OA's take the Bankers offer
OA's pick up their 2nd win of the season
by Josh Winduss
It was a sunny late September afternoon that greeted Deal & Betteshanger as they made their long trip to the capital to play Old Alleyenians. With both teams having won one and lost two of their opening encounters, Dulwich Park prepared for a fizzy early season encounter.
The opening minutes of play saw both teams settling into the game by trading possession in the midfield. Old Alleynians defence stood up to some testing hard lines from Deal’s robust forward runners. After some astute kicking, both from Henry Dewing at the base and Ed Nethersole at 10, the OA’s found themselves threatening the Deal try line. Over enthusiastic rucking from the Old Alleynian pack gave Ed Nethersole little option but to pull a ‘Goodey’ and go for the drop goal, which was nicely struck to make it 3-0.
The next passage of play up to half time saw a catalogue of uncharacteristic errors from Old Alleynians make the match more akin to a circus act than a quality London 2 South East encounter. Line-out arrows from Phil Dibble as straight as a Beckham free kick, hospital passes from Henry Dewing and Josh Winduss and Ed Nethersole executing a standard switch move as two trolleys would shuffle awkwardly past each other in the super market a few examples of the lack of accuracy. Some strong forward play from Deal and an opportunistic dive over the ruck, as a salmon would to its breeding grounds, saw the industrious number 12 score a well-deserved try for the visitors. 3-7 was the score at half time.
The second half saw a re-invigorated Old Alleynians XV score three tries and 19 unanswered points, as the fitness training during the week came to the fore. The first try came after sustained pressure in the Deal 22 was converted by a well-orchestrated back play that saw Dr Alasdair Henderson slice through the opposition centres and under the posts for seven points.
Those points proved to be the catalyst the OA's needed to kick start some more expansive play and as the changes were rung, some good structure and penetrative running kept Deal on the back foot. Up to the mark stepped Ibble Dibble, who made the most of good momentum to jink through multiple defenders in a run that was more Jonathan Joesph than Jamie George. Ed Nethersole added the extras for another maximum.
At 17-7, Deal were dealt an unfortunate blow with another injury that forced them down to 14, and the Alleynian back line took full advantage with strong off load play in the outside channels. After one such set of territory gaining phases, Wackha Wachman brilliantly broke the line and after what can only be described as a moment of severe disorientation put his head down towards the corner flag. Ed Nethersole couldn't navigate the angle with the conversion but that rounded off a strong second half performance from the home team: 22-7.
A special mention goes to the whole front row who scrummaged heroically against a heavyweight Deal pack, with Cameron Saunders fronting up superbly on debut and putting in some huge hits in the midfield, both perfectly timed and horrendously late. Another shout out to Patrick Stuff who impacted well after a lengthy metatarsal injury picked up in the depths of South East Asia - don't ask.
Next week the OA's make the long journey to the seaside as they take on Hove to round off the first bank of consecutive fixtures with another W.