson to dot down on the right hand side.
Before the first half was complete, Old Priorians would come back with their own try, a well worked driving maul following a period of sustained pressure, although they would also lose their centre to yet another piece of foul play, as the referee grew a bit bored of the constant backchat and loose discipline. Turning to head down the hill, Habs led 15-5.
Habs took the ball straight into the Priorians half, making yards with some hard carrying and excellent work from our half back pairing. While playing advantage on the opposition 22, Conor saw an opportunity from scrum half and elected to go for the low percentage option of the cross-field kick, collected beautifully and scored by James Farrell; Faz was marking his final match for Habs, before heading over to the Emerald Isle, 100+ caps for Habs tucked away in his back pocket.
Habs would then head right back down the hill, drawing another penalty near the line and opting to scrum again. The front row, bolstered by the presence of Steve “Swinging Arm” Blundell taking their opposition over the line again for another try to James Clark, 27-5 Habs, and the bonus point in the bag.
In fairness to Old Priorians, they kept on coming at Habs, running hard in the centres, and managing to retain their own ball at the scrum relatively efficiently. Unfortunately for them, as they were piecing together a consistent series of phases, the ball spilled loose just inside their 10. George Seabrook was first to pounce, hoofing it through and winning the chase to the try line with some fancy footwork. 32-5 Habs, and the game near complete. Priorians did manage to score their own consolation try before the end, their 10 making a break and putting away one of his teammates to score. All that was left to do was for Habs to tear apart another couple of scrums, eventually resulting in the OP’s hooker getting binned.
A consummate performance, built on the back of an excellent performance from the home team pack, and a great way to kick of a night of oompah excellence organised by Baxter and Jackson Productions.
Tries – Clark x2, Johnson, Seabrook, Farrell
Conversions – McGhee x 2
Penalty – McGhee x 1
Man of the Match - Monkey