A much-changed Fullerians continued their winning start to the season with a 26-22 victory over Old Haberdashers on Saturday.

With the RFU announcing the day before that rugby should continue following the Queen’s death, the hosts were forced into 11 changes to the side that beat Belsize Park in their league opener due to a combination of injury, holidays and weddings.

This allowed two debutants to make their bow for the club. Oli Higgins started at back row 7 after being away at university since leaving the colts’ captain role three seasons ago, while Josh Caldwell, son of former captain James, looked comfortable all afternoon at Number 8 despite being only 18.

Watford Observer: Fullers try and force their way throughFullers try and force their way through (Image: Len Kerswill)

The game got under way following a perfectly respected minute’s silence with captain Ben Matchett lofting the ball high into the sun and Old Habs immediately knocked on, raising a cheer from the large beer festival crowd watching on.

It was an infringement from Caldwell which allowed the visitors to take an early lead with the boot, but another penalty a few minutes later saw the kicker pull his second attempt wide as Fullers looked to compose themselves after a quick Old Habs start.

The hosts settled into the game and took control, dominating in the forwards, and after 25 minutes the pressure paid off. As the momentum built prop Tom McDougall looked certain to score, only for the ball to be knocked on over the line, but a minute later Richard McCabe was back over the line and this time the try counted, with Matchett slotting the conversion.

Watford Observer: The hosts look to move the ball quicklyThe hosts look to move the ball quickly (Image: Len Kerswill)

Old Habs, themselves depleted from the previous weekend, got straight back in the game and some good work from their backs saw them regain the lead seven minutes before the break.

However, that was more than enough time for flying winger Ryan Lewis to score a great try following some excellent work from Sam Tinsley and Shaun Smith in the centres. And it was Tinsley who scored the third on the stroke of half time, breaking through the opposition’s defensive line, as Fullers stretched their lead to 19-10.

Watford Observer: Two Old Habs players try to wrestle the ball freeTwo Old Habs players try to wrestle the ball free (Image: Len Kerswill)

The home side started the second period as they finished the first, this time Old Habs kicking off straight into the arms of Liam Boyd who charged and beat four opponents to gain valuable yardage which allowed Smith to get the bonus-point try.

Old Habs started to look tired but it was they who finished the stronger of the two sides, scoring twice in the final 20 minutes, the second score coming from the last play of the game as Fullers held on for their second win of the season.