Evergreens, young and somewhat older, turned back the years at Cobham yesterday fielding a strong side that lived up to the pre-match great expectations running in 5 tries to compliment the occasional conversion and a random three pointer of which a little later.
Strong from the first whistle Ealing countered a deep Cobham kick-off with an efficient ruck and put Terry “not Offiah” Thompson in with a fighting chance of an early score. Completely up-ended in the tackle he still managed to present the ball adequately for third phase ball that eventually ended in an early score for the Evergreens, with Ash piling over the line for the first of his brace prior to his blood donation effort courtesy of a broken nose (get well soon sir). Three tries up after 25 minutes (Ash/Ash/Pup) and the Evergreens were feeling none of the effects of the M25 journey down but then decided to take their foot off the pedal and allowed Cobham back in the game with a soft try from a tap penalty by their spinning number 10; 15-7 halftime.
The second half was a fine display of controlled rugby from the Ealing boys (gentlemen?) running in another couple of tries but only after Eddie “Johnny” Beck steady the ship following a frantic passage of play with a fine drop goal from 22 yards out. Some claimed a 3 man overlap went begging but the focus and slick delivery of this kick had to be respected; if only he had slotted the penalty in front of the posts in the first few minutes and he would have bagged a rare full house of try/con/drop/pen…rugby perfection even the scantily bearded Beck must continue to strive for this season.
The Evergreen’s domination in the pack was evident right from the get-go with a number of impressive scrum shoves and they continued to dominate this set piece and the line out throughout the match led by Man of the Match Colin Stokes. A fine example of this was late in the second half when a clean catch by Jake from a precise throw from Cotter was followed by an eightman drive. This was well orchestrated (at last after extensive in-game coaching from a patient Bill Miller) by Green at 9 and led to a surprised Rahim Virani finding himself falling try-wards and just about grounding the ball to round off an excellent cameo role at hooker. Also mentioned in dispatches are Neil (and his hamstring), a strong debut from Matt Lea, late shifts Hoban and BOF both turning back the years.
Now the team, back in the Surrey Vets league for the first time in a few years, finds itself mid-table at the halfway point in the season (P6 W3 L3). They say the Premiership is won or lost in February – so let’s push on til dawn (well early April) and see if we can’t make a decent account of ourselves with three big games in February.