The annual Calcutta Cup Match takes place between England and Scotland each year. Its name originates from the end of the 19th century when the Calcutta (Rugby) Football club was forced to close in 1878 due to a lack of new blood, the departure of an English regiment from the area and the rise in popularity of polo (source) The club withdrew their remaining 270 silver rupee coins from the bank, had them melted down and made a cup, which they donated to the RFU in England for it to be used as the union saw fit for 'the best means of doing some lasting good for the cause of Rugby Football'.
The RFU were unwilling to promote a club competition for fear of introducing professionalism to the amateur game, and so it became the totem for the match between England and Scotland.
England took the cup from Scotland in 2009. Since 2005 it has changed hands every year, with the home side taking it.
This year, the match was played at Murrayfield, and Scotland opened the scoring, kicking a penalty to lead 3-0.
Wirhin a couple of minutes, Scotland had another penalty but missed touch and Cueto cleared. With ten minutes played, the ball came from the scrum and found Ugo Monye on the far side of the field. The ball came back across, and a poor pass from Johnny Wilkinson to Dylan Hartley went into touch.
At 15 minutes, Johnny Wilkinson kicked a penalty to the sound of some very unsporting boos and whistles. This is not good form, after all, it's not soccer. I'm not just saying that as England was on the receiving end, I feel the same on those occasions that we hear booing at Twickenham.
Scotland responded with pressure on England, and there was a sustained period of play metres from the English line. England conceded a penalty and Dan Parks kicked it over. 6-3 Scotland.
At the 30th minute England was awarded a penalty, which Wilkinson kicked over. There was a bit of a tiff between Dylan Hartley and a Scottish player (didn't see who) at this point, just before the penalty kick. The Scot had grabbed Hartley's head, and Hartley lashed out. This resulted in a talking-to. 6-all.
In the 36th minute, Scotland put together a threatening attacking sequence. This broke down and we had a lengthy scrum with multiple collapses. It took almost three minutes for the ball to come out of the scrum, and even then that scrum collapsed as the ball left.
Just before half time, Dan Parks kicked a drop goal, 9-6.
England did get the restart and rather frustratingly kicked away possession after the clock went red.
In the second half, Scotland began by conceding a penalty, which was duly converted. The scores were level on 9-all.
Wilkinson went in for a tackle, he bounced right off and bashed his head. He spent quite some time on the floor. The tannoy announced that Wilkinson would be subbed and a cheer went up. It sounded to me like a small group relatively near a microphone, but that was not a worthy reaction. In rugby the opposition is shown respect (until they do something to lose it). The reaction of the majority, the appreciative applause was much more in keeping with the spirit of things. Of course, it may have been that the cheer was for the arrival of Flood and not the departure of Wilkinson, but that wasn't how it seemed to me.
Within a couple of minutes Toby Flood had his first penalty kick, successful. 9-12.
James Haskell conceded a penalty almost immediately, not releasing the tackled player. This time the English spectators were unsporting to the kicker. An annoying trend. 12-all at 52 mins.
Scotland had a good sequence of attack, and metres from the line Brown clashed heads with Ugo Monye. Brown walked off, but Ugo Monye went off on a stretcher wearing a neck brace. He got the customary applause as he went off.
In the 60th minute, England were in posession at the Scottish end, the scrum went down again and again, but after a few attempt Easter got the ball out just before the posts. England gained advantage and passed the ball wide to attempt the try. Losing posession the play was brought back for the penalty. Flood kicked the ball over to a chorus of whistles. 12-15.
England almost immediately conceded a penalty, narrowly escaping a yellow card. Dan Parks' kick went short, but Scotland chased and threatened a try. This came to nothing, but England conceded another penalty which was kicked over. With a little over ten minutes left it was even-stevens at 15-all.
Scotland seemed to find a new spur at this point, and looked really dangerous. England were on the back foot. England contained the attack with eight minutes to go, but the response was not quick-ball, it seemed rather ponderous in comparison to the previous Scottish play.
With four minutes to go, what was the best couple of minutes for both sides, Scotland conceded a penalty for holding back a player. Toby Flood, kicking to a whistling crowd, just misjudged and the score remained 15-all.
Scotland came back with a dangerous looking run down the wing, fortunately for England he was brought down and he knocked on in the process. England had the scrum, and collapse after collapse saw the clock go red. There were far, far too many collapsed scrums in this game - the referee didn't do well in this regard.
England drove the ball forward and Toby Flood went for a drop goal. It wasn't to be. Scotland gained possession and kicked to touch. 15-all. The Calcutta Cup remains with the team who last won it, in this case, England.
|Table Built: Saturday, 13 March 2010 19:00 UK|