Seymour's Army March On
By Neil Pemberton
Old Walcountians 2nd XV can't stop winning but they are keeping their feet firmly on the ground
Report by The Shaven Monkey
Seymours Army arrived at the rain soaked Cats pitches with one of their best line-ups of the season for this table topping encounter. The planets known as Russ (the Fun Bus) Carson, and Ben Anderson, aligned to give the front row a himilayan look.
After a short warm up (or was that cool down) in the near horizontal rain, the teams lined up for this huge game for both clubs.
The weather was to play a big part in this game, with Cats choosing to start with the strong wind at their backs. The opening rallys were, expectedly, a slippery affair, with both teams losing control of the soap-bar-like ball. Cats were pinning Wals in their 22, courtesy of the wind, but immense tackling throughout the team kept Cats at bay.
Add to this the OW pack were dominant in both scrum and line-out, with Pie Richardson winning ball after ball on the Cats put in, James “Freakin” Deakin winning Cats lineout, and excellent “darts” on our own line-out. This provided a solid platform to start moving up the park, where Cats gave away a penalty just inside their 22. Andy “Seymour” Gill chose to go for the lineout rather than the posts, but despite a successful catch and drive this did not secure any points. 20 mins gone, still 0-0.
Again Wals crawled up the park, from their own 22, with some excellent crash ball from Heath Bateman, Jake “Gaybar” Ayres, and Chris “Walshy” Walsh, eventually securing another penalty in Cats 22, courtesy of a rolling maul brought down deliberately (which was to be Cats primary source of defence to the maul for the whole game). Seymour chose to kick for the posts this time, with “first blood” to OWs. 3-0 up.
All this being said, Cats were a well drilled team, with a flowing back line, and some passionate support and coaching. This came to its fore in the latter stages of the first half, when an excellent back line move seemed destined for a try, but for Heath to put in a try saving tackle, dumping the Cats centre out to touch.
But they came again, and slipping a couple of tackles put them in for a try next to the touch line. The weather continuing to play its part, the conversion was doomed to failure from this far out, and the half ended 5-3 to Cats.
A couple of changes at half time, with Ben “Prettyboy” Mcdaniel, making his comeback after injury, coming on for Andrew Daniels, who had dominated and scared his opposite number for the whole of the first half, and McKenzie Browne on for Steve “The Bosh” Simmonds who had handled the oppositions 21 year olds like a tinder date!
The half time team talk revolved around the positives of only being 2 down with the wind advantage, and that we needed to pin them in their 22, and that is exactly what we did.
From kick off, the wind set us off into their 22, and there we camped. Line-out after line-out won, driven, Cats bringing down the rolling maul again and again, some line breaks by the inside centres, but no points 20 mins into the second half. Any other team might have tried to force the points, but this confident OWs 2s kept their heads, kept to the game plan, and it was Cats that gave way with their 2nd row receiving a yellow for, yet again, bringing down the maul.
OWs then took their chance, a knock on from Cats gave us a scrum in their 22, a solid set, and Mackenzie down peeled off at no 8, and ran through two covering tackles to score a try just outside of the posts. Seymour missed the resulting conversion, but the score now stood at 8 points to 5 in Wals favour.
The kick off gave Cats their first foray into the OWs half, and when working the ball back into Cats 22, Ben McDaniel went back on to the injured list, with a knee injury (which was tended to by Cats Physio, thanks go out). On came Sam O’Brien as a second replacement in this position.
Once play had restarted, OWs had the bit between their teeth. A kick from Cats in to the OWs half allowed Walshy to get his hands on the ball, linking with O’Brien on a loop round, and out by the touchline he ran in a try, knocking off 3 tackles on the way. The referee queried whether his foot was in touch, but the Cats linesman (also their coach) was magnanimous in agreeing that a good try was scored. Gill slotted the conversion from out wide, and with the scores at 15-5 the Counts were 2 scores ahead with 10 to go.
Mark “Shaven Monkey” Back was brought on for the impressive Pie, ensuring all team members were used, and OWs continued in the oppo’s 22. Back hit a line-out low in to Deakins chest, and the resulting rolling maul was again brought down. The tap penalty was popped to Carson, who hit the line, performed a pirouette worthy of Wayne Sleep, and touched down for the Counts 3rd try.
Gill was unable to convert from out wide against the wind, 20-5. The following whistle to bring proceedings to an end gave OWs 2s another victory, and they remain unbeaten since 1st November. Handshakes with the oppo, chest bumps for the victors, changing room jugs bought by the injured Rob Grehan and the obligatory #SeymoursArmy selfie.
Honourable mentions are required for several of the team, with winger Spencer Moorhead and full back George Shaw having a chilly quiet game due to the conditions, Pete PC10 Cowlin had their no 10 rattled all game and kept his cool under immense provocation, some fantastic work by James “the Scaff” Tutton at the breakdown, and some great running lines (as always) by Stu “Jinkin” Jenkins.
3 games remain, and OWs 2s are spending their 9th week at the top of the pile. There is no let up though, a single loss in this run in, and the door could be opened to Old Cats, or even Old Johnians, who we play away on 21st March.
1.B Anderson, 2. I Richardson (Back 70), 3. R Carson, 4. P Cowlin, 5. J Deakin, 6. J Tutton, 7. S Jenkins, 8. S Simmonds (Browne 40) 9. A Gill (c.), 10. J Ayres, 11. S Moorhead, 12. H Bateman, 13. C Walsh, 14. A Daniels (McDaniel 40, O’Brien 55), 15. G Shaw
Subs: B McDaniel, M Browne, M Back, S O’Brien (all used)
Tries: Browne, Walsh, Carson
Conversions: Gill x 1
Penalties: Gill x 1