Anyone wondering how good Wellington College are this season got the clearest answer possible today during their 41-0 defeat of Marlborough College â€“ very good, very good indeed.
The fixture had been billed as a â€˜top of the tableâ€™ style clash between two of the oldest rivals in schoolboy rugby. Wellington were back on track from their defeat at home to RGS High Wycombe having closely beaten Dulwich College at the weekend (how good do those two schools seem now by the way), while Marlborough had had an opening day victory against Monmouth spoiled by a tough defeat against Bryanston; both saw this as a further chance to prove their ability.
Braces from wing Tom Parton and number 8 Will Wilson grabbed the headlines, whilst prop Seb Adeniran- Olule and centre Conor Dolan both scored second half and fly half Will Brinkley scored sixteen points as Wellington rounded off what can only be described as an astonishing display.
Despite going in 17-0 up at the break Wellington had actually been made to work pretty hard for their lead, a headwind reducing their options somewhat, whilst the greasy ball from the constant drizzle was causing both sides problems, resulting in a slightly stop start game.
Given those conditions Wellingtonâ€™s opener looked all the more skilful, spotting space out wide Brinkley lofted a crossfield kick for Parton to walk in unopposed.
That try prompted a period of sustained pressure from Millfield as a succession of driving mauls yielded great reward for the home side. First from five metres out Marlborough collapsed the maul, resulting in another penalty and a yellow card for Marlborough. From the penalty Millfield went to the corner again and from the resulting driving maul Will Wilson drove over to take the score to 12-0.
As the half neared its end another period of penalties, lineouts, and driving mauls saw Wilson go over for his second. The number eight was having a good game, even getting to use his boot on a few occasions as Wellington sought to exploit the difficulties that Marlborough were having under the high greasy ball.
Brinkleyâ€™s conversion to the try meant that Wellington went in at half time 19-0 up and in control. Marlborough had had periods where they had managed to create some pressure, particularly whenever their lively and talented scrum half was involved, however Wellington had been particularly clinical and had showed a great adaptability in their game to the conditions and opposition.
The start of the second half saw Marlborough gain a little bit of territory but the nature of any possession was always rather stop start, owing to the conditions. The Wellington back three were looking threatening though and after a series of pressurising breaks the Marlborough defence finally cracked, offering Brinkley a penalty chance that he duly knocked over to make it 22-0.
Marlborough then began to look as though they might be about to come back into the game a little as they began a series of plays in the Wellington 22. However a succession of poor handling errors and rock solid Wellington defence meant that the away side could not convert their excellent field position into points, whilst Wellingtonâ€™s scoreboard pressure meant that the posts option had effectively been written off for Marlborough.
That pressure was to prove fruitless though as from a move at the back of a scrum on the halfway line, following strong Marlborough possession, saw Parton blaze through the defence to score a simply breath-taking try. It brought the already excitable Bigside crowd right up to fever pitch as pupils, staff and parents alike all revelled in the beauty of the score. It left Brinkley with a simple conversion to extend their lead to a mountainous 29-0.
If Marlborough heads were not down already then they certainly would be thirty seconds later as from the kick off Wellington returned the ball with supreme intensity, marching into the Marlborough 22 before sweeping the ball over to the right hand side from Conor Dolan to blast over with a neat finish. Brinkley landed a wonder conversion to make it 36-0 and something of a rout.
Valiantly, Marlborough made efforts to try to get on the scoreboard however Wellington were as intense in defence as they were in attack and had soon enough turned over the ball. Through hard work and a couple of penalties the moved the ball up into the Marlborough 22 for the final time, where after some back and forth possession from lineouts and scrums Seb Adeniran-Olule absolutely crashed over to take the scoreboard past 40.
His try left Wellington 41-0 up, a quite staggering scoreline from a quite staggering performance.
Marlborough are no slouches and will pick up some big scalps this season but Wellington were ruthlessly clinical with their possession. Tactically they were spot on too, making them a pleasure to watch, and with that Bigside crowd behind them too, that is quite a combination for any opposition to handle.
Final Score: Wellington College 41-0 Marlborough College
7-0 (Try â€“ Parton, Conversion â€“ Brinkley)
12-0 (Try â€“ Wilson)
19-0 (Try â€“ Wilson, Conversion â€“ Brinkley)
22-0 (Penalty â€“ Brinkley)
29-0 (Try â€“ Parton, Conversion Brinkley)
36-0 (Try â€“ Dolan, Conversion Brinkley)
41-0 (Try â€“ Adeniran-Olule)