OCRFC put together a dominant performance to secure themselves a Cup Semi.
iPhones were buzzing for the lucky few who survived the dreaded Friday night purge from OCRFC’s matchday group WhatsApp – “Game is ON, make sure you are ready”. After a week of subzero training session temperatures, Colfeians knew that their resolve would have to be ice cold to beat a fast and physical Horsham side in a Cup match that could have wide implications for OC’s league campaign.
The first 10 minutes of the match were tentative with both sides probing for territory and battling for ascendency in the collision area. The constant threat of Horsham’s backline had OC’s scrambling in defense, culminating in a lucky escape as the opposition winger failed to gather a kick and knocked the ball on over the try line.
The first points of the match came in the form a penalty, converted by Jack Potter with surgical precision. This tentative lead was to be cut short, however, as Horsham again caused OC’s problems in the wide channels and sprinted clear for a well-taken try. Score: 3-10.
Unshaken, OC’s worked their way back up the field with strong runs from Andy O’Malley and returning captain John Fletcher. Camped out on the Horsham 10 metre it was time for OC’s to exercise some of the famed ‘patience’ Luke is always talking about. 22 phases later some swift hands saw the Josh Doughty crash over the line out wide off the back of some attritional slow ball possession, hard fought and well earnt by the Old Colfiean pack. The score at the half had OC’s back on top, although through the slim margin of 10-7.
Memories of OC’s stonewall second-half defensive effort at Horsham earlier this year were quickly erased as the away side capitalised on some sloppy defending to run in two tries in quick succession. The scoreline now favored Horsham 10-21 and both teams knew the next score would be vital in deciding the momentum of the match. Potter’s restart was won back by Estefan Ellis and OC’s found themselves deep in Horsham territory. Quick ball allowed Chris O’Malley to ghost around the side of a ruck and offload to Fletcher who dotted the ball down under the sticks. Conversion added, score: 17-21.
The visitors were rattled and OC’s soon found themselves back in the Horsham 22 packing down to scrummage. The rock sold platform allowed the Colfiean backline the front foot ball to execute a move out of the often imitated, seldom replicated box formation and put Ellis through untouched. Score: 24-21.
The visiting side was broken and OC’s could smell blood. Hard running had Andy O’Malley surge deep into the opposition half and clinical work at the ruck allowed big man Dele to crash over the line and take the score to 31-21. Colfe’s were dominating the game, even Jack Potter put in some big hits and a Superbowl worthy strip sack. A quick-fire at the ruck allowed the home side to convert territory into points as Dan Wood trotted over the line to further extend his tally as leading try scorer. Horsham was still a constant threat and a consolation try allowed them to bring the scoreline back to an even 38-28.
A toughly fought contest, full of physicality and fine margins, the win now takes Old Colfeian’s run to 6 wins in a row and the thought of an upcoming Semi had all the boys excited in the showers after the match. But perhaps more satisfying, it was a chance to translate the commitment and hard work done on the training field into a performance the boys can be proud of. Shout out to Steve Howard on his comeback from injury and Fred Catterall for his 1st XV debut.
Back to league business this week, as OCRFC take on Dover at home.
Author – Andy Gale