The Alleynian, February 1922


Dulwich College v. Haileybury.

Played at Haileybury, November 19th. Result:— Haileybury, 2 goals, 2 tries, 1 dropped goal, 1 penalty goal; Dulwich, 2 goals, 2 tries.

There is a certain melancholy satisfaction in the fact that in actual goals and tries the score was even. If the Haileybury outsides like to go about the place dropping goals and placing penalties, that is their affair. As far as crossing the line went, each side did it four times. And we scored sixteen points after beating down seventeen points, which shows our hearts are in the right place. Still, coming right down to facts, the 1921 match was a defeat, and must be spread on the records as such.

When we read in the Sportsman that Haileybury were going to play Wainwright in the centre instead of back, we feared the worst. He is a born centre, and why he has always played back only he knows. And as things turned out it was his play in the centre which was our undoing. It was he who, a few minutes after the start, when Lyle had drawn the back and passed to Faletti, who had a clear field and several yards start, overtook and tackled him: and there was hardly a moment during the game when this extra bit of pace in the Haileybury centre was not a menace. We started off most satisfactorily, playing up the hill. The slope on the Haileybury terrace-field is worth about six points to a team, and one felt that, if we could keep the score down to that till half-time, all would be well in the second half. The Haileybury forwards were a strong lot, excellent in the loose, and rushed us pretty severely for a while, but our defence always held. Then came the Faletti-Wainwright incident, and after that we were hard pressed, once a free kick saving us when we were in bad difficulties. Our forwards rushed into the Haileybury half, but this time a free-kick against us relieved the pressure, and the game came back into our territory, where another free-kick, near half-way, was given against us and nearly resulted in a very fine goal. We touched down, and scrums followed in our twenty-five, their outsides attacking strongly and Sutton making one very good tackle on the line. Stark dribbled well to half-way, and Thomas, who played a magnificent game all through, took the ball on to the Haileybury thirty yards. A loose rush by their forwards ended in our half, and then the ball came out to Wakefield on the left, and he ran in the corner. Time, 2.51, twenty minutes after the start. The kick failed, leaving Haileybury three points up.

The next thirteen minutes were our undoing. Whether Haileybury played up particularly hard, or whether we failed to get together, it is difficult to say, but the game suddenly ceased to be a grim struggle and became quite one-sided. After a tackle by Thomas had saved a try, Wainwright only just failed to drop a goal, and then, almost immediately after the game had started again, the ball came out from a scrum in our twenty-five, and this time Wainwright brought the thing off, dropping a very neat goal at 2.57, making the Haileybury score 7 points.

Three minutes later, after another brief spell of good play by Thomas, Sutton missed his tackle and Vandervelt scored behind the posts, the kick being successful. Haileybury, 12. And at four minutes past three, following on a good run by Thomas which led to Hewett being tackled in their twenty-five, Corbin and Sutton both missed Wakefield, who romped over behind the posts. Haileybury, 17.

With about three minutes to go before half-time, we suddenly woke up. Two minutes after this try of Wakefield’s the ball came out on our side about half-way, and Thomas had it out like a flash to O’Brian, who passed to Lyle. Lyle made one of his best straight runs and drew the back, and Corbin, taking the pass, ran round behind. Good work? Yes, but mark the sequel. Hill, of all people, missed the kick. After we have been going about telling people that he never does this sort of thing. Haileybury, 17; Dulwich, 3. Half-time was then called.

We had expected the trend of the game to alter a good deal as soon as we had the slope in our favour, and right from the kick-off our expectations were fulfilled. Faletti opened the new régime with a run and a punt which found touch in their twenty-five, and our forwards, settling down at once, begun to control the scrums. Once the Haileybury forwards rushed into our twenty-five, but Goodwin immediately headed a return rush into their half. Loose play followed, and gradually the ball came near their twenty-five line. Our forwards heeled, Thomas had the ball out to O’Brian, and there followed the finest bit of individual play of the afternoon. Once or twice in the first half O’Brian had tried his justly celebrated dummy-selling, only to be bumped badly by their fly-half. This time he got right through with the defence tumbling over itself. He ran up to the back, punted over his head, followed up, and scored half-way between the posts and the corner-flag. Time, 3.22. A really first-class effort. Hill blushingly converted with a good kick. Haileybury, 17, Dulwich, 8.

We kept the pressure. Corbin reached their twenty-five. Thomas stopped a return rush, and Harris, Heppenstall, and others dribbled to the Haileybury twenty-five again. Hewett made a good attempt to get through on the left, and Lyle made a splendid run. Then our forwards wheeled a scrum and reached the line, and with the ball bobbing about in the loose, Harris took it over and fell on it, completing a most satisfying bit of all-round attack. Time, 3.28. Hill unaccountably failed with the kick. Haileybury, 17; Dulwich, 11. Lots of time to go and our forwards well on top. Just as had happened against Bedford, the match looked ours, and then, also as against Bedford, disaster smote us. There was a brief interval of five minutes when we went off our game, and a sudden rush by the Haileybury forwards ended in Wakefield scoring again. The kick, an easy one, failed, but we were nine points down once more. Hailebury, 20, Dulwich, 11. Time, 3.33.

Off we went again without wasting time. Faletti and Hewett got right into their twenty-five, Thomas wriggled through to the line, there was a scrum five yards out, and then Lyle sent Corbin over in the corner. Time, 3.36. Here Hill restored our faith in human nature by converting with a magnificent kick. Why he missed twice in front when he had it in him to convert from an almost impossible angle like this is one of the mysteries of football. Haileybury, 20; Dulwich, 16.

One more goal was what we wanted, but now the clock was against us, and Haileybury, playing up with the vim of a side which knows it has only got a few minutes to go and is ahead on points, not only prevented our outsides from attacking, but set up an attack themselves which Sutton stopped on the line with a good tackle. Our forwards, headed by Gibb and Armstrong, rushed to half-way, but the game was not going right for us. We needed tight scrums and heeling, and for a while it was all rushes and counter-rushes, each side gaining ground in turn but neither looking dangerous. A few seconds before no-side the last of these rushes took Haileybury into our twenty-five, where a kick was given against us near the touch-line, and somebody placed a great penalty goal, which made Haileybury 23 to our 16. Directly after this kick the whistle blew.

Our play in the second half was splendid, but we ran the thing too fine. We remember once seeing a Dulwich team score twenty-five points in the last twenty minutes of a Bedford match, thereby making a draw of it, but that only happens once in a century. On the whole the team can congratulate themselves on making a spectacular recovery after the fatal quarter of an hour in the first half. If they could only have played like that earlier.

P. G. Wodehouse.