Marlins show what they are made off- fisher flair on display
By Julian Emmanuel
Marlins dig deep to claim victory, against a seasoned side
Marlins were keen to end the season on a high, though aware that Sutton and Epsom are a formidable local opponent. Marlins had the wind on their back and a favourable slope in the first half. They made good use of this advantage, through intelligent kicking. Marlins forwards were put to the test from the start, and did well to hold their own, against a big pack with strong runners. Sutton and Epsom weren’t able to find 10 yards, from kick off, thus Marlins got on to a good start, on the front foot, in attack, and made good yards through their formidable mid-field, Jamie Velderman and Kareem, only to be thwarted by good defensive tackling by the Sutton back row. This aggressive attacking strategy, rattled Sutton and Epsom, and led to poor discipline, with PJFRFC making good use of this advantage and kicking clever, to take play into the opposition 22. Here they dominated the line-out, with Milan Patel throwing in and Kian MacNulty jumping at 2 and 3- the fisher school leavers re-united and dictating the line-out, and the ball off the top was executed with precision. Will Walters at scrum half, kept the tap flowing, with a good supply of ball from set pieces, and Shane Martin, at fly half, keeping the ball alive, to enable Jamie Velderman to run his lines, cutting through the opposition back row and to release Reem, in space to score their first and lead 7-0. The restart was again fumbled by Sutton, and the kick collected by Tim Woods, who effortlessly released Tony Mawer, the ever pouncing veteran back row forward, to whiz past a few tackles and score, to lead, 12-0. This rattled Sutton further, and the back chat and hand bags began to flow, PJFRFC did well to keep their calm, and absorb the big ball carriers running at them. Sutton would have scored, but were thwarted by Sean the open side, who came across the pitch to tackle the full back, 2 meters from the try line. The ensuing scrum was duly won against the odds, and against a much larger front row, thanks to a low and steady approach by Tom White and Dave Mole, the ball was cleared and Reem was again at hand to pick up the bounce, and dash 50 yards, zig zagging past a few Sutton and Epsom backs, to score another converted try, and lead 19-0. Sutton collected themselves, and were keen to redress the balance, and did well to keep ball in hand, from the kick off, through their big forwards, and score under the post, 19-7. This score helped build their confidence, and Sutton and Epsom were on the front foot again from kick off, and marshalled the rucks and mauls well to make quick yards, and then released their back row forwards to score, and peg the score back 19-12. PJFRFC Marlins, kept their belief and seemed resolute in defence. Tom White, Jules, Jamie, Reem Milan, Sean all threw their bodies on the line to keep the marauding big ball carriers at bay, and it was this dogged approach that won them the game.Sutton and Epsom tired and became frustrated, and in turn PJFRFC, took their chances, with Will Walters and Dan Wright punishing their lapse in concentration, and kicking to the corner, knowing that they could rely on Milan and Kian to get the ball back. A line out in Sutton 22, led to a rolling maul, followed by successive rucks, and darting forwards inching closer to the line, with Tony Mawer crossing over for his second, making history! and lead 26-12. PJFRFC kept up the pressure, and the heat was having a toll on the Big Sutton forwards, another poor start by Sutton was punished by PJFRFC, and on this occasion Jamie Velderman collected a sly pass from Shane Martin, and collected a few Sutton players along the way, before coming to a standstill, with back row Milan and Sean in support, a ruck was formed and ball spun out to Reem, who effortlessly streamed pass a few opponents to score out wide, for his hat-trick, and lead 31-12, at half time.
PJFRFC knew the second half would be tough, and the chorus of words at half time was focused, and strategic. PJFRFC stuck to their plan, and a clever start from kick off by Will Walters, put Reem in space, who collected the ball off bounce, and glided past the entire Sutton and Epsom back line to score, and extend the lead to 38-12. This roused the home team, who put PJFRFC under considerable pressure, made worse by a couple of silly penalties- off side tackling by Jules, duly taught the off side rule by PC Will Walters! and handling ball in the ruck by lock forwards. Sutton utilized the wind and made good progress, towards the PJFRFC line, and then set up rolling mauls to score under the post, 38-19. PJFRFC were caught snoozing, and Sutton duly penalized them from a line-out, interlinking backs and forwards well and keeping the ball alive, to score out wide, 38-24. Sutton and Epsom, could smell victory, and kicked well to get into PJFRFC territory, and set up a rolling maul, though Dan Wright and Milan did well to hold up , and prevent a score. The ensuing scrum was hard fought, and Del Boy was at hand to collect spilt ball (not missing a trick from fools and horses) and make a run towards the half way line, aided by the forwards, and Will Walters, culminating in Kian MacNulty, the lock forward, collecting a pass to run the final 25 yards and score under the post, to lead 45-24. Sutton and. Epsom, again came back with all their might, though ferocious ankle grabbing tackling by Jules, Sean, Dan, Milan and Tony kept them away from the 22. This strong defensive display, tired out Sutton and Epsom, and opened up avenues of attack with spilt ball. The forwards were duly rewarded, and they etched towards the posts, keeping ball in hand. Milan made good yards, before Tony and Sean also contributed, culminating in a try for Tom White, to lead 50-24. The intensity of the game seemed to peak in the final few minutes, and both sides were keen not to let an inch, and fought hard to keep possession. PJFRFC took the first step forward, and again set their Talisman off with space out wide, Reem duly obliged by scoring his fifth try under the post, and lead 55-24. Reem nodded afterwards, “that was knackering”! Sutton and Epsom, keen to save face, stuck to their guns and utiized their big forwards to make the yards, and score the final try, 55-31.
Sutton & Epsom posted a formidable side with a heavy pack and big runners, though a dogged display and fighting spirit, along with fisher flair and quick thinking, won the day. Marlins finish third, and face Old Cats next week in the play offs, and bragging rights for the summer to play for!