Ding Dong Battle at Battersea
Battersea Ironsides 31 – 31 Warlingham RFC
Warlingham RFC held on for three vital league points, as Battersea missed a conversion with the final kick of the match in a dramatic London 3 South-West encounter.
Battersea, flying high in second place at the start of day, were quick to capitalise on a couple of early Warlingham handling mistakes, gaining good territory and putting intense pressure on the visitors’ try-line. However Warly held firm and fly-half Joe McEvoy managed to clear to safety.
Warly were first on the score-sheet from an impressive catch and drive off a lineout, 10 yards out. McEvoy adding the difficult conversion, 7-0.
Battersea responded quickly with their powerful forwards punching holes close to the ruck. They eventually managing to force their way over, 7-7
Warlingham enjoyed a period of possession inside the Battersea 22. Captain Jon Fox capitalising when he was on hand to take a short pass from the industrial prop George Bench, and crash over the tryline under the posts, 14-7
This ding dong affair continued when Battersea were next to cross the whitewash just before halftime, 14-12.
With Richard Hayward in the sinbin for persistent infringements, Battersea took full control of the game with two quick, well executed tries to lead 14-26.
With pressure mounting, Warlingham needed a reaction to going two scores down, and to keep calm. Strong runs from Flanker Alex Skinner and the enforcer, Paddy Green marched the visiting side up the field. A quickly taken penalty from veteran John Hosken, was moved outwide to youngester Harry Spencer who did extremely well to finish in the left hand corner. McEvoy again made no mistake from the touchline, and Warly were back in the game, 21-26.
Warlingham’s dominance continued from the kickoff. Young prop, Alex Kelly working hard to gain yards, supported by the robust Ben Warman. It wasn’t long before club stalwart James Delderfield, bulldozed his way over the try line taking three Battersea defenders with him. McEvoy again metronomic off the tee, and Warly regained the lead, 28-26 plus secured the try bonus point.
McEvoy quickly added a penalty to extend the lead to 31-26 going into the final five minutes.
With Green harshly sent to the sinbin for a late, high tackle, Warlingham were severely on the back foot, trying desperately to hold out Battersea to claim victory. However, it wasn’t to be. Battersea kicked a penalty into the corner and took advantage of the extra numbers to execute a well formed catch and drive, 31-31.
With a conversion to win the match, both sets of players and supporters held their breath as the ball sailed towards the posts, before crashing against the left hand upright and falling short. A highly entertaining draw for the neutral but both sides slightly disappointed at the final whistle as either team could have taken the spoils.
Warlingham now enjoy a week off to prepare for the visit of table topping, unbeaten Winchester RFC on Saturday 1st December, in which promises to be another enthralling league match.
Updated 14:06 - 21 Nov 2018 by Gina Mattison