Blend of youth and experience takes Purley John Fisher over the whitewash
Purley John Fisher kept up their promotion challenge with a hard-fought 23-13 win at fellow London Division Three South West promotion hopefuls Ellingham & Ringwood.
Being a re-arranged fixture on a non-league weekend, PJF selection was made from deep within the playing squad, which was limited due to unavailability, leaving PJF to blend youth and experience.
However, the side rallied round and registered a solid victory against E&R, whom they had beaten by only one point earlier in the season.
PJF were prepared for a fired up E&R XV who, from the start, set out their stall taking advantage of their narrow pitch by running hard through the middle and then changing the line of attack.
PJF's defence stood up to this tactic with excellent midfield defending by Piotr Swiatkiewicz , Liam Miles and Miles Murphy.
The young flanker pairing of debutant Callum Law and Phil Jones was a successful and constant thorn in the home team's side as, throughout the match, they foraged, tackled and ran the hard yards.
From a solid base in the scrum and at the line-out, PJF were able to work their way into their opponent's half gaining good territorial advantage and possession.
Tom Leather at number eight, opened the scoring from a 5m scrum, when he touched down after a concerted drive from the PJF eight.
Fly half Murphy slotted the conversion and added a couple of penalties to reward PJF for their hard graft.
A passage of play that involved all players saw the ball moved swiftly to and fro across the paddock, leaving centre Swiatkiewicz to break for the line.
Despite being halted, he managed to free a pass to his centre partner Miles to score PJF's second try.
In the second half, PJF continued to defend well and attack hard and fast.
One such sortie lead to a classic move with the ball being won on one touchline and then moved smoothly down the line to allow winger Chase Thompson to out pace the covering defence and run in a debutant's try.
With Jones sin-binned and PJF down to 14 men, E&R crossed the whitewash, adding a try to their tally of 13 points.
Hooker Ben Inglis was unlucky not to have his try allowed in the dying minutes; unfortunately the official was unsighted as he touched down after a line-out take and drive.
So PJF missed out on the bonus point and it leaves them in third position in the league with a game in hand on second placed Weybridge Vandals.
This weekend, PJF visit fifth-placed Eastleigh.