Crouch kicks Midwives to victory on his return from injury

RUGBY ROUND-UP: Old Mid-Whitgiftians welcomed Dan Crouch back into their side after more than a season out through injury, and 10 points from the boot of their fly-half, including a important penalty late in the game, was enough to secure victory in their opening London 3SW fixture of the year at Lime Meadow Avenue, 25-19 over lively opposition from newly promoted Andover.

Midwives Olly Rathbone breaking a tackle on his way to scoring his try against Andover

Midwives’ Olly Rathbone breaking a tackle on his way to scoring his try against Andover

Crouch’s points came from two penalties and from converting two of his side’s three tries in the afternoon, scored by Ed Underwood, an outstanding play finished off by Olly Rathbone, and a great solo effort by Rob Farmer, playing on the wing. Andover picked up the losing bonus point with a late try, which put some pressure on the home side, who may regret not capitalising on some of their opportunities to secure a bonus point of their own.

This Saturday promises one of the high-spots of the local rugby season, when Midwives make the short journey to Parsons Pightle for their derby with Purley-John Fisher. PJF lost 28-15 at Eastleigh last weekend, so will need to get a win under their belts as well as establish some local bragging rights.

In the division above, London 2SW, Warlingham also suffered an opening day defeat, going down 19-16 at home against Old Reigatians as the thickness of the goal posts was all that separated the sides.

Warlingham had been first to score, through a Joe McEvoy penalty, and were first to score a try, when new flanker David Thornton broke through the visitors’ defence and a pass from winger Jack Atkinson to Harry Wrightson was returned and Atkinson ran in unopposed. McEvoy’s conversion hit the post.

But with Warlingham down to 14 men after James Agate was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on, Reigatians clawed their way back into a half-time lead with a couple of successful penalties.

Reigatians extended that lead with a try off the first scrum of the second-half, and while another McEvoy kick pegged back some of the deficit, the visitors’ pack got another try, this time from a catch and drive move from a five-metre line-out.

Tom Street, Warlingham’s No8, scored Warlingham’s second try, but McEvoy’s conversion kick again hit the uprights.

With a minute to play, Warlingham were offered the chance of snatching a draw from this competitive encounter when a very kickable penalty was awarded. Maybe not wishing to risk hitting the posts again, new skipper Jon Osborne called for the scrum as a route towards the try which might win the game.

But the Reigatians pack held out, and they were ecstatic to get the win, as the hosts had just a losing bonus point for their efforts.

“We knew this would be a tough fixture and Old Reigatians have obviously prepared well pre-season,” Ben Stobart, Warlingham’s head coach, said.

“Hitting the woodwork twice was unlucky for us but that was the only difference between
the sides.”

Warlingham travel to take on Old Alleynians on Saturday, a tough encounter with the old boys’ club from Dulwich College, the winners of the last two Twickenham English Schools’ cup finals.

The area’s other clubs, in the county leagues, have another week before their league seasons get underway.

Contact your local rugby clubs here:

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