After being a player short last week Mids had the luxury of not only having a full 15 but also 5 players on the bench as well as 1 over excited supporter!
The game was due to be played at Lime Meadow Avenue but late on Thursday a member of Chipstead’s committee had uncovered a rule that nobody else seemed to know! As we had conceded the original away fixture in the first half of the season the league states that the reverse fixture in the second half of the season should be switched!
As with most fixtures against Chipstead it was obvious from the start that this was not going to be one for the rugby purists! Up against their big pack this was going to be a physical challenge with the majority of play being kept tight rather than shipped out wide.
School boy Ben Vaillant, who is a regular face up at LMA as part of the cricket club, impressed from the Off in his first ever game of adult rugby! Like any good 7 he got under the skin of the opposition straight from the kick off and he refused to backdown as they whinged and moaned that he was disrupting their ball. He also carried ball well and should have been rewarded with the opening try of the game however the referee failed to notice that the ball was touched down as Vaillant stretched for the line when tackled short of it.
Mids continued to have chances and should have scored when Russell Jones took a crash ball however the ball was spilt as he crossed the line. However it was not long before Mids opened the scoring with a rare move that saw the ball shipped wide rather than being crashed through the middle of the park. Dave Bouchard was the recipient out wide who danced his way through for the try. John Broughton slotted the conversion from out wide.
Chipstead responded well and a succession of drives from around the base of the ruck allowed them to force their way up the pitch and eventually score in the corner.
Jack Horsbrough who had been Mids main ball carrier for the opening half hour of the game decide to run head first into a knee! Horsbrough came out second best and was forced to leave the field of play. Most people were expecting one of the 5 substitutes to come on in his place however Zouhair Mihramane who had come to support (as he is still meant to be recovering from surgery) suddenly appeared on the pitch!
Hooker Rishi Gohill also had to be withdrawn at half time due to a neck injury and was replaced by young prop Jason Hoffmann. It was Hoffmann’s first game of adult rugby and this was a real baptism of fire for him against a large experienced front row. However he showed no fear and rose to the challenge! With Gohill off the Mids set up for lineouts was some what unorthodox with scrum half Harry Bocking throwing the ball in, winger Tom Caplin moving into scrum half and hooker Jones switched to the wing!
A moment of magic moved Mids into the lead when evergreen fly half Broughton (senior) chipped the ball over the Chipstead defence. With a turn of pace Bruffy chased his own kick and gathered it on the bounce to run in under the post for the try. Bruffy handed the kicking duties to Bouchard as he needed a moment to recover from his exploits and Bouchard added two point to the scoreboard.
Mids had a number of chances to add to the score and came close when Rory Sawoolu-Cowie, one of four debutants for The Mids, was put into a space by Bocking however the covering defender stopped him with a last ditch tackle. Mids did eventually get a third try of the game when Mihramane showed good footwork to burst through the Chipstead defence. Broughton (senior) converted.
cial part as players hobbled off of the pitch.
Mids were by no means having it their own way and the Chipstead tight game kept Mids on their toes as the had to defend a heavy onslaught at ruck after ruck. Based on the final score Chipstead must have scored again, nobody has any recollection of the move that led to the try but I think it is safe to say it was through a forward drive from the base of the ruck rather than the ball being spun wide!
As Mids players put their bodies on the line the bench again played a crucial part as players hobbled off of the pitch.
As Mids ran the clock down a succession of penalties helped Chipstead drive their way down the pitch and with the last play of the game they forced their way over for a try and with the conversion kicked over by their hooker the final score was 21-19 to Mids.
Man of the match could have gone to a number of players. Mihramane made a huge impact from the bench. Young Trinity school boy Jack Broughton (son of Bruffy) impressed at fullback as the third member of the side playing their first ever game of senior rugby. Not only was his positional play spot on but he also showed a good turn of pace and some perfectly executed kicking from hand when needed. He even made a couple of good tackles so in only one game he has managed to achieve something his father never! It was however Vaillant who picked up MOM for his all action display.