Warlingham were out to avenge the narrow defeat they suffered only a few weeks prior to against Old Beccehamians and started the game strongly, shooting out the blocks to quickly move down into the opposition’s 22. After some strong carries from the Warlingham forwards a penalty was conceded by Old Beccehamians for not rolling away and kicked to the corner by fly-half Archie Warren. The Warlingham pack were able to gather the line out ball and form a strong maul, rumbling over for the first try of the game – debutant Flanker Archie Mcmillan taking the spoils, the kick from the side line unfortunately missed.
Warlingham were unable to maintain this intensity and failed to claim the restart. Old Beccehamians showed the fight they brought to the previous fixture and gained territory through strong forward runs, creating space which allowed their backs to spread the ball wide and score in the corner; the scores level after the missed conversion.
Warlingham came back at the opposition but Old Beccehamians defended well, a mistake ridden next 10 minutes saw both sides fighting for control but handling errors and scrappy play meant the pace of the game slowed. One positive of this period was the Warlingham scrum; The full eight working hard to cause lots of problems for the opposition pack and winning a penalty in the middle of the park. Archie Warren slotted the 3 points and Warlingham re-took the lead, 8-5.
Warlingham frustratingly failed to claim the restart again, showing the intensity of the game was getting to some of the team and concentration was perhaps slipping. This showed in the next few phases and some lazy defensive work from the Warlingham forwards created quick ball and the opposition’s flanker was able to break through a tackle and sprint under the posts, giving their fly half a simple kick to take Old Beccehamians out to a 8-12 lead.
The final 10 minutes of the half was open and end to end. Some strong defence from Warlingham lead to turnover ball on their own try line and they were able to exit well, driving the ball down into the opposition half. Handling errors from Warlingham were proving costly and preventing them working through more than 3-4 phases at a time. A poor clearing kick from Old Beccehamians was taken well by winger Mark Chatfield who showed his pace to sprint through and score in the corner; only to be called back after he was controversially judged to have stepped into touch.
A fiery team talk from DoR Nick Warren sprung life into Warlingham and they started the second half as they had the first. Archie Warren started to look to the boot and pinned Old Beccehamians back, allowing Harry Cave to steal the ball at the line-out inside the 22. After carries from the tiring forwards Warren was able to put another kick into the corner, followed up by lively winger Freddie Little who gratefully collected after the rather fortunate bounce evaded the covering full back, speeding through to score under the posts. A simple conversion for Warren put Warlingham back into the lead, 15-12.
The game drifted on with neither side able to assert clear dominance on the game and with both sides wanting to play attacking, free flowing rugby it was clear that both set of forwards were tiring – leading to more handling errors and neither side able to maintain possession for long. A break from centre Jack Atkinson brought Warlingham within a few metres of the try line but an attempted cross field kick gave Old beccehamians possession back and their backs capitalised to go almost the length of the field, scoring a few phases later and taking the score back in their favour at 15-19.
This score and some more stern words from the DoR brought a rejuvenated energy to Warlingham. Strong tackling from Alex Sampson, who had stepped in as flanker from scrum half, kept the opposition pinned back and a weak clearance kick brought them straight back into the opposition 22 with another strong carry from centre Louis Rossi-Jones. A Warlingham knock on gave the opposition a chance to clear their lines but the Warlingham scrum was fired up and worked hard to earn a the penalty after a few generous resets from the referee. Fly half Warren kicked to the corner and the ball was claimed by jumper Harry Cave, The ball spread wide across the pitch to centre Louis Rossi-Jones who was only stopped 5 metres out by some strong last ditch defence from his opposite number. The short passage of play had split Old Beccehamians pack and a hole opened up in the middle of the pitch for Archie Warren to dart through and off load to the supporting Jack Atkinson who crashed over to score the final try of the game, with a simple kick to follow. The score swung back into Warlingham’s favour; 22-19 with only a few minutes remaining.
Warlingham have experienced a few last minute losses this season and were not willing to go through the same pain, claiming the restart and fighting to maintain possession for the final minutes they were rewarded with a penalty after Old Beccehamian’s lock let his frustration get the better of him and reacted to a dominant hit from Alex Sampson to gift Warlingham a penalty to end the contest.
DoR Nick Warren said “The performance was not our best and it was clear that we had players returning from injury who were lacking fitness but the fight shown by the team as a whole was good and to get the win was even better”.
Updated 14:02 - 21 Jan 2019 by Peter Upton