2 February 2020

Harlequins Cup

By Simon Arnett

There had been some rain overnight, but we made our way the short distance to our neighbours in Reigate.

After the close National Cup defeat the previous week, the boys were focussed in the warm-up determined to get back to business with a win. Initial discussions with the ORs coaches started to pour doubt on what pitch we would be playing on. There appeared to be 3 very playable pitches, but we were being offered the ‘mole hill’ or nothing for fear of damaging the other 3 pitches. It was agreed that ‘mole hill’ was not safe to play on. So rather than claim the walk over, we wanted to play the game so we hastily put in some phone calls and the great DRFC sprung into action to set up a pitch at the Big Field.

After that fiasco, we decamped back to Brockham, quickly ran through another hasty warm-up and started the match considerably later than planned. We had made some changes to the squad to rotate and give more players some game time, but as we prepared for the kick-off there was a concern that the pre-match shenanigans would affect the team’s focus.

This was soon played out as ORs hit their straps first from the kick-off; their backs looked dangerous, we missed some tackles and they and they started developing overlaps. They were soon in the lead with a converted try. 0-7.

We responded well, a penalty kick for the corner, was driven on powerfully by the forwards and Ben Hayes was lurking at the back of the maul to score. No conversion. 5-7.

From the ensuing kick-off, the ORs players stopped as the kick fell short, but Raich Hudson was not so circumspect as he caught the ball and burst through the defence gaining us some territory. A peel move off the lineout worked well as we neared the ORs line, but a knock on allowed them to play out somewhat dangerously.

We pushed them back for a period and forced errors, leading to penalties, two of which were converted by Finn Rennles. 11-7.

Reigatians replied with a clean line break and a well-supported move the length of pitch. 11-12.

It was becoming a tit-for-tat match as the momentum switched. Next Ben Mackenzie’s quick tap and go from a penalty, saw Ben Hayes trundle over for his second try. Rennles converted. 18-12.

ORs weren’t finished though as their backs were finding holes in our defence, and another line break saw them finish the half up 18-19.

The second half followed a similar pattern. ORs scored first as they again punched through our defence cutting a fine line back against the play. 18-26.

Rennles was then sent to the naughty step as he was yellow-carded for blocking a runner when ORs were trying to turn the screw. Despite being down by a player, we returned to OR territory and another power-play by the forwards saw Ben Hayes go over for his hat-trick. Paddy TennEnt converted. 25-26.

It remained topsy-turvy and another break by ORs down the left flank was rewarded with another try. Sadly, sir didn’t see our defender blocked off by a supporting player and the try stood. An excellent conversion from out wide followed. 25-33.

We responded again as time ebbed away. A strong scrum set up TennEnt to knock the ball through and Rennles chased down the ball to score. 30-33.

As the clock ticked down there was just time for ORs to score a late penalty and the match finished 30-36.

A disappointing result as our discipline suffered and we struggled to cope with their powerful back runners. Something to work on on the training ground.

Tries: Hayes 3, Rennles

Cons: Rennles, TennEnt

Pens: Rennles 2

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