The Alleynian, December 1924
Dulwich College v. Haileybury College.
Played at Dulwich, November 15th. Result: Dulwich, 1 goal and 2 tries; Haileybury, 1 goal.
We are always open to argument: but, until convinced otherwise, we shall continue to maintain that this was the best game seen on the Dulwich ground in the last ten years. In spite of the mud, it was played at lightning speed all the way through, and both teams handled a greasy ball with very few mistakes. The tackling and saving on both sides was excellent. And, finally, we won—which is always nice.
Haileybury kicked off at 2.50 towards the boarding-houses, and after a rush by Nicholls and Dixon took the ball to our line, where they looked dangerous until Wiseman dribbled back to near half-way, and Wood followed up this effort by finding touch in the Haileybury 25. After a free kick to Haileybury, which gained little ground, Woodhouse and Wood rushed the ball over the line, where unfortunately it went astray and Haileybury touched down.
Immediately after the drop-out Woodhouse cut through beautifully from half-way and reached their 25. The Haileybury forwards rushed back to our half, where Woodhouse intercepted a pass and brought the game near the line once more. Wintle got within a yard of the line, but was tackled from behind. And then, after twelve minutes of play, Kinghorn picked up after a short dribble and dashed over near the right corner-flag. Hurren failed to convert from a difficult angle. Time, 3.2. Dulwich, 3 points.
Within half a minute of the restart, Haileybury were on our line again, attacking furiously. Once Woodhouse relieved with a long punt, but it was not till Wiseman got away with a dribble that the pressure ceased. This dribble of Wiseman’s might quite easily have ended in a score, but the Haileybury back, who played a splendid game all through, made a fine save. There was some loose play near half-way, with Wintle, Talbot, Wood and Hurren prominent, and then the Haileybury forwards rushed to our 25, where Woodhouse saved.
We had been defending stoutly for a few minutes, when the most sensational quarter of an hour of the match opened with a fine cut through by Wood, followed by a good punt by Kinghorn. This took the ball into touch in the Haileybury 25. From this point the progress of the game can be told best by a simple transcription of the notes made during this agonising period. They run as follows:—
Dulwich to Haileybury line (Dixon and Talbot).
Touch, Haileybury line.
Scrum, Haileybury line.
Touch, Haileybury ten yards.
Scrum, Haileybury fifteen yards.
Scrum, Haileybury thirty yards.
Scrum, Haileybury forty yards.
Scrum, Dulwich forty yards.
Haileybury to Dulwich line.
Haileybury on line.
Scrums on line.
Dulwich touch down.
Haileybury to Dulwich twenty-five.
Haileybury on Dulwich line.
Scrums on line.
And not before it was needed. The team will never have a rougher passage than the seven minutes or so which followed the return of the ball to half-way. We had been attacking very strongly and the team are to be congratulated that the sudden change from attack to a desperate defence did not cause them to lose their heads. The Haileybury forwards played as well during these minutes as we have ever seen a school pack play, but the defence was splendid.
The second half opened with two more attacks by Haileybury. The first was well stopped by Perts, who saved nobly all through. The second reached Davison and ended about ten yards from our line. But it was not the same sort of onslaught as the one before half-time, and we were soon out of danger, first Smith, then Williams and Wood relieving the pressure. Dixon and Davison also did good saving work. And, finally, our counter-attack culminated in a brilliant run by Woodhouse to within thirty yards of their line. Haileybury rushed back, but Davison found touch with a fine kick. Wood tackled well, and our forwards, with Hurren prominent, got back into the Haileybury half.
Haileybury rushed back, but Williams saved splendidly in our 25, and almost immediately Perts dribbled cleverly through the thick of the enemy and only lost the ball when he came to the back. We were now on the offensive again, and Kinghorn, picking up after the ball had worked loose in the middle of the field, charged through and scored his second try, this time near enough to the posts for Hurren to convert. Time, 3.41. Dulwich, 8 points.
We needed this try badly. The Haileybury forwards were playing so well that at any moment they were likely to score. It was now necessary for them to score twice—which, with our whole team working as they were, was obviously going to take some doing.
And five minutes later Dixon settled the whole affair in a statesmanlike fashion by finishing up a combined rush with a third try in the left corner. Time, 3.46. Dulwich, 11 points.
There had been some tense moments immediately before this. Williams, Davison and Perts were called upon to go down on the ball in order to stop rushes. Perts’ save was particularly good. The movement that ended with the try began about half-way, where Woodhouse swooped on the ball after a Haileybury centre had dropped it and dribbled through to the back. The forwards were following up well, and the defence had not time to rally round, with the result that Dixon kicked through and dribbled over near the corner-flag. It was a most excellent piece of work, in which practically all the forwards and half the outsides joined.
The game continued to move up and down the field, each side attacking in turn. Once Davison made a great catch and kick, and a little later Kinghorn nearly reached the line. Then Haileybury rushed to half-way, and a moment later their forwards had kicked through and were headed for an open goal. A fine sprint by Wood stopped the rush for an instant, long enough to enable Williams to get back and touch down as the ball went over the line.
Half a minute later, however, we were on our line again, and Haileybury had scored near the posts. The kick was successful. Time, 4.1. Dulwich, 11; Haileybury, 5.
There was so little time to go now, barely two minutes, that a win was practically certain. But all through those two minutes it looked as if Haileybury were going to make it an 11—10 or an 11—8 win, for they swarmed on our line. The defence, however, held, Davison doing some particularly doughty work, and the whistle blew for No-Side, bringing considerable relief to one and all.
P. G. Wodehouse.
Dulwich College: K. H. Davison; T. L. Williams, D. M. Kinghorn, F. M. Woodhouse, H. F. Wintle; A. E. Wood, J. W. Perts; A. M. Dixon, R. L. Talbot, K. P. Smith, S. A. Nicholls, D. G. M. Cartland, R. Martin, W. C. Wiseman, B. J. Hurren.
A very good game, and, considering the state of the ground, thoroughly good football. Our forwards got the ball rather more often in the scrum, and the Haileybury forwards had rather the better of it in the loose. Where we had a decided superiority was at fly-half and centre three-quarter; and that gave us the victory.