Teddies a picnic for Magdalen

first_imgON a sunny October afternoon in the University Parks, newly promoted Magdalen showed the first division that they are here to stay with a solid victory over a disappointing Teddy Hall side that was lacking structure and composure. Magdalen, fresh from a convincing victory over St. Hugh’s, were looking to make it three wins out of four in their first season in the top division for some time; and their opponents, Teddy Hall, after two poor losses to Keble and Catz, had last week shown glimpses of the Hall sides of old, ripping St. Peter’s to shreds with quality running rugby. The visitors started the strongest; with South African fly half Andrew Barnes putting Teddy Hall under pressure with a series of long probing kicks. Fifteen minutes in, their territorial advantage told when Hall conceded a penalty for holding on under the shadow of their own posts, which Barnes slotted to make it 3-0. Teddy Hall responded brightly, fly half Will Stevens drifted off a pass, dummied and then cut through a hole in the midfield defence. Drawing the fullback, he floated an inviting pass to winger Pete Cay, who stormed onto it only to be dragged down inches from the line by a great covering tackle. This was a defining moment of the game as Hall’s pressure was not converted into points, and Magdalen were able to clear their lines. Barnes then began to completely dominate the game, scything breaks through desperate Hall tackles were interspersed with two sublime penalties to make it 9-0, one of which was struck from the half way line and chillingly reminiscent of Francois Steyn’s kick in Stade de France a few weeks ago. The increasingly confident fly half then ghosted through the Hall defence to release David Williams who touched down under the posts. A solitary Stevens penalty was all Hall could reply with, trailing 19-3 at the break. A more spirited Hall emerged after half time, but again could not convert possession and territory into points, lacking consistency and ruthlessness all over the pitch. Magdalen looked comfortable in defence, and after a kick by Stevens failed to reach touch, counter attacked clinically to touch down in the corner, scored and converted by their dominant fly half. Again, all Hall could reply with was another Stevens penalty to make the final score 24-6 to Magdalen. The first division new boys took their chances and were deserved winners, being superior in most facets of the game; a point grudgingly admitted by Hall captain Phil Satterhwaite. “We were second all over the park”, he said.Magdalen, looking forward to their final game of the league season, now know that if their forwards do not get out-muscled by the Keble pack, they could produce an upset. Hall, with three defeats out of four, now face the task of beating St Hugh’s next week or making history by being the first Hall side to be relegated from the first division. After the surprsie relegation of St. Peter’s this time last year, could the unthinkable be about to happen again?last_img read more