Wanderers defeat SCC in tight encounter
On what was a rare cold, drizzling, day in Singapore Wanderers took to the historic Padang to take on an SCC side attempting to recover from 2 losses in their first two games.
Both teams were at full strength, and came out fast and hard in the opening exchanges. SCC, returning the kick off made their way over the half way line to earn a penalty for offside just outside the 22, their kicker slotting the 3 points. Wanderers responded well however, and after some good phases from the Forwards directed by Damien Hoo at 9 and debutant Tommy Ingram at 10 earned their own penalty near the SCC 22m line. Robbie MacGregor narrowly slotting wide.
With the drizzly weather and constant unpunished slowing of the ball in the rucks by SCC causing the game to become a attritional affair, both sides started to play a more territorial kick chase style game. The Wanderers pack led by the front row of Alvin Ho and David Gull were putting immense pressure on the SCC pack at scrum time, however some frustrating referee calls denied them what should have been more than one penalty in the first half. With the SCC pack twice popping up, and not getting punished for wheeling and kicking the ball out from number 8 Murray Campbell’s legs more than once.
Around the 30minute mark, hard running by back rows Sebastian Murphy, and Fathur Raman and hooker Matt Humphreys made some inroads into the SCC half, and after a series of attacking lineouts Wanderers made the breakthrough. Humphreys surprising the SCC lineout with a quick checkout ball to Robbie Rhia and taking the return pass to dive over in the corner, MacGregor again narrowly missing the extras.
SCC responded as expected and put some pressure on the Wanderers line after a deep kick from a penalty had put them into the Wanderers 22. However big defence from the Wanderers pushed the SCC forward pack back time and again, eventually forcing a turnover in a ruck 5m out enabling them to clear their lines. Unfortunately SCC did manage to get a penalty 5 minutes later to put them into half time with the score 5-6 to SCC.
The 2nd half was much the same as the first, both sides defending well with no real clean breaks due to the impressive line speed and defence from both sides. With poor accuracy and handling also costing both sides an momentum at key times. However after freshening up the front row with Uncle Hasif and Randall around the 60min mark the Wanderers started making some more inroads in SCC territory as SCC started to tire. And after Robbie MacGregor kicked well to the corner, SCC messed up their lineout, Fathur stealing the ball and driving his way over the line for another opportunistic try, MacGregor finally adding some extras!
SCC as always fought back, and after Wanderers switched off from the kick off, SCC pumped the ball up field and put some pressure on the Wanderers line. They nearly scored after a dropped ball was kicked through by the SCC winger, leading to a footrace between him and captain Murray Campbell, thankfully for Muzza the winger knocking on over the line after he was done for pace. Stern defence 5minutes later on their line held SCC at bay and earning a defending scrum 5 metres out. Unfortunately Wanderers suffered a blow as the scrum collapsed and loosehead Randall got his foot stuck in the turf as it twisted sadly breaking his ankle. After the ambulance had taken him away and Wanderers had reshuffled, subbing back on the experienced Gull in his place, Wanderers roared forward and blitzed the SCC scrum, pushing them back 5 meters and earning a penalty to clear their lines.
As both teams tired Wanderers were able to push back SCC after some tireless work from the forwards, earning a penalty outside the 22 (missed by MacGregor), then shortly after earning a 2nd penalty thankfully slotted putting the Wanderers more than a converted try ahead. This turned out to be beneficial as after once again falling fowl to the ref’s poor interpretation of scrum rules, followed by SCC earning a debatable penalty after David Gull’s sloppy turnover was rightfully pinged for hands in the ruck. SCC tapped and went and after 4 phases cut back and managed to score at the death, with the conversion being the last act of the game to leave the score finishing at 15-13 to Wanderers.
Overall as coach Frazer put it, a win is a win, and it keeps up the momentum before next weeks game against Bucks.
Man of the Match – Matthew Humphreys