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Old Reigations 38 Effingham & Leatherhead 12 … or, “what’s the French for Déjà vu?”
Old Reigatians 38 – 12 Eagles
Seniors 1XV • League • Sat 9th Oct 10, 3:00PM
Old Reigation’s Park Lane ground, in the Reigate valley, always a picturesque setting, was resplendent in the late summer sun : ORs themselves are a familiar opponent for the visiting Eagles. The previous “character” OR’s clubhouse has been replaced by a new modern, albeit work-in-progress, clubhouse, somewhat disorientating the visiting Gotes, who assembled for the mandatory pre-match medicinal beverage. The OR’s pitch looked in great condition on such a beautiful afternoon, albeit there was a blustery crosswind.
ORs kicked off, the ball being efficiently fielded by the Eagles and Mark Allen making ground upfield before the ball was turned over. ORs took rapid advantage and attacked strongly through the back three before a well timed intervention from Joe Mellor turned the ball over - an Eagles counterattack earning a penalty for not rolling away, slotted as calmly as ever by Eagles 10 Brian Collins, 3-0.
The restart was caught by Flight, recycled to Collins who kicked clear to the OR’s 22, the ORs back three again making good ground, before the ORs forwards took play on showing good continuity and control of the ball. ORs switched the point of attack and a clean line break put the ORs winger clean away into space – showing a clean pair of heels, he outstripped the closing Eagles cover and seemingly effortlessly covered the remaining 30 yards or so to dot down for a 5 pointer, quickly improved by the conversion, for 3-7. The speed of the OR’s back three had been ominous.
The Eagles sought to take the game to ORs from the restart and a concerted attack caught the ORs offside, Collins again bisecting the posts for 6-7 - not yet five minutes old, the game had commenced with a flurry of points. Again the Eagles won another quick penalty from the restart, Collins kicking conservatively to touch and the Eagles retaining the ball competently from the lineout. However, unable to make forward progress from the resulting ruck, an ambitious pass was intercepted and ORs recycled to advantage, the ball being cleared to the Eagles 22. This precipitated a bout of kick tennis between the full backs, before ORs took the initiative and attacked through the centres after a skilful kick ahead – the Eagles cover defence just held but a penalty was awarded for holding on and an Eagles defender earned a yellow card and 10 minutes on the naughty step to reflect on the error of his ways. The penalty was duly slotted for 6-10.
The Eagles snaffled the restart and attacked strongly through Callender and Ellinson, catching ORs offside again but the penalty was reversed for a mistimed tackled on the catcher of a kick ahead. However, this was merely the prelude for another Eagles attack as the ball was turned over and another attack launched through Callender and Ellinson.....déjà vu...another penalty for offside by ORs, with Collins on the money again for 9-10.
Play oscillated in midfield, with neither side enjoying much continuity until...deja vu...ORs offside, at which point the whistler decided enough was enough and that the offender could be the next occupant of the naughty step. With a man advantage the Eagles might have expected to gain an ascendancy but an inception by the OR’s 10 presented a clear run to the line and that was 9-17 when the extras had been added.
The Eagles regained possession following good work by Thornton at the restart and attacked through Close and Mellor, making ground up to the home 22 before ORs conceded another penalty for fringing and Collins landed the kick from a difficult angle for 12-17 and that was half-time.
The first five minutes after halftime saw ORs score two rapid tries, with coordinated attacks by backs stretching the Eagles cover defence for the first and a catch-n-drive for the second , taking the score to 12-31.
The Eagles regathered and adopted a more expansive approach, spending the next ten minutes on the ORs 5 metre line, at one point crossing the line but denied the score through a marginal obstruction – perhaps a harsh call. Much as the Eagles strove, the ORs defence held firm and eventually scrambled the ball clear. The Eagles continued to seek every opportunity to attack but to no avail and the last five minutes saw ORs return to the Eagles 22 and add a fifth, rather soft, try, again converted to close the match out at 12-38. At no point did the Eagles give up and the spirit showed throughout will surely show to the good as the season progresses.
The Eagles: Ellinson (T), Callender, Allen, McGibbon, Thornton, Flight, Young, Compson, Reynolds, Collins, Close, Mellor, Hitchmough, Penny, Foster: subs, Ellis, Smith (R), Rees