Much like their distribution from the set piece, the 2017- 18 MMRFC season has been anything but predictable. Very much a new-look team this year, due to the departure of much of the senior leadership group from the previous season, the M&Ms had it all to do to prove their worth on the sporting stage.
The months of October to December were dark times for the boys in maroon and white, failing to record a victory in the run-up to Christmas. Captain Alex Villiers-Smith’s (Mansfield, 2016) Churchillian request of ‘Give us the tools and we will finish the job’ prompted installation of floodlights on the MMRFC training ground – a tactic that would hopefully reverse our fortunes in the New Year.
Fresh from the Christmas vacation, the boys were ready to do battle once more and recorded bumper victories against Oriel, St Hilda’s and the MMRFC Old Boys. Foundations in place, the next and final confrontation of the season was against arch rivals Pembroke RFC in the Cuppers Bowl semi-final. With Captain Villiers-Smith sunbathing in Tenerife, young Henry Sasse (Mansfield, 2016) took over the captaincy at Iffley Road. A nasty leg injury for Andy ‘Stevo’ Stevens (Mansfield, 2015) in the first minute of play arrested our forward momentum, forcing us to drop to 14 men. Three tries in the second half, two from the captain and another from Hugo Ryan (Mansfield, 2015), were unfortunately not enough to reduce the deficit but, as usual, the MMRFC ‘never say die’ attitude rung true across the Iffley turf.
Although the M&Ms may find it difficult to crawl over the finish line on some occasions, crawling from pub to pub on the famous Trinity term social did not appear to be an issue. Inspired by the M&Ms three core values of ‘champagne rugby’, ‘sustainable banter’ and ‘big socials’, the affair really is the jewel in the Merton-Mansfield sporting crown. M&M’s old timer Chris Baird (Mansfield, 2014) was appointed judge of the kangaroo court, dispensing liquid punishment to players for their felonies throughout the season, including Dafydd Foster Davies (2016) who was found guilty of ‘grievous ankle harm’ through unwarranted side-stepping.
The 15-a-side season over, the M&M’s mixed touch season was just beginning. A fantastic performance at the Iffley Road stadium progressed the M&Ms to the Cuppers semifinal. Pre-season training for next year has already begun. With the rugby season now completely at an end, the new M&M’s Captain, Vice-Captain and President – Callum Schafer (Mansfield, 2017), Wick Willet (2017) and Eddie Watson-Miller (Mansfield, 2015) respectively – are already drawing up plans to guide MMRFC to even greater heights next year, and we hope to employ the talents of prospective blues Joshua Navarajasegaran (2016) and Tobi Clarke (2017). On behalf of all the departing M&Ms, we wish the club and players the very best of luck going into next season.
George Prescott (2014)
MMRFC President 2017-18