Waid Academy FP 29, Madras 27
In the league so far this season, two teams have stood out, scoring bucket loads of points past the oppositions that they have faced – Madras and Waid.
Last weekend, the teams occupying the top spots in the table clashed at Station Park in a double header for top spot in the league and the David Joy Vase, which is contested annually between the two teams and was held by Madras.
Waid instantly nullified the home advantage, bringing their own large and boystrous crowd.
The coin was tossed and Madras had the kick-off, playing towards Gaurdbridge. A poor start for Madras saw the kick-off claimed comfortably by Waid and they kicked the ball long down field, where a combination of a mix-up between the Madras wing and full-back and an awkward bounce saw the ball in the hands of the chasing Waid player who, with no defence ahead of him, stretched his legs to score an easy try.
Madras came back hard at Waid with some strong forward play, up against the very physical and well-drilled Waid defence, to set up a ruck on the left side of the opposition’s 22.
From here, the ball was distributed to the backs, where a combination of silky passing from Mark Methven and Daniel Cooper saw Sam Wilson set off down the wing.
Tackled just five metres short, Wilson presented well for hooker Rab Jack to pick and go over in the corner for his first try of the season.
Now a little fired up, Madras put all the pressure on Waid, with a slicing backs move and sublime step seeing Mark Methven cross for a try.
The intensity of the game just seemed to rise as time passed. Madras extended their lead with great line of running from the big centre Keasi Buakula, who split the defence to score his first of the game.
With the half drawing to an end, the opposition were piling on the pressure but the Madras defence was holding strong until what appeared to be a forward pass enabled the Waid centre to crossed the line. The half- time score was Madras 17, Waid 12.
Once again, Madras started in poor fashion, failing to deal with the kick off and losing possession.
The Anstruther team applied a lot of forward pressure before scoring off a well-worked backs move. Following the pattern of the first half, Madras charged back up the field and, after a period of sustained pressure, Buakula bulldozed over for his second try of the match.
In what was turning into a punch for punch competition, Waid hit back with another try. Then it was Madras’ turn. A fantastic backs move saw Dan Cooper break through. Great support play saw him offload to Robbie Ealand, who took it on further before offloading to Graham Smith, who was brought down inside the Waid 22.
The ball was moved quickly from the ruck and taken in by a pod of forwards to set up a ruck on the five-metre line. Scrum half Jon Methven dummied a pass and powered over for a try.
With only five minutes left, Waid came back with a vengeance, playing smart rugby, retaining possession through hard and intense forward play.
The Madras defence seemed to be coping well with the onslaught until a penalty was given away on the Madras five-metre line.
As the defence retreated to the try line, the penalty was taken quickly and the opposition hooker bundled over for a try in the corner.
With the Score now at 27-27, as all previous kicks had been missed in the second half, it was all down to the boot of the Waid kicker from right out on the touchline.
Agonisingly for Madras, the ball crept over the bar, securing a Waid win.
Afterwards, the Madras skipper said: “I am brutally disappointed for the boys. We played well in what, overall, was a very good and entertaining game of rugby.
“We know the areas where we let ourselves down and we will just have to learn from this.
“At the start of this season, we didn’t know if we were going to have a team, so to be here three games in isn’t a bad situation, however bad it feels.”