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Surrey U16s Presidents Cup Final Effingham & Leatherhead U16s v Old Wimbledonians U16s

By David Doran

Match report from Adrian Humphries

Old Wimbledonian Warriors starting XV:
15 Archie Brosch (capt); 14 Nathan Flannery, 13 Leon Davies, 12 Luca Buttaci, 11 Jaden Eguaibor; 10
Sonny Nicoll, 9 Harry Gibbons; 1 Neo Sibal, 2 Harry Whyman, 3 Harry Humphries, 4 Josh Fagan, 5
Padraig Finn, 6 Joe Scrivener, 7 Max Covill, 8 Caleb Acquah.
Luke Curtis; Christopher Graham-Ozanne; Charlie Hellings; Jayden Hutchings; Alex Paton; Chris
Serra; Federico Willems.
By Adrian Humphries
EADS were held high in Dorking as the Old Wimbledonians U16s fought back to draw 12-12
with Effingham & Leatherhead in the final of the Surrey Proxime Waterfall President’s Cup
on the first Sunday in April. Roger Brosch’s team, who had been pipped by the Eagles in the
U14 President’s Cup final in Esher in 2017, were more than a match for Effingham & Leatherhead
once they found their stride in the second half.
Both sides were missing a couple of players due to Harlequins academy commitments - the Old
Wimbledonians were denied the services of regular No. 8 Nathan Jibulu and occasional visitor
Cassius Cleaves. But despite a slow start to this year’s title decider, one which was to ultimately cost
the Warriors the chance to call themselves Surrey champions, the way the Old Wimbledonians
performed in the wake of Roger’s half-time team talk suggests the Raynes Park side are still the best
in the county when they’re on their game.
The Warriors started the first of the season’s important finals playing downhill at the Big Field’s
number one pitch. Effingham & Leatherhead were put under early pressure but Chris Sheasby’s
Eagles fended off the Old Wimbledonians with some robust tackles, which were to become a feature
of the clash. With the Warriors’ first attack unfortunately coming to nothing, the Eagles then pushed
upfield themselves and crossed into the OWs’ half. After a few stops and starts, the Eagles kept
possession well and deservedly notched the game’s opening try. A simple conversion gave E&L a 7-0
The Warriors then pushed downhill again, but it was a nervy start from the OWs with basic handling,
passing and timing errors committed. The lineouts were coming up short too and the Warriors
desperately needed to get themselves played into the match. Sadly, the OWs’ second sortie fizzled
out well before the Eagles’ tryline and the well-drilled E&L XV attacked again in the direction of the
scarp just as a few drops of rain fell.
Following another Warriors lineout, which also didn’t go to plan, an Eagles player burst through and
went close to crossing over. E&L pressed again but some resolute defending from the OWs, which
has been one of this team’s many trademarks down the years, kept out their opponents.
Warriors fans pitchside were understandably miffed that referee Gez Slann had either missed or
failed to punish a total of three Eagles knock-ons. The Dorking RFC arbiter threatened punishment
after spotting the second felony but, alas, the yellow card remained in his pocket. As the half-time
whistle went a number of heads were down, but considering the Old Wimbledonians had achieved
little of note in the first half they should have been delighted to be trailing by just one converted try.
What a difference a break makes! The body language was immediately different on the resumption
and after a quick-fire volley of purposeful attacks, orchestrated by the masterful Luca Buttaci at
centre, stand-in No. 8 Caleb Acquah notched the OWs’ first try. Captain Archie Brosch kicked a
beautiful conversion to make it 7-7 and finally the paying public (well, actually the car park attendant
at Dorking RFC was nowhere to be seen) had a match on.
Everything was now going right and the forwards were combining beautifully on the pitch. The
Warriors’ pressure continued and with an Eagles player on the verge of being caught offside, Archie
sensed the opportunity and went around the opponent with ease to touch down and give the OWs
the lead for the first time at 7-12.
The Warriors’ travelling army was ecstatic, but Effingham & Leatherhead’s response was immediate
and after a clever kick-through with the OWs failing to safeguard the ball, the Eagles levelled at 12-
12. In the last quarter of the game, with the scores and the try count level, the Warriors were
informed by organisers that the Eagles would take the title if it finished all square by virtue of
Sheasby’s side having scored the opening try.
The Warriors creditably pressed on in search of a winner. After a fine run from Jaden Eguaibor, who
offloaded the ball beautifully to Archie - sadly the attack was not consummated - it was soulaffirming
to hear an Eagles fan pitchside describe the passage of play as “great rugby”. With ten
minutes remaining, Chris Serra replaced Nathan Flannery while Jayden Hutchings was given a runout
at flanker - with Joe Scrivener moving to second row - when Padraig Finn sustained a leg injury.
But try as they might, the valiant Warriors couldn’t breach the E&L defence one further time and the
ref’s whistle went for the end of the match.
The post-final man-of-the-match vote on the rugby union app Teamer was a solid one, with almost
two-thirds pressing in favour of Luca. This echoed entirely the thoughts of head coach Roger, who
said afterwards: "It was a superb effort from the Warriors, who played magnificently in the second
half. The forwards, in particular, were brilliant after the interval and really took it to Effingham &
Leatherhead. I’m very proud of the whole squad.”
Result: Effingham & Leatherhead (7) 12 Old Wimbledonians (0) 12
Warriors scorers:
Tries: Acquah, Brosch.
Conversion: Brosch.

Updated 13:46 - 29 Apr 2019 by David Doran

Where next?

Old Wimbledonians Warriors U16s v Farnham U16s Match Report A comprehensive report from wordsmith Adrian Humphries, some familiar names!! Nangle Curtis, Brosch, Acquah.


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