Last gasp try denies Counts victory
By Rob Murphy
Old Walcountians were narrowly denied victory against a full-strength Old Paulines XV when the hosts levelled the score in the last minute.
Walcountians knew they would be in for a testing afternoon against opponents from a higher League, but they opened the match in commanding form, with No 8 Joe Henderson, flanker Tom Housden and scrum-half Jack South driving play forward. Walcountians pinned Paulines back in their own 22 and, from this territorial advantage, opened the scoring after two minutes with a penalty from fly-half Tom Harrison. In the tenth minute, Walcountians went further ahead when centre Tom Naylor broke through the Paulines defence to touch down for a try converted by Harrison.
Paulines began to respond to Walcountians’ challenge and increasingly got back into the game. Both their pack and backs looked cohesive and provided Walcountians with a searching challenge.They reduced the arrears with a penalty from their fly-half after 12 minutes and, in the 26th minute, drew levelwhen they scored a try after a Walcountians clearance kick was charged down. But Walcountians were far from finished and, in the 41st minute, regained the lead after they were awarded a penalty try.
Through much of the second half, Paulines showed why they are a League higher than Walcountians as they got a greater share of the ball. However, they were unable to break down a solid Walcountians defence which refused to buckle. However, Walcountians did themselves no favours by conceding a stream of penalties and, it was from ground gained from a penalty that Paulines finally broke through in stoppage time to score a converted try which levelled the score.
Walcountians however can be encouraged from their performance in two friendlies against sides from higher Leagues, which bodes well for the forthcoming season. Their Surrey League 2 campaign opens next Saturday when they take on Old Emanuel. Kick off at Emanuel’s ground, Blagdons at New Malden, is at 3pm.
Old Walcountians:- Beales, Eglon, Wright, Naylor, Drinkwater, Harrison, South, Bell (Dan), Fleming, Cowlin, Bell (Dom), Brown, Evans, Housden, Henderson.