Bog at Borough
14 - 32
After a stint babysitting at Lee’s and then a ridiculous journey, stuck behind every slow vehicle known to man, I finally got to CRFC half an hour late and feeling quite grumpy. I was however much cheered, while taking the register, to realise that there were five players in the squad called Matthew - what discerning parents we all had - needless to say, there was a lot of surnames used in matchday communication! The other lovely greeting, was to see the pre match entertainment was being performed by G’s under 11’s, putting on a great show and proving there was plenty of talent coming through.
It has been a while since I played on a pitch quite as bad as this one! After the first quarter it was more like a marsh. I spoke to the groundsman in the bar after, he was easy to spot as the man quietly weeping into his beer, justifiably upset by the way we had ploughed his field of dreams! But what an important first quarter it was! We had beaten Crowborough twice already this season, the last encounter being our cup quarter final, in which we had scraped through with a last play score, so we knew this would be a fierce encounter with our cherry and white neighbours.
The Crow’s flew at us from kick off and we spent the first 15 minutes desperately defending our line, as the fiery oppo camped out in our 22. Time and again, certain tries were repelled with miraculous defence, until, at last, a penalty was won, and Ben kicked us up the pitch. I don’t think we went back in our 22 for the rest of the half. While we had the ball, it was clear our forwards had the edge in the loose, with tremendous carrying and offloads from Halligey, Lampkin, Blackledge and Morley. This gave space for our backs who also took the ball on with great skill and determination. A quick tap penalty was taken by Lee who fed Halligey who was unstoppable from five yards. 10 minutes later, it was the same player, from the back of an awesome five yard scrum which slowly edged forwards with much control and skill, who plunged over for his brace.
We were close to breaking the spirit of this proud Crowborough outfit, who must have been devastated not to score early, one more push would do it. Straight from the restart, Ben collected and punted the ball left for Skippy to chase, the speedy winger skipped past his opposite number to hack forwards once more, and it was left to the excellent Matt Brooke to show huge composure and footballing ability to control and drop on the ball! A brilliant half, in terrible conditions!
Determined not to drop off in the second period, we vowed to score three more before the final whistle, and brought on two Matt’s to freshen things up, Robo in the row and Williams, for his second team debut, on the flank. It wasn’t long before lovely hands saw the backs with a bit of space, Marriott in the clear, drawing the cover and passing to Skip who with work to do, crashed over in the corner. More fantastic work from forwards and backs alike, saw new boy Williams clear and under the sticks (Even Ben couldn’t miss this conversion!). Redmond then came on for the last quarter - After his sabbatical in Staines, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect - but he made an instant impression, bursting through hordes of would be tacklers, a quick step and shimmy saw him clear with the full back to beat, then a lovely pass off his right, to the supporting Skipworth who finished for his brace.
Crowborough, to their credit, scored two excellent, converted tries of their own in the second half, to show what a dangerous side they are and leaving the scoreboard showing 14 - 32. Always a pleasure playing you boys - Thank you so much for your hospitality, and lovely curry!
MotM is so hard this week, with nearly every player putting their hand up during this match, but I’m giving it to Matt Edwards on the right wing, who was so powerful in defence and made some lovely runs in attack. It was a pleasure for me at 15 to have two such awesome wingers in very testing conditions. DotD goes jointly to Tom Sandy’s and Mikey Redmond. The former for sending his mum up to Crowborough, who then had to tip toe in her beautiful pink trainers across the swamp, to tell me that Tom was going to be late - Sorry Mrs Sandy’s! The latter, for being so unfit, he was sick after his first awesome run, and had to be replaced after his second. He had only been on the pitch 10 minutes - It was however, quite a cameo!