Having gained five valuable league points last Saturday Warlingham, were keen to build on their season in their away return game at Petersfield. Warlingham pressed right from the kick off but stout defence from the home side denied an early score. When a home player was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle Warlingham should have taken advantage of the extra man but Petersfield pressed and a blind side move gave them an unconverted try. Fly half Joe McEvoy, returning to Warlingham after a season at Blackheath, struck a booming penalty for the visitors’ first score. Scrum half Callum Wand, returning for the University break, was always elusive and made several line breaks.
Warlingham were pinned in their 22 when a swift back line move found former Whitgift school winger Funsho Ajayi, making his debut for Warlingham. Teenager Ajayi scorched down the tramlines despite the heavy pitch and scored a 70 metre try. McEvoy’s difficult conversion hit the post but Warlingham were clearly in the driving seat with flanker
Matt Mardle and captain John Fox making dents in the home defence. Full back Louis Rossi-Jones made half the pitch with a run out of defence but lack of support went with him. Centre David Priest and winger Harry Spencer threatened with the ball but the score remained unchanged through to the break.
The second half was a ding-dong battle on the muddy pitch and a solitary penalty from McEvoy extended the visitor’s lead. Petersfield were desperate to get on the score board and camped on the Warlingham line. They spurned a couple of penalties in a vain effort to get a winning try from the scrums but the Warlingham defence has stiffened of late and there was no way through. The final whistle brought relief to Warlingham who have won two games back to back and beaten a team home and away for the first time in eighteen months. After the match Director of Rugby Nick Warren, said, “The pleasing aspect was how we controlled the tempo for large parts of the game. With and without the ball we looked comfortable and we managed to deals with the Petersfield scrum, which is one of the best in the London divisions. There is still plenty to improve, but we can start to get excited about 2018".”
Warlingham’s next game is on 6th January at their Hamsey Green ground and all spectators are warmly welcomed to see London
League rugby free of charge. Kick off 2pm.
Updated 17:52 - 17 Jan 2018 by Gina Mattison