Tough day at the office for PJF
By Niel Kenny
PJF Survive late surge from O Ruts.
On a sunny but blustery afternoon in Morden PJF took on an O Ruts side that had recently chalked up a couple of notable victories themselves. A late drop out due to ‘illness’ saw Joey Casartelli having to slot into the back row. Playing with the wind in the first 20 minutes PJF dominated territory without looking very threatening. The previous night’s revelry having blunted PJF’s edge. Handling errors lead to squandered chances. One of the bright spots of this period was the way in which Joey settled into the wing forward slot. Putting in some really big hits and denying Ruts any room close to the scrum. Close to the 20 minute mark PJF swung the ball wide after several phases for Luca Bellavia to gallop over 15 meters from the corner after some great work by Antony dos Santos on his debut. Pierce Fernando neatly slotted the kick. Ten minutes later, PJFs pressure told again when, after some slick play, Luke Couchman broke through in the centre to dot down over the white wash. The kick narrowly missing. Close to half time an explosive break down the flank saw Pierce in a perfect position to run the ball in for PJF’s third try, unfortunately he was unable to convert his own try. Ruts hung on until half time becoming the first side to deny PJF a bonus point before half time.
The second half, with PJF playing into a stiff breeze, started positively and after about 10 minutes the best try of the game saw winger Tony dos Santos dive over in the corner, really great demonstration of the finisher’s art. Kicking into the stiff breeze Pierce saw his kick go wide. Bonus point in the bag. All game the scrum had suffered for a number of reasons. The Ruts loose head prop causing all sorts of problems. Whilst PJF struggled manfully they were on the receiving end of a lot of pressure. The pressure began to tell and Ruts using the wind well were camped in PJFs 22 for long periods of the second half. A series of 5 m scrums saw one turn through more than the 90 degrees and Ruts with the ball at the base of their scrum just had to pick up and touch down. The kick was slotted and Ruts were on the board and the chase was on. Five minutes later the Ruts flanker charged over near the posts, the conversion made and the score was now 22-14 to PJF. Ruts continued to drive forward and PJF were up against it. After a further series of plays around PJF’s 22m the failure to clear their lines resulted in PJF conceding a penalty on the 22m. The kick was converted and the score was now22-17 and Ruts tails were up. It was at this point the Ruts loose head prop went down with what looked like bad cramp and had to leave the field. This allowed PJF to regroup and stabilise their scrum which gave the backs the base to go back onto the attack. With about 8 minutes to play PJF drove deep into the Ruts 22m a despite coming close after some surging runs from Calum Law, Ruts defence held firm. Recovered, the Ruts loose head returned to the fray and Ruts were able to break out of their 22m. Despite a few nervy moments when a mistake could have cost PJF the game the clock ran down and a final free kick awarded to PJF saw the game won. It had been a close call and PJF were a little short of their best and PJF rode their luck in the second half but came away the victory and bonus point. The next league action will be at the Pightle against Cranleigh who will be keen to knock PJF off the top of the league. Next week on November 10th however PJF take on Sandown and Shanklin at the Pightle in the next round of the Junior vase. The lads would welcome your support so we look forward to seeing you at the Pightle for a 2.00pm kick off.