Recent successes in the U16 Johor Rugby Circuit led to the finals on the 25th August. MCM sent its First X out to Kluang to do battle and, after one loss and three victories, picked up its first rugby silverware, the bowl. Below is Ameer Chughtai and Tim Wu-Murphy’s account of an historic day.
L W G Walters
Master ic rugby
After a quiet bus journey through the winding roads of the Malaysian countryside, MCM arrived at Sekolah Menengah Sains Johor just after sunrise. There wasn’t any time to waste and we were warming up the minute upon arrival. The first game, our game, was against the home team. The whistle blew and from the first second, we found out how physical SMSJ was. It wasn’t long until the first and second try came. MCM managed to hold out with only conceding two tries by half time. After a valiant effort from the squad, we were clearly outmatched, and the match ended with a final score of 17-0.
Game 2 was against MRSM Batu Pahat. One of the most important, this game which would decide whether we would play for the bowl or not. Minutes into the first half, Wu-Murphy gave the call for a loop, and it was executed perfectly, going from R. Tan to Wu-Murphy to Chughtai then to A. Igwe, finally coming back to Chughtai on his outside. After that he was off and there was no stopping him, letting him dive for the try. Not long after, ‘green ball’ (a call for the backs) was called and the move ‘rock & shadow’ was called. Then with an inside pop to A. Igwe led to a second try in the corner. The second half started off with intense open play. Again, we found ourselves in the oppositions 22. Another loop allowed the backline to gain an overlap out wide and Chughtai did a ‘Sonny-Bill’ style offload to Wu-Murphy, unfortunately stopped at his tracks only metres out. A few more blind side passes, then simple hands through the forwards and into McNamara’s hands allowed him to step back inside and drop over the line. With only a minute to go, after the restart, our defenses slipped, letting an opposition through and they were under the posts, leading to a final score 15-7.
In the next game, we kicked off again and our forwards tore into opposition forward pack. Quicker and more agile, the Blues pack seized the loose ball. Scrum half R. Tan, in an act of pure strength, ran blind and sent the opposition player flying only to be eventually taken down just before the try line. Hooker Hewison, quick to the breakdown, muscled through the opposition defence to get Marlborough first try of the match. Marlborough continued to press the match all through the first half, constantly battering the SMK BP’s line. Eventually the whistle brought an end to the one sided first half. The second half brought a change in the tide as SMK BP brought a period of pressure on MCM. This culminated in a controversial yellow card for Rory Tan for an alleged spear tackle. Marlborough managed to get back into the opposition half only for SMK to score a breakaway try at the death. Marlborough celebrated a game well won and a passage to the finals with final glory in sight.
The long-awaited final for which Marlborough had trained hard for was finally here. Marlborough were on the offensive at the get go with a smart lineout move from the forwards letting Buddell storm over for a try. However the try was controversially not awarded for offside. Nonetheless Marlborough continued to press on repeatedly bashing at the opponents’ defence. However Muar were organized at the back and Marlborough couldn’t find a way through. Eventually the half time horn sounded and Marlborough headed towards the touchline for a team talk from new coach Mr Riley. Marlborough then headed out to play the second half that would decide the final. The team were rejuvenated after half-time and Wu-Murphy finished in the corner to place Marlborough in the driving seat for the match – this was swiftly followed up by the killer blow that would win Marlborough the bowl as Hewison powered through the last couple defenders to score. A late Muar try would prove fruitless as Marlborough celebrated their first rugby team trophy with kids’ champagne (apple and grape juice) and medals for everyone to bring home with them. All in all it was a fantastic day for coaches and team. Hopefully we did Mr Calverd and Mr Riley proud, whilst also making Mr Walters, who wasn’t able to attend, very happy indeed.
Ameer Chughtai and Tim Wu Murphy
Munawir Hill Hundred