Rampant OWs shoot down Hailey's Comets
By Rob Murphy
Old Walcountians made a mockery of the League positions when they convincingly beat second-placed Old Haileyburians at Clock House last Saturday.
The Counts banished the disappointment of the single point loss in their previous League match by getting off to a flying start with two tries in the opening five minutes. The first came in the opening minute when a textbook threequarter move saw the ball find its way to full-back Ross Norton who outstripped the Haileyburians defence to touch down. The second was a brilliant solo effort by scrum-half Seb Chmielinski who broke from a scrum on the Haileyburians 10-metre line and outsprinted the defence to touch down under the posts.
The visitors proved sterner opposition in the first half than the final score suggested. The Haileyburians pack was well-drilled and effective at retaining the ball, while fly-half Bill Taylor and full-back Peter Clarke were incisive runners who gave the Counts defence several problems. It was Taylor who reduced Walcountians’ lead to five points in the 20th minute as he strode through unopposed to score a try.
Walcountians squandered several good positions with wild passes and poorly-directed kicks which Haileyburians full-back Clarke accepted gleefully. But when Walcountians were in striking range, their finishing was clinical. Hooker Rob Fleming scored the Counts’ third try in the 23rd minute after driving over from a ruck on the Haileyburians line and, two minutes later, Seb Chmielinski scored his second try of the day when he wriggled his way through the ranks of defenders to touch down in the right hand corner.
Haileyburians continued to present an attacking threat and scored their second try in the 29th minute when their left-winger Tom Wapshott successfully rode an attempted tackle and touched down in the left hand corner.
The turning point of the match came in the seventh minute of the second half when Haileyburians lost one of their props and the match had to go to unopposed scrums. Walcountians scented blood and their pack completely drove their counterparts off the park. Thunderous driving runs by lock Will Thornton and props Jonny Evans and Remy Claustres repeatedly drove the Counts into the Haileyburians half of the field, while hooker Rob Fleming and flanker Tom Housden were responsible for several turnovers of possession in the loose. Behind the scrum, Seb Chmielinski was an ever-present threat, while the trio of midfield backs, Toby Bentley, Harry Wrightson and Charlie Hardman proceeded to stretch the Haileyburians backline to breaking point.
It was fly-half Toby Bentley who started the Walcountians tryfest in the eighth minute of the second half by breaking from the 10-metre line and outsprinting what was left of the Haileyburians defence to touch down under the posts. Nine minutes later, Seb Chmielinski scored his third try of the day with a break from the base of a set scrum.
Two more tries sealed a convincing victory for the Counts. The first, in the 26th minute, saw Seb Chmielinski set up replacement winger Jacob Oldfield to score in the right hand corner. The second came a minute from the final whistle when Walcountians took a quick tap penalty to set the threequarters in motion for centre Harry Wrightson to go over to touch down.
Saturday’s win has taken Walcountians up to fifth place in Surrey League 1 and they are now just three points behind Old Haileyburians in second place. If they sustain the form which has seen them score over 100 points in the last two home matches, promotion to London League 3 South West is a real possibility. The Counts next match is on 1 December when they take on struggling Old Wimbledonians at Coombe Lane, Raynes Park. Kick-off is at 2:15pm.
Old Walcountians:- Norton, Abou-Zeid, Hardman, Wrightson (H), Fletcher-Rogers, Bentley, Chmielinski, Evans, Fleming, Claustres, Thornton, McMullen, Adams, Housden, Wrightson (J).
Subs:- Henderson, Oldfield, Thomas.