A combined team of Amateur II and Exiles players started well but ended on the wrong end of a hefty score against Chobham IIIs.
A core of usual Exiles were joined by a number of new players, a few of which were playing out of position against a young side that was lively and, after a hesitant start, prepared to spin the ball wide and score a number of tries through their backs.
First, the positives. In the first 10 minutes our forwards and backs combined well to make significant ground and unsettle the opposition. Through energetic, thrusting mauls our forwards were regularly feeding a back line that was puncturing the midfield, throwing miss passes and taking them on in the wide open spaces. Chobham then, through a slick move, snatched a converted try and quickly worked out that if they did the basics right in their backs then they would find gaps. Our pack was solid, aggressive and mauling well. Chobham didn’t get much change from this aspect of our game all afternoon and it was from our forward pressure on Chobham’s try line shortly before half time that Stefan McCabe squirmed over to get our only score. After this, Chobham improved their game by concentrating on supplying quick ball to their backs who proved adept at finding space and beating us on the outside.
The performance leaves a few details for us to work on. Too many times, too few defending players were calling for support from team-mates still hovering around the breakdown. When we attacked, our attackers often found themselves alone and this lack of support meant Chobham were able to either bridge and steal the ball or hack through. On our throw, our lineout was working well, but we needed a middle jumping option on the opposition throw as they were able to secure too much soft and unchallenged possession. The new scrum rules meant that neither side dominated but we had a slight advantage that could have been exploited more with greater co-ordination when the ball entered the tunnel.
It was good to see a number of new faces with the Ealing jersey on. All in all, they had a good game and as the season progresses they’re sure to show more of the skills demonstrated in parts against a decent Chobham outfit.
Dave Morgan 15th September