Defeats put MidWives and Warlingham in drop zones

RUGBY ROUND-UP: Off the back of the “worst performance of the season” a fortnight earlier, Warlingham travelled home from to Medway last Saturday having been dealt another crushing blow, this time a 29-5 defeat.

Warlingham's young ambassadors at Twickenham: From left, Peter Gee, Adam Hollidge, Mark Stevenson, Harry Blain and Stephanie Wright

Warlingham’s young ambassadors at Twickenham: From left, Peter Gee, Adam Hollidge, Mark Stevenson, Harry Blain and Stephanie Wright

They now stand a vulnerable-looking 10th of the 12 clubs in London 2SE. Warlingham’s next three fixtures could determine whether the second half of the season will be a relegation scrap.

They host mid-table Old Colfeians at Hamsey Green this Saturday, then face a tough game at high-flyers Charlton Park on December 7, before their final league fixture before the Christmas break on December 14, at home to Crowborough, another side, like Medway, comfortably above them in mid-table.

As well as conceding five tries at Medway last week, Warlingham also suffered a host of injuries, several to their leading players which could impact their availability this week.

Again, Warlingham’s ball retention let them down and turn-overs ensued. When Warlingham infringed, the Medway fly-half kicked accurately to win valuable territory, or to set up the first try with a kick from hand for the waiting winger to catch and score.

Winger Jack Atkinson scored an unconverted try to keep Warlingham in the game for a while, but as the game wore on, Warlingham’s penalty count accumulated, and the demands of the defensive battle took a toll, too.

Lock George Ioannou left the field with a leg injury, and James Delderfield was next to need replacing after suffering a serious head injury. Medway accumulated their bonus point scores as Warlingham’s game was disrupted by the injuries, the team’s physio being kept busy through the afternoon.

Warlingham’s youth section continues to thrive, and five teenagers have been selected by the RFU as Young Rugby Ambassadors through to the Rugby World Cup being staged in England in 2015.

Warlingham has more than 450 boys and girls playing each Sunday morning.

Peter Gee, Mark Stevenson, Stephanie Wright and Adam Hollidge joined the recently appointed Warlingham community coach, 17-year-old Harry Blain, at a conference at Twickenham where the RFU development director Steve Grainger emphasised the benefits of the volunteer programme.

“This programme will showcase the talents and potential of young volunteers in clubs at all levels,” Grainger said. “They represent the best of their generation and they will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the game.”

There was little joy for the area’s other senior clubs last Saturday in London 3SW, where both Old Mid-Whitgiftians and Purley John Fisher lost: Midwives were beaten 25-10 an London Exiles, while PJF were 23-10 losers on the Isle of Wight to Sandown and Shanklin.

MidWives are now bottom of the London 3SW league table, with 10 points from nine games played. PJF are not much better placed, in ninth place in the 12-team division.

This Saturday, PJF have to travel deep into Hampshire again, to play Ellingham and Ringwood, while Mid-Whitgiftians are at home to KCS Old Boys, who are currently second in the table and challenging for promotion.

At Barnes last week, it took Exiles just 20 seconds to unhinge the Midwives defence and
score, when their kick off received a dithering and indecisive response and a hack ahead gave an Exiles’ hand the chance to touch down.

Mids were guilty of being profligate with some loose passing, some misdirected kicks and untidy line outs. Within half an hour, Midwives were 18-0 down, having conceded a two further unconverted tries and a penalty.

Joe O’Keeffe, Mids’ former skipper, had made a welcome return to the side and made his presence felt around the pitch, both tackling and to score his side’s opening try when at the heart of a drive by his forward pack. Fly-half James Orchard converted and Mids reached the interval at 18-7.

Mids were well in charge in the scrum in the second half, but it was not until the 62nd minute that Mids got some return for their efforts. Exiles were penalised for hands in the ruck and Orchard kicked the goal to make it 18-10.

Mids continued to press but a couple of decisions did not go their way and Exiles capitalised on these to work their way into the corner. Again they set up a good maul and their flanker broke off for the try which sealed their victory.

Down in the Surrey divisions, there was a win for Old Whitgiftians, 22-19 at Battersea Ironsides in Surrey 1, where Old Walcountians lost 20-5  at home to Tonbridgians. This Saturday, Walcountians are at home to Old Paulines as Whitgiftians entertain Old Tiffinians.

In Surrey 2, Streatham-Croydon grabbed their second win of the season to lift them out of the drop zone, beating Old Amplefordians 24-15 at Frant Road, though Croydon lost 10-0 at Cranleigh.

Croydon host bottom-of-the-league Bec Old Boys on Saturday, while second-from-bottom Old Ruts are at Streatham-Croydon.

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