Marlins manouevre mighty Merton
A combination of attacking defence and support play wins the game.
Marlins were out to prove a point, against a strong Merton side, boasting a heavy pack and a strong back line. Marlins were short on numbers, with six nations beckoning some senior players to Twickenham!! Further, Merton Arrived early and seemed well drilled, Marlins on the other hand seemed a motley crew, ready for business. Merton were quick off the blocks, and intercepted a pass to inside centre Jamie Velderman, and utilized their burly forwards to link in, and score in the first few minutes of the game. PJFRFC did not panic, and to their credit kept their cool, showing determination, in the ensuing 15 minutes of play. PJFRFC marlins fought for every yard, making the opposition work hard to Venture into their half. Merton keen to establish dominance, kept playing 4-5 phases through the forwards, at each breakdown, and the likes of Mander, Bilchy, Dan Wright, Aden and Hickey made sure that the Vunipola yards were hard to come by. This was a formidable defensive display, and probably won the game for PJFRFC. Merton’s frustration began to show and they started to lose ball in contract, and PJFRC pounced on spilled ball, and with Will Walters, Marlins captain commanding the backs at scrum-half, put Stormin Normin in space, and then ball out wide to Reem, to weave his magic, and score under the post, for a converted try, and lead 7-5. PJFRFC were missing a consistent jumper in the line out, (Towering Tony supporting the scots). However, Mander and Bilchy came to the rescue, jumping at 1 and 2, this enabled PJFRFC to compete and delay clean ball, and in turn putting pressure on Merton’s half back combination. PJFRFC dominated open play, through attacking defensive tackling, and forcing errors, and in turn enjoying a lot of possession. PJFRFC’s half backs had a great day on the field, with Norm utilizing Jamie Velderman and Kareem Mackenzie to find space out wide and infield. The set pieces were evenly balanced, and PJFRFC made good use of this possession. This attacking defence paid off, and spilled ball was recycled through to Jamie Velderman, who ran through a couple of tackles and crossed with Kareem, who then zig zagged out wide to score, and lead 12-5. Hickey had to take to the sidelines to nurse a part torn muscle. A determined Merton, were not about to let the game slip, they camped on the PJFRFC 22 for the next 10 minutes, and utilized their forwards to keep attacking the try line, though a determined PJFRFC kept up the barricades, with Jules, Del, Jamie, Reem and Norm enforcing the curfew. Merton were penalized for poor discipline, with a man sent off, and PJFRFC did well to capitalize, with having equivalent numbers on the pitch for once! Play from this set piece, from just inside the Merton half, went through the hands to Jamie, who ran a perfect line through the inside centre, and full back, to score under the post, for a converted try and lead 19-5 at half time.
PJFRFC again started on the defensive, but on this occasion with much confidence and comradery. Jules was penalized for a high tackle, on Merton’s Itoje lookalike, much to everyone’s amusement, given Jules’ towering height!! Though PJFRFC did have Dan Wright sin binned for a high tackle, and missed him sorely. Though, the veteran- silver fox clan of Mander, Bilchy, Aden, Norm and Del, stepped up to the breach. Merton utilized their big forwards well during this period of a two man advantage, setting up rolling mauls and linking well with their backs. PJFRFC have their veteran full back Simon Cripps to thank, as he made two great try saving tackles to bring down Merton’s number 8. PJFRFC were now apt at the counter attack, with Their half backs Will and Norm spinning the ball out wide to Jamie, Reem and Jay on the wing. Jay made the yards, and kept the ball alive, which was recycled through the forwards, and Spun out wide again for Reem to score his hat-trick, and lead 24-5. Merton kept up the pressure, capitalizing on PJFRFC’s poor discipline, utilizing successive rucks, only to be held up on the line by Norm and Aden. PJFRFC absorbed this pressure well. Will Walters, was unlucky to be penalized for haranguing his opposite captain, and Merton powered over for a try from the five yard scrum, and now trail 24-10. Merton did not give up on their endeavors, though PJFRFC, were now brimming with confidence, and attacked deep into Merton’s half from kick off, and were now forcing defensive errors. PJFRFC opted for an attacking a line out, and Bilchy obliged with a run down the line, before being brought down, and the recycled ball was marshaled well by Will Walters, who zig zagged past a couple of players and stepped out wide to score, and PJFRFC to lead 29-10. A tired and frustrated Merton were now taken to task, and this frustration was beginning to show with unforced errors and poor decision making. PJFRFC kept to their game plan and made the hard yards in mid-field through the forwards, to release Del out on the wing, who made 50 yards. The ensuing set piece was spun out wide through the hands for Reem to score out wide, and close at 34-10 to PJFRFC.
Marlins have a week off, and will look forward to the last 6 games, firmly placed in third position, and vying for second place.