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Old Caterhamians RFC v Old Wimbledonians 24 February 2024

Old Caterhamians RFC v Old Wimbledonians 24 February 2024

Callum Buchan28 Feb - 16:01
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Following their away victory the previous week against local rivals Purley John Fisher...

Saturday the 24th of February saw Old Caterhamians RFC back on home soil as they faced visitors Old Wimbledonians RFC.

Earlier in the season, the reverse fixture saw Cats take home a hard fought 17-24 victory. It was a close affair between the two promoted teams and the same intensity was expected at Park Avenue.

Showing their intent, Cats took an early lead two minutes into the game. From a solid lineout Tom Clayton broke through a tackle and off-loaded for flanker Paul Briant to touch down. Tom then marked his 50th senior outing for the club by slotting home the extras to put Cats 7-0 up.

Eight minutes later Wimbledonians pulled the score round to 7-5 with an unconverted try.

But Cats fought back from a scrum on the opposition 5 metre line followed by three phases of pick and go which culminated in Paul Briant’s second try. The two points were added to put Cats 14-5 ahead.

Cats then went further ahead with an opportunist try. A Zach Rhodes box kick evaded the opposition and bounced favourably into the arms of Alex Criscuolo who sprinted from just inside the halfway line to score. Adding the two successful conversion points, Cats were purring at 21-5.

Cats forwards scrummaged superbly throughout the match and the bonus point was secured thanks to their excellent work rate. From the opposition five metre line their driving maul took the ball over the try line for Sam Lloyd to score.

Cats were now 26-5 up and playing some of their best rugby of the season so far. Within a minute of the restart, Tom Clayton picked up a loose ball, beat two chasers to run in the fifth try and also secure the extras. 33-5 was looking very healthy.

Tom then put three more points on the board from a penalty gained by skipper Oscar Nye’s turnover.

Almost on half time, Wimbledonians put Cats under pressure close to the try line with a constant barrage of attacks. Cats defence held tight until finally a penalty try was awarded to the visitors to make it 36-12 at the break.

The second half remained scoreless for sometime while Cats continued to press and eventually their fitness, skill and shear determination shone through as they began to pile on the points.

First up, from a scrum on the opposition 5 metre line, the boys worked a couple of phases before Sam Lloyd fed the ball to Alex Criscuolo for his second try and with a successful conversion the lead was now 43-12.

Cats went further ahead straight from the Wimbledonian restart. Matthew Wilson carried hard and through good handling down the line the ball reached Tom Clayton. He drew in a defender and flicked a pass to replacement winger George Nye who ran on to score. Two more points were added with the conversion and the lead increased to 50-12.

There was still time for more. From the opposition 22, Cats excellent handling fed Oscar Nye who went on one of his typical maundering runs shrugging off at least five defenders to nearly score one of the tries of the season. Amazingly he was held up inches from the line but the resulting ruck saw Theo Kenyon pass the ball to winger Kristian Taylor who scored.

Tom Clayton ended a successful day with the boot, two points added from his conversion and a 57-12 victory for Cats was confirmed as the game drew to a close.

Full Time Score: Old Caterhamians 57-12 Old Wimbledonians
This was a resounding win for the lads, in what was collectively their best performance of the season. Credit all round, no points conceded in the second half and a bonus point to boot. A joy to watch!

Following this overwhelming outing Cats remain in 3rd spot in the Counties 2 Surrey League table but are now 5 points clear of 4th placed Chipstead, with 4 games still to play.

Cats welcome Old Blues RFC to Park Avenue on Saturday 2nd March, a team they defeated 11-22 in the reverse fixture back in November last year.

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