RUGBY ROUND-UP: Purley-John Fisher moved to within three points of the promotion places in London and South East Div3SW thanks to their 42-10 derby win over Old Mid-Whitgiftians on Saturday.
In the tier above them, LondonSE Div2SE, Warlingham got back to winning ways, coming back from Sevenoaks with a 20-15 victory for a satisfactory finish to their competitive year.
Down in Surrey 1, there were good wins for Old Walcountians, 21-13 over Old Wimbledonians at Clock House, while Old Whitgiftians beat league leaders Farnham 17-10.
Croydon‘s demoralising season continued: this time, they lost 29-0 at Old Cranleighians.
In the league below, Streatham and Croydon‘s relentless march onwards in Surrey 2 continued, with a 27-15 win at Old Rutlishians, in a game that was closer than the final scoreline suggests. Into the final 10 minutes, and Ruts had launched a comeback which saw them get within a score of Streatham and Croydon, a well-taken penalty bringing the hosts to 15-20.
Only a maul, driven over the line by the Streatham forwards as the Ruts pack tired, nailed down the game, the resulting try being duly converted.
In the area’s big derby game at Pightle, Purley-John Fisher claimed the bonus point by scoring six tries against Midwives to put them fourth in the league going into the Christmas recess.
After going behind to an early penalty, PJF fly-half Johan Malcolm slotted a penalty just before hooker Ben Inglis latched on to Dan Leidecker’s break to open PJF’s try tally. From the well-taken re-start the man of the match, open side flanker Phil Jones, broke free round the base of a maul and out-ran the covering defending back three over 50 yards to score under the posts. With Malcolm converting both tries, PJF were in command at 17-3.
Centre Leidecker rounded off an impressive move five minutes later, racing through the defence to score his try. PJF’s bonus point came as a driven scrum, well controlled at the base by No8 Liam Miles, crossed the visitors’ line where the ball was grounded by scrum half Ollie Davies.
Midwives responded as Mark Macaskill, their No8, thundered through the PJF defence to grab their own try of the game, which was converted. But at half-time, the scoreboard read 30-10 thanks to another Malcolm penalty.
PJF bookended the second half as Miles supported an attack and touched down in the opening five minutes, but following the conversion it was more than half an hour before the home side scored again, in the last minute when wing Tom Casey rounded off the day as he followed up on a chip through, collected the ball and scored.
Whitgift School are through to the post-Christmas rounds of the Daily Mail Cup, following their fifth-round 27-23 victory over Sussex Downs College at Haling Park last Wednesday.
It needed a Ben Ledger try five minutes from time to secure what ought to have been a routine victory, underlining the impression that the Class of 2013 is some way short of the Whitgift XVs of 2010 and 2011 that went all the way to lifting the silverware at Twickenham.
Thanks to the draw, Whitgift now have another home game, against Hampton, the 18-3 winners against St Paul’s, on Wednesday January 16.
“ I knew Sussex Downs were a really good team and while we didn’t play great I just knew we had to find a way of winning and I’m pleased with the way the guys scrapped to get the win,” Chris Wilkins, Whitgift’s director of rugby, told inattheside.com.
“Hampton will be a huge game, but we’re just pleased to scrape through. I thought our set piece and our discipline let us down at times today.”
As well as the try from Ben Ledger – the younger brother of the former England under-16 flanker, Harry Ledger – Whitgift’s points came from fly-half George Jones’s boot (3 conversons and 2 penalties), and tries by Henry Cheeseman and wing Luca Petrozzi.
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