Counts march on with another win
By Rob Murphy
Old Walcountians moved up to fourth in Surrey League 1 after a comfortable victory against third-placed Old Haileyburians last Saturday.
The Counts were made to work hard for their win by a useful Haileyburians XV but, in the first 15 minutes, dominated possession and territory through their hard-working pack of forwards, with Rob Fleming, Remy Claustres, Will Thornton and Joe Henderson all impressing, while scrum-half Seb Chmielinski had a magnificent match directing play with his razor-quick distribution and searching tactical kicks. They were however prevented from crossing the Haileyburians line by a solid home defence and were limited to a penalty by centre Charlie Hardman to open their account.
Walcountians were forced to defend their line in a 10-minute spell as a resurgent Haileyburians XV found their rhythm but it was the Counts who scored again in the 27th minute when fly-half Harry Wrightson opened up the home defence with a mazy run before touching down for a try. Charlie Hardman, forced into kicking duties in the absence of Ross Norton, added the conversion and a penalty in the 35th minute to give the Counts a 13-point lead at half-time.
Walcountians suffered a significant setback in the opening minute of the second half when full-back Jacob Oldfield dislocated his shoulder and had to leave the field. The temporary loss of a player provided Haileyburians with the opportunity to put their right-winger in for a try.
However, the rest of the match belonged to Walcountians who asserted their dominance of the match. Seven minutes into the half, they extended their lead when flanker Joe Henderson drove into the Haileyburians 22 to set up a ruck, from which the ball was released to Seb Chmielinski who found winger Marvin Fletcher-Rogers out wide to round the home defence and touch down for a try. Charlie Hardman again added the conversion.
Harry Wrightson, who had enjoyed a productive afternoon as playmaker, sealed victory for the Counts in the 34th minute as he ran onto a pass from Joe Henderson and raced past the tiring Haileyburians defence for a converted try.
Walcountians were unlucky not to have added a fourth try in stoppage time when No8 Jonny Evans drove for the line from a ruck but was judged not to have grounded the ball.
The Counts have a slender chance of making the promotion play-offs, but it will be a considerable challenge as they are 12 points adrift of second-placed Weybridge Vandals and face a difficult run-in with matches against Vandals and the runaway leaders Reeds Weybridge. Next Saturday, they take on Old Mid-Whitgiftians in a match which has already been rearranged twice because of their opponents’ Junior Vase commitments. The kick-off time at Clock House has yet to be confirmed as it may be moved because the final round of the Six Nations Championship is taking place on the same day.
Old Walcountians:- Oldfield, Fletcher-Rogers, Hardman, Abou-Zeid (D), Vadivelu, Wrightson, Chmielinski, Abou-Zeid (A), Fleming, Claustres, Thornton, Le Masurier, Henderson, Housden, Evans.
Subs:- Harris, Stylianou, Thomas.