Warlingham 26 - 19 Old Tiffinians
A late try from substitute Alex Sampson handed Warlingham RFC a vital league win against Old Tiffinians RFC on Saturday afternoon. This was Warlingham’s fourth league win in a row and moves them further away from the relegation zone. The hosts trailed 18-19 going into the final quarter before a well worked team try plus a penalty kick from Fly-Half Joe McAvoy, snatched victory in a crucial London South-West 3 encounter.
Earlier, Old Tiffs arrived at Hamsey Green full of confidence having comfortably dispatched mid-table Battersea Ironsides the previous week. A vocal crowd of over 100 welcomed the two sides to the pitch and were treated to a highly entertaining afternoon of rugby.
Warlingham dominated the early exchanges and it was no surprise when they were first to put points on the board. Strong carries from James Delderfield, Paddy Green and George Bench resulted in quick ball deep into Tiffs territory. A well timed pass found galloping No8 Connor McDonald out wide, and he dummied his opposite man to dot down for the opening try. Reliable goal kicker McAvoy added the extra points and Warly were 7-0 to the good.
McAvoy extended the lead to 10 with a well struck penalty kick soon after. However, from the restart miscommunication led to the away side being awarded a penalty which the impressive Old Tiffs kicker dispatched with ease, 10-3. The home side were unlucky not to score again when a good break from Nicky Canty went unrewarded.
Warlingham’s recent good form has been built on solid and well organised defence. Disruptive flanker John Dowling, Matt Mardle and Captain Alex Skinner leading the way on this occasion. Veteran Delderfield was at his destructive best with three hard hits in quick succession. Both sides exchanged penalties just before half-time, meaning the hosts were 13-6 up going into the break.
Old Tiffs started the 2nd half well and completely dominated the opening third quarter. Their metronomic kicker adding two further penalty attempts including a huge kick from the halfway line. One Warlingham backs coach Mark Kozminski would have been proud of in his playing days.
The ‘Mighty Warl’ responded immediately. A powerful catch and drive from the home forwards, led by hooker Jon Fox, was recycled quickly out to the 5metre channel. Giant Centre, David Priest found himself in space and was Jonah Lomu esque, brushing off several defenders before crashing over in the left corner. The difficult conversion attempt sailed wide, 18-12.
As the Warlingham pack started to tire, Old Tiffs found gaps in the defence. An overlap was created out wide and their speedy winger dived over the line for a try. Another accurate kick put the away side in front for the first time in the match, 18-19.
With the clock ticking down Warlingham didn’t panic. The home side showed maturity and composure to keep hold of possession for long periods. Priest, Green and McDonald creating holes in the opposition defence. From a 5 metre attacking scrum, Priest carried close to the try line. He was held up just short but quick recycled ball from John Hosken found Sampson out wide to slide in for the all-important try. Conversion missed, 23-19.
McAvoy added another penalty late on to secure victory and a much needed 4 points for the home side.
Director of Rugby Nick Warren was delighted with the win. “Today was massive for us. Old Tiffs are a good side and to win the game plus limit them to 1 try is very pleasing”. “That’s 4 wins in a row for our 1stXV but we won’t get carried away. We play away at New Milton in a couple of weeks which again is another must win for us”.
Backs coach Kozminski added, “Fantastic win. The boys worked hard, stuck to our structure and played as a team. There were a couple of try scoring opportunities we didn’t take but we’ll address that in training and look to improve”.
There was success across the board for Warlingham Rugby Club on Saturday with all senior sides recording victories, including their table-topping 2ndXV claiming local bragging rights against Purley John Fisher, 44-10.
Updated 17:51 - 17 Jan 2018 by Gina Mattison