Marlins make progress
By Julian Emmanuel
A highly competitive, and an open game of rugby, with much to cheer
Fortunately, this game between PJRFC marlins and Whitgift wonderer’s was not played behind closed doors, and attracted some keen supporters, and sponsors. The wonderer’s boasted a youthful side, against a mature marlin side, and this was apparent from kick off. The wonderer’s ventured into PJFRFC territory, though were held back through some ferocious tackling and competition at break downs, through Tempered Tony Mawer and Tom White, and in fact PJFRFC marlins had a good share of the possession, aided by colossal Kian MacNulty dominating the line outs. Marlins though struggled to clear up spilled ball, and in the ensuing confusion, counter attacks by Whitgift wonderer’s led to the first two scores, from deep within their own half, to lead 14-0. PJFRFC marlins pulled together, and took great strides forward through Nick Owen and Jamie Velderman in a new centre partnership, playing some wonderful open rugby. Fly half Norm Collier aka “Coulsdon Cipriani” did his best to jig and jive past a few in the opposition, and Whitgift did well to contain an advancing formidable PJFRFC pack. They were penalized for laying on the wrong side of the ruck, and a quick thinking, light footed Will Walters, took a quick tap and go, to score, 14-5. The ensuing passage of play was fiercely competed, and PJFRFC marlins utilized the width of the pitch well to move the ball left to right, with veteran Simon Cripps at 15 trying to release winger Tom Browne, with a weighted brush pass, only to be foiled by a cover tackle, by a mobile whitgift backline. An ensuing counter attack led to another converted try to the wonderer’s, and lead 21-5. PJFRFC were quick to reply, again the forwards setting a steady platform from a line out, which PJFRFC dominated on the day, and the backs worked the ball down to Foxy on the wing to score out wide, and narrow the lead 21-10. The wonderer’s were on the back foot, and PJFRFC’s game seemed to gather momentum, and PJFRFC made a few substitutions, and young Rhys Patterson , adding much needed weight, to the pack, and releasing Jules, the shortest second row, to play in the backs. PJFRFC were trying to settle into a rhythm, but were thwarted by individual brilliance from the the half back combination and the centre combination, culminating in the out-side centre making a 40 yard dash. Zig- sagging past several players to score out wide, and finish the half 26-10.
PJFRFC, started the second half quite promisingly, and camped in the opposition half for over 15 minutes, though failed to convert this pressure into points. PJFRFC, came close with Dave Mole, Tom White and Matt Hanlon, the front three taking strides towards the line, though failing to off load the ball before contact, seemed to be a recurring theme. Though the pressure did eventually pay off, and after Will Walters was brought down, and a ruck set up 10 yards from the line, Aden managed to get the ball out wide to Jules, who put Nick Owen through for a converted try under the post , and bring back the score 26-17. The game seemed evenly poised, with 10 minutes remaining. The wonderer’s found individual brilliance again, just at the right time, to come back with a score, aided by some lack-luster tackling, by a tired and mature Marlins, culminating in two successive scores to the wonderer’s back line, to wrap up the game 40-17.
Marlins would be pleased, but disappointed, though every week seems a step in the right direction. Marlins were also pleased to be sporting their new kit, sponsored by Sue Mole, and Travel counselors. Marlins travel to Old Reigatians next week.