The well known sporting saying ‘a game of two halves’ could not have been more appropriate on a glorious, sunny Saturday afternoon at Warlingham RFC. Trailing 3-13 at halftime to a talented Old Tiffinians side, Nick Warren’s Warlingham men scored 8 tries, and a total of 56 second half points in a dominant display of patient and precise attacking rugby. Fly- half Joe McEvoy with a personal tally of 24 points. A large home crowd gathered at the spectacular Hamsey Green ground and were treated to an entertaining London 3 South-West encounter.
Warlingham led by Paddy Green in the absence of the suspended captain Jonathan Fox, started brightly with David Priest and George Bench breaking the Old Tiffs line but indecisive decision making led to missed opportunity. A solitary McEvoy penalty for their efforts, 3-0. Old Tiffs replied with two well stuck penalties when Warly were twice penalised for offside in midfield, 3-6. A moment of magic from Funsho Ajayi nearly led to spectacular try, only prevented by an outstanding cover tackle by the Old Tiffs No10.
The away side fly-half then executed a superb backs move which held the Warly defence and created the space for the visiting right winger to cross the whitewash. Conversion over and 3-13 at the break. The message at halftime from the coaching team was a positive one, and to stay calm in possession. Warlingham were quick out the blocks, their forwards dominating the physical battle. Centre Priest broke clear, passed inside to the supporting Ajayi for a walk in try under the posts, 10-13
Warlingham were starting to play with confidence and showed excellent handling skills across the team. Messes Bench and Mike Freeman bashing through the visiting defence, which laid the perfect platform for enforcer Ben Warman to crash over near the posts, 17-13. A crucial turning point in the match when Old Tiffs reliable goal kicker, missed from straight in front the posts 25 yards out. A cheeky quickly taken dropout from McEvoy paved the way for a scintillating attack. Old Tiffs were penalised and the ball was kicked inside the oppo 22. Youngster Callum Wand expertly joined the maul to provide guidance and structure, rewarded by him falling over the line 24-13. From another visit into the Old Tiffs 22, McEvoy showed his strength to run through his opposite man and stretch out for the try, 31-13. Before the floodgates opened, Old Tiffs replied with a close range error to reduce the score to 31-18, however Priest x 2, George Davis plus Wand adding his second, all converted by points machine, and man of the match, McEvoy earned Warlingham a resounding victory, 59-18.
Warlingham DoR, Warren quoted after the match, “Very pleased. Old Tiffs are a very good side and they had us on the back foot at halftime.” “Fantastic response and attitude from our boys in the second half. That is the standard of performance we now expect”.
Warlingham RFC, 3 wins from their opening 4 games and their best start to a league season for 10 years, travel next to promotion favourites Portsmouth in another eagerly anticipated league fixture.
Updated 10:07 - 2 Oct 2018 by Peter Upton