Old MidWhitgiftians enjoy a try-fest at Lime Meadow Avenue

Surrey 1 – which includes three clubs based in or near Croydon, including Old MidWhitgiftians in the dark blue – is as competitive as ever

RUGBY ROUND-UP: Old MidWhitgiftians quickly got their season back on track with a breath-taking 62-5 win at home against Old WImbledonians in Surrey 1 last Saturday.

Andrew Dean scored a hat-trick of tries, fellow centre Temi Okenla got two, and wings Brad Greer and Nathanael Briggs one each. Forwards Adam Stammers and David Spedding pitched in with a try apiece, while Dan Crouch kicked a penalty and nailed seven conversions.

MidWives had only narrowly missed out on promotion last season, their challenge petering out in the final handful of fixtures, and any prospect of earning the right to step up to the regional divisions seemed to be remote after a 39-27 defeat in their season’s opener at Old Haileyburyians the previous week.

But the nine-try festival of running rugby at Lime Meadow Avenue has put a real spring in the club’s step.

Delighted: OMWRFC coach Andy Edwards

Coach Andy Edwards was especially pleased with the effort players of all positions put into supporting their team’s counter-attacking – two exhilarating scores came from running out ball behind Mids’ own try-line.

“It was an incredible team performance against a well-established Surrey 1 side,” Edwards said.

“It’s rare for anyone in this league to score 60-plus points, and we could have got more!

“Our dominant pack was equally backed up with some outstanding running rugby out wide. That was our best performance since our current coaching team took charge.”

Just two matches into the new season, and Surrey 1 is already looking ultra-competitive again, as only one side – Reeds Weybridge – has an unblemished, unbeaten record. And they are the opposition for Old MidWhitgiftians this afternoon.

Reeds Weybridge have just been promoted from Surrey 2, not that anyone at MidWives is taking things for granted: “I think it will be a close match if our match against Old Haileyburians is anything to go by,” according to one member of the pack.

The Weybridge club’s first victims on the first Saturday of the season were Old Walcountians, in a tight, 15-9 encounter. Like MidWives, the Walcs bounced back last Saturday with an encouraging 23-8 win at Old Amplefordians.

There’s a derby clash today, as Chipstead go to Old Walcountians at the Clockhouse in Woodmansterne seeking their first win of the season, having lost 11-10 at Old Wimbledonians on the opening day of the season, and then being walloped 33-13 at home by Reeds last Saturday.

Schools get back on the ptich

NORMAL SERVICE was resumed in schools rugby on Wednesday, when Whitgift’s first XV took on John Fisher for the first time since 2016.

The first XVs of Whitgift and John Fisher were back in play this week

A time-out was ordered last year for one of the fiercest of schools rugby rivalries, as things had started to get a little too fierce in 2016, when after a day-long set of matches through all the year groups, a crowd numbering nearly 2,000 had gathered for the top fixture, and what was usually good-natured banter had descended into nasty taunts and threatening behaviour.

Most of the junior age groups from the schools are playing their fixtures today, but to avoid too large a crowd gathering by the afternoon, the three senior sides resumed their rivalry on their usual games afternoon.

A schools rugby website described it as “Probably the most eagerly anticipated game of the day, indeed the week… It did not fail to live up to expectations as Whitgift claimed a fantastic 41-5 victory.”

IN LONDON 3SW, the division above Surrey 1, Warlingham romped to their second 50-pointer in a month, smashing Old Tiffinians 59-18, including eight tries, at Hamsey Green last Saturday.

Fifty-six of those points came in a rumbustious second-half display, after the home side had trailed 13-3 at the break. It must have been some half-time pep talk from coach Nick Warren.

Fly-half Joe McEvoy orchestrated Warlingham’s patient attacking rugby and kicked 24 points himself.

With three wins from four, Warlingham sit fourth in their division, the only blemish in the promising opening month of the season so far being the blip at Old Whitgiftians.

Whits, though, are otherwise struggling to come to terms with life at this higher level, following their promotion from Surrey 1.

They lost 29-24 at home to United Services Portsmouth last Saturday, their second defeat to a south coast team in a fortnight (they’d lost 22-7 to Portsmouth seven days earlier), but are hopeful of a better outcome in their game at Andover this afternoon.

Warlingham today face the daunting journey to Portsmouth, who are unbeaten this season.

DOWN IN SURREY 2, Purley-John Fisher recorded their third win of the season this morning without a ball being kicked in anger, as Old Wellingtonians cried off their fixture.

PJF, relegated in May, have so far looked one of the stronger sides in their league, beating the Met Police 35-7 and Kingston last week 31-29.

Streatham-Croydon, meanwhile, have suffered twoo tough defeats, 46-15 at Kingston and 31-14 at Frant Road last Saturday to Economicals. Today, they travel to Old Rutlishians.

In the basement of Surrey 4, Croydon’s least-successful rugby team, Croydon, have registered their first win of the season, though only thanks to Horley cancelling last week’s match. Croydon play at home this afternoon, against Wandsworthians.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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