Coach sees red as MidWives battle to derby win over PJF

Top try: Mid-Wives' Joe Baul. Photograph by Peter Filewood

Top trier: Mid-Wives’ captain Joe Baulf suffered an early injury. Photograph by Peter Filewood

RUGBY ROUND-UP: As derby clashes go, Saturday’s London 3SW league fixture at Parson’s Pightle between Purley John Fisher and Old Mid-Whitgiftians certainly delivered on controversy, talking points and cards  – with three yellows being issued to players on the pitch, and the MidWives coach Chris Callaway being ordered from the field when his patience with the referee snapped.

Midwives eventually took the hard-fought victory over their hosts, 24-10, while in the division above, London 2SE, Warlingham went down 10-6 at Crowborough for their second successive defeat of the new season.

Ahead of their game, MidWives had a handful of late withdrawals, with saw four enforced changes, with Paul Murphy, Rob Mitchell and Alex Scott being called up from the 2s and Alex Stammers coming into the side after holiday. Gareth Pritchard was given his first start in the league this year on the wing.

MidWives’ ability to break from deep showed after 15 minutes with Dave Stanton making a break from the base of a maul and being well supported by Tom Christopher and Joe Baulf before the ball ended up with Seb Gogerly to find space before stepping inside and giving a finally off load for Pritchard to dot down between the posts with James Orchard converting.

That was to be the end of captain Baulf’s game as he fell hard in the challenge and was unable to continue.

PJF got their first try after turning the ball over five yards from their own line, and with backs against forwards in space, the breakaway score was a formality. Duly converted, the hosts took the lead soon after when MidWives were penalised for crossing in their own 22, and the kick sailed over.

PJF went in 10-7 ahead, but with tempers fraying on both sides over some of the refereeing decisions. It was soon after the re-start that Callaway was ordered from the touchline, to the boos of PJF players and supporters.

In Callaway’s absence, MidWives took control of the game, with some mighty hits going in and the visitors’ defence proving so solid that Purley John Fisher failed to score in the second period.

That the home side had two players sin-binned did not help their cause for repeat infringements and “professional” fouls.

PJF were forced to scrummage with just six men in their pack, and their was only one outcome from those situations: Marchant ensured that MidWives got a try when they pushed the Fisher pack over their own tryline.

Just minutes later, Mids were finally able to give Gogerly space to work with and he ran his try in at the corner from about the halfway line.

Marchant’s part in the game was soon over, however, when he was carded after the referee mis-identified him as the player who brought down an opponent off the ball.

With PJF’s sin bin periods over and the hosts back to full complement, it took some relentless defence from MidWives’ 14 men to defend their lead, and even managed to score the bonus point try when Nathan Bacon broke through a number of tackles 10 yards from the line to go over. James Orchard happily converted.

Warlingham’s defeat in Sussex came in a somewhat prosaic affair in which neither side did much to impress in an error-strewn contest in which Joe McEvoy’s two penalty kicks were the visitors’ only scores, although the visitors very nearly “nicked it” in injury time when scrum-half Murtagh and then fly-half Agate both went close to the line.

Warlingham were indecisive in attack and made too many handling errors resulting in spilled chances, something they will need to put right before the visit of Heathfield and Waldron to Hamsey Green this Saturday.

Clubs in the county divisions begin their league seasons on Saturday, with Old Whitgiftians at Old Blues, and Walcountians hosting Old Wimbledonians in Surrey 1, while in the division below, Surrey 2, Streatham-Croydon are at Cranleigh and Croydon play at Old Amplefordians.

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