Mill Hill Mauling
By Martin Lee
Where to start..
First and foremost, no excuses. Mill Hill were far superior on the day and thoroughly deserving of their victory. Disappointingly, we played nowhere near the standards we set ourselves earlier in the season in terms of structure and execution.
Having reviewed the match footage, things certainly aren’t all doom and gloom. During the first period we enjoyed lengthy spells of territory and possession but were unable to break down a home defence which had improved markedly since the two sides last met in 2016. Added to this Mill Hill have added some serious ballast to their pack meaning Watford’s more mobile forwards were constantly on the back foot at the set piece. The opening try saw a seemingly innocuous clearing kick from MH bounce in a way only a rugby ball can, and with the Watford defence wrong footed the chasing Mill Hill prop was able to gather and plough through despairing cover defence to score in the corner. MH soon added another couple, one an excellent break form their lock, the next from a debatable forward pass (refer to highlgihts…).
Watford were undoubtedly shell-shocked, however we reacted well and looked to take the game to the home side. Strong carries from Thibaut, Radish and Martin were making yards and whilst our scrum was still creaking we had managed to address issues at the breakdown and were starting to force penalties from the home side. A couple of 5m lineouts were held up just short, a penalty tapped and taken quickly seeing Hammill also narrowly missing out on a try.
With the opportunity gone, half time came and we were 17-0 down having also lost Scotty to what seemed to be a serious knee injury (hopefully not as bad as first appeared).
Unfortunately Mill Hill came out firing in the second half, their power game continuing to get the better of us. Watford began to fall off tackles, and were soon another few scores down after some heavy duty close-quarter carrying from the opposition. Whilst the situation was bleak, players were still stepping up to be counted. Clenners came on at half time and put in an exceptional shift, turning ball over and making numerous hits in an increasingly forlorn cause. Hammill stuck to the game plan, linking play well and Taters put in a great stint at 15 having relocated there to cover Scott’s injury. Two (?) further Mill Hill intercepts put some gloss on the scoreline, before Tathan went over in the corner during the final play for a consolation score.
All in all… a tough day at the office and one we hopefully learn from.
MotM – Martin Lee. Hard carries and some big hits.
WotW – Scotty Menzies. Our fastest pint drinker and we needed to take some consolation from the day (incidentally we won the pint downing 2-0. Moral victory).