“If I should die, think only this of me: that there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever Ealing…” Rupert Brooke “The Soldier” (kind of).
11am on the 11th Day of the 11th Month the guns finally ceased.
After our own minute reflecting on the events of yesteryear (no not Trump and Brexit – that’s so not over yet) the Evergreen Tommies came out with all guns blazing against a well dug in opposition (which is hard on a 3G pitch) in our own Battle of the Somme Vallis Way style. After barely three minutes were on the clock a clean break in open play from Pup allowed a clinical finish down the left flank by Whitehead minor for an unconverted try. Steenie then made a neat inside break to feed Stef down the blind side with the second phase ball being collected by the unmistakable Beck, who then converted his own try. 12-0 and the stick had been firmly inserted into the hornet’s nest. Wasps, fast to the breakdown and dangerous throughout in open play, responded with venom by scoring a try from a well executed inside pass from their 10 but no conversion followed.
A hallmark of the game was the power of the Ealing scrum, exemplified by a try for Steenie from a solid platform that allowed Pup to pick and go. Once converted this gave Evergreens a solid 19-5 lead. Late in the first half Pup was over for another converted try after sustained pressure from our other forwards led by Captain Usher, supported in the loose by his Lieutenants Nethers, Faz & Whitney.
The halftime talk was not complacent as Wasps had shown signs of real quality; rucking well despite losing a key player or two to the local field hospital. Indeed the casualty rate was high for both sides throughout with Julien shedding Allied French blood for his team and Tristan taking a knock that saw him pulled from the battle field after a great start to the game, necessitating an in-battle promotion for Stef to 9.
Scrum dominance continued in the second half with a push over try to complete Pup’s brace for the match (later voted Man of the Match, but what about hat trick avoidance skip?). Quick thinking by restarting with a rapid lineout, a big Gary Owen and magnificent hands put Whitehead minor in for his second too soon after. Another Beck conversion took it to 38-5, allowing the bench to be rotated regularly by Green (with unsolicited advice from those wise old Officers BOF/Hoban/Weekes) bringing on fresh legs such as Fab, Gianni and Whitney after a big shift from Dec/Ash/Whitehead Snr in the front row. In addition the engine room of Tim/Bill/Steve R & a strong Evergreens debut from Pon (Peter O’Neil – geddit?) get a mention in dispatches (well here at least). Our own very real Italian naval officer Giovanni then sailed over in the corner from a lineout catch and drive to ram home the bonus point bayonet into the Wasps belly.
What depth on the bench you have if you can bring on the calibre of Hoban late in the game (oh and minis Dad, second time Evergreens cap & ex-Wasp Offiah) to hold off the expected late sting in the tail from the opposition’s resurgent swarm. Alas soon after a turnover try resulted from some poor Ealing hands late in the game; once converted the score was 43-12. Indeed Hoban continued his poor use of hands by swinging his handbag at some insolent youth from the Wasps lower ranks, but catching only the cooling West London evening air earning a potentially new nickname of “Poppy”.
So top of the league with two bonus point wins under our belt, Jacko didn’t drop the ball over the line, Terry nearly back to full fitness and next game scheduled for Friday 2nd December…who could ask for more?