A big thank you to Neil Sinclair for providing us with this match report from last Saturday’s Met Police Rugby Team’s fixture at Imber Court.
Police Go Second With Nailbiting Victory Over Old Johnians
In the last league game before the long Christmas break, The Met played newly promoted Old Johnians from Leatherhead. It was a fitting bookend to the year, the two clubs having met in the Surrey Cup on the first weekend of January. Like the first game, this was a very close affair.
The Met have often been accused of slow starts this season but were quickly on the scoreboard, chasing their own kick off and putting together great play between the pack before Jamie O’Sullivan collected a chip over the top of the on-rushing defence to touch down for a try, duly converted by JJ. Connolly.
It was fortunate that The Met had such a good start. Old Johnians dominated from the restart and scored two tries in very similar positions, to the left of the Met’s posts. Neither try was converted but with less than 15 minutes gone, the visitors found themselves 10-7 ahead, soon extended when Cormac Healy was penalised for not getting to his feet before playing the ball after a tackle.
The Met regrouped and played some fine rugby of their own, again utilising ball carrying from the forwards combined with the pace of the outside backs; Will Jay was particularly outstanding, his pace and angles taking the Met deep into Old John’s territory. The Met stormed back into the ascendancy with three unanswered tries of their own. Will Jay, JJ Connolly and Chris Kiernan crossed the line to secure the bonus point for four tries before half time. It was an uncharacteristic day from the tee for Connelly, but the Met still turned around with a 24 to 13 lead.
The second half continued with the Met still dominating the game and two further tries were added. Excellent turnover ball was used to maximum advantage and coolly finished off by Richard Baldwin and Dylan Richards. Connelly added one conversion, making the score line 36 to 13, and the lead seeming unassailable.
But Old Johnians weren’t prepared to give up. Scoring a try of their own which edged them closer to their bonus try point, and an unlikely come back was underway. Still in a commanding position The Met were reveling in the Imber Court floodlights which so brilliantly illuminated an otherwise gloomy Surrey afternoon. But Old John’s still caught the Police napping and grabbed another converted try to bring themselves within two scores at 36 to 25.
And so it was that when the Met were awarded a penalty more or less in front of the posts on the visitors’ 22, Skipper Hall chose the option to kick for goal. Connelly nailed the simple three points and the Met’s cushion was once again a comfortable 14 points. Possibly The Met thought the game was ‘in the bag’ . Old Johnians had other ideas and brought the game to a nervy climax. A penalty and a converted try closed the gap to a single goal. As the scoreboard clock ticked past the 40, Old Johnians worked the ball into the Met’s right corner and surged over for their sixth try. Fortunately for the home side, the conversion drifted across the front of the posts and they remained two points to the good. From the restart and less than 2 minutes on the ref’s watch Old Johnians attacked the wide spaces where they had latterly had so much success. But a knock-on by Johnians’ centre gave Met the put-in at the final set-piece from which the ball was belted over the crowd for a nail-biting 39-37 victory.
It was two great performances and both sides fully deserved their Christmas Socials after a wonderful display of all round rugby.
The Met take a winter break now and are back in league action on Saturday 14th January 2017 away at Old Guildfordians hoping to carry on their charge in Surrey 3.