Old Habs 1st XV vs Diss 1st XV
OH back to winning ways
On a mid-January afternoon the sky was blue and the smell of rugby was in the air, you would be forgiven for confusing Croxdale Road for Suncorpe Stadium. In this London North 1 clash Old Haberdashers looked to banish the demons of their previous weekend defeat to Fullerians. Their opposition this week were a spirited Diss team who were looking to make up ground at the bottom of the table.
The game started evenly, with both forward packs trading blows but with not many points to show for it. Habs showed their respect for the opposition’s defence by taking the points when within scoring range and opened up a 3-0 lead. Habs scrum was strong as usual and Fish, Gatus, Baxter and Sanderson provided the team with a valuable platform.
The conditions were suited to some expansive rugby and after a few calls from the touchline of, “let the boys play!”, and “joue”, Habs started to find their rhythm. Following some barnstorming carries from Tommy ‘the gun’ Arnott, Mike Marsden, and Jonny Gatus, the Diss defence were weakened. Will Longhill and Harry Briffit both got on the scoresheet both with powerful finishes. With a spring in their step, Habs stepped up a gear and secured the bonus-point try before halftime as Charlie Johnson and Charlie Esam both finished off excellent team tries. Captain Jonny Whittle dictated the game from scrum half, and Taj Jackson was steering the ship beautifully - nearly immaculate off the tee throughout.
The second half did not go all the way of Old Haberdashers. Diss showed they were dangerous with ball in hand, and their energy in the tackle was always strong. For a period of about 20 minutes Diss had a huge share of territory and possession and were pushing for that first score. Only an excellent defensive effort from the home side stopped them from getting points on the board. As the game opened up there was some eye-catching footwork, particularly from fullback Tom ‘quantum of’ Solis. Old Haberdashers picked up two more scores, Charlie Esam got his second after a well-timed pass from George Seabrook. And Simon Miller showed his poacher’s instinct with an interception in the closing minutes. Habs ran out 41-0 winners on the day and whilst the scoreline flattered a little, the well needed bounce back gave the boys confidence going into the international break.
On his 102nd and final appearance Ben ‘Elk’ Elkington covered every blade of grass, and showed everyone the huge void he will leave in the team with a number of noteworthy carries and strong tackles. Finally, Ian Sanderson had to miss the game as he decided the birth of his daughter was a more important event. A big congratulations to Ian and wife Sam.