Bottle spotlight: CSM vs RSM Rugby

First half line out | Georgina Melia

The sun was shining strong on 26 February for the 119th bottle match between CSM and RSM. The wind had picked up and swirled around the pitch and posed an early threat for any kicking and penalties in the match. The stands filled up with the RSM stand on the opposite side of the pitch.

The game started off with an early attempt by RSM on CSM’s try line. A driving maul was coolly defended by CSM and RSM’S efforts came to nought, despite their strong early drive. With the possession feeling fairly equal, both sides settled into a steady rhythm — with CSM feeling the more comfortable side of the two. The crowd provided their support with drums, trumpets, and chants to keep the energy high on the pitch. Though RSM had a strong group of supporters — largely RSM players from other sports — CSM certainly won the vocal battle.

CSM CERTAINLY ASSERTED THEIR POSITION AS REIGNING CHAMPIONS FROM EARLY ON

Just after fifteen minutes of the first half came a spectacular break for CSM.

With quick feet and hands, the ball was carried deep into RSM territory, and a stunning offload set up Ollie Kay for the first score on the board, a confident try in the far-right corner. It’s fair to say the crowd practically erupted when the try was scored, people hovering over the seats in anticipation of the attack now jumped up and down in celebration. The whole phase from inside the CSM half, to scoring, was a classy affair.

Despite the windy conditions, and tricky kicking angle, Joe McCarthy slotted away the conversion, giving CSM a 7-0 lead with half of the first half still to come. CSM certainly asserted their position as reigning champions from early on.

Not much after the first try, CSM found themselves in a lineout not far from the RSM try line. With momentum and strength on their side, CSM powered through the RSM defences to score another try by driving maul. RSM tried their best to defend against it, like CSM had at the beginning of the half, but there was only one direction the ball was headed. Joe McCarthy slotted another conversion between the posts to take the score to 14-0, half time soon approaching.

RSM came back fighting, however, before the half-time whistle and scored themselves a try, after spending much of the match defending against CSM’s attacks. The conversion was, however, missed, short of the posts, making the score 14-5 at half time.

tHE GAME WAS BECOMING FIRMLY OUT OF THE REACH OF RSM HANDS

The last few clouds had cleared by the time the second half started, the fine weather continued.

The second half saw a much more defensive game for both sides. RSM started the game on the front foot with a strong drive into CSM’S 22 but stoically repelled by an unflinching CSM defensive line. CSM drew a penalty out of RSM and it was once more confidently placed between the posts to make the score 17-5.

Bottle match winners | Georgina Melia

CSM were certainly frustrating RSM, drawing another penalty out of the team which, unfortunately, on this occasion, was missed. It didn’t seem to matter, though, as the clock wound down and the game was becoming firmly out of the reach of RSM hands. In one last attack, RSM got themselves over the try line for five points. With a missed conversion, however, and only a few minutes left on the clock, it was too little too late from RSM. CSM saw out the game calmly and coolly.

As the ref’s whistle blew the celebrations were instant.

With an absolutely convincing win, a joyous crowd enjoying cider and beer in the winter sun and the bottle title for another year running… 2022’s rugby bottle match, and CSM, delivered once more.