The Daily Mail, October 13, 1913







O.M.T.s .... 7 pts.     Blackheath .... 5

“You gentlemen of England who sat at home at ease” on Saturday afternoon can have no notion how indescribably beastly it was out Richmond way. A white mist covered the Old Deer Park, rain fell through the mist, and mud splashed up into the rain. And in the middle of all these foul things Blackheath and the O.M.T.s put up one of the most interesting games I have seen for ever so long. A remarkably open game, considering the weather; and the handling a credit to both sides.

The O.M.T.s deserved their victory. They stuck to it magnificently in spite of being five points down within a few minutes of the start. Their forwards are workers to a man, Howard the best of a level eight. As for Sanders at back, he gave a great display. Curiously enough, he did not have a single tackle to make from start to finish; but his holding and kicking were nearly perfect. Once or twice he failed to find touch, but as a rule, especially in the second half, he nursed his forwards beautifully.

Coverdale was in great form for Blackheath, and Cumberlege handed the ball as if it had been carefully dried for him. There is no doubt that Cumberlege has found his form this year. He is as robust as ever, and twice as quick. It was difficult to distinguish individual forwards, but Durand was always one of the best. Everybody was anxious to see how Walker, the military sprinter, would shape, but he got no chances.

The start of the game was sensational. From the kick-off the O.M.T. forwards rushed the ball over the line, and A. L. Stokes had to touch down. Three minutes later, from a scrum near half-way, Cumberlege got the ball out well to G. Stokes, who dodged through and punted across. Pillman, sprinting up, kicked the ball past Sanders and scored near the touch-line. A. L. Stokes converted with a splendid kick.


A good punt by Fuller, which found touch near the Blackheath line, set the O.M.T.s attacking, and a mark by Sanders on the twenty-five line might have led to a goal, but J. S. Ryan’s kick fell short. The O.M.T.s continued to press, but Coverdale got across and tackled Cockell when on the point of scoring. Greenhill lost a chance by knocking on, and Blackheath touched down after a very warm five minutes. A dropped pass spoiled a promising movement among the Blackheath three-quarters, and H. Ryan got to the twenty-five line. Cockell again looked dangerous, but Coverdale brought him down. Every effort of Blackheath to break away at this point was foiled by Sanders’s fine kicking. Eventually, from a line-out, Durand got the ball out to the Blackheath three-quarters, and play returned to half-way, where H. Ryan might have done great things if he had held a pass by Greenhill after the latter had made a good opening. Just after this Walker got his only chance. He went off at a fine pace, but his pass was missed. Durand saved well and opened up the game, Owen finding touch in the O.M.T.s’ twenty-five. The O.M.T. forwards rushed to half-way, where Pillman wound up a dribble with a long cross-kick. Cumberlege pursued this with great vim but just failed to gather, and a scrum was formed near the O.M.T.s' line. Just before half-time Blackheath had a good chance of increasing their lead, a kick for foot-up being given against the O.M.T.s about thirty yards from the line. A. L. Stokes just failed, and Sanders touched down. Half-time—Business done: 5 points to Blackheath. Interesting objects by the wayside: A. F. Botham’s black eye, one of the finest ever seen on the football field.

Following on a rush by the O.M.T. forwards, saved by Coverdale, the game settled down for a while near half-way. Once Cumberlege got off but passed erratically. A forward rush took the ball to the O.M.T. twenty-five, and Pillman, dribbling to the line, would probably have scored but for an accidental trip which upset him and enabled Sanders to touch down. It was hard luck on Blackheath, but these things happen in the best-regulated matches. A fine punt by Sanders found touch near half-way, and J. S. Ryan sprinted to the line from a pass by Greenhill. From the scrum that followed the ball came out to Fuller, who dropped an excellent goal from a difficult position.


In the next five minutes the O.M.T.s won the game. Their forwards played as if somebody had injected radium into them. Before Blackheath could rally and answer this remarkable spurt the deed was done. Cockell, getting the ball near the line, dashed over. J. S. Ryan failed with a difficult kick. This happened after twelve minutes’ play in the second half.

The remainder of the game was crammed with excitement. Blackheath wanted one more try. The O.M.T.s were not worrying about scoring again, though they would have been pleased to do so: but they were unanimous on the subject of keeping Blackheath out. Each side made forward rushes in turn. At the conclusion of one of these by Blackheath, which had taken the ball to the O.M.T.s’ twenty-five, G. Stokes tried to drop a goal. It was not a great effort.

There were now ten minutes to play, and Blackheath went all out. Their forwards kept up an almost continuous pressure. At last, within five minutes of no-side, the O.M.T.s were penalised on the twenty-five line, right in front of goal.  A. L. Stokes was the unhappy individual selected for the kick. He measured his distance, took two rapid steps, and made the sort of kick one makes in nightmares.

That finished Blackheath. The O.M.T.s, snorting with relief, were all over them for the few remaining minutes, and the game ended with A. L. Stokes moodily touching down after a series of forward rushes.



O.M.T.s: Old Merchant Taylors’ Football Club, a Rugby football club founded by alumni of Merchant Taylors’ School
You gentlemen of England: opening line of an old English folk song about the dangers of going to sea