Exiles put up strong defenses and have lots of possession, but inability to get a good link going between forwards and backs resulted in a loss.
Captain’s log by Nick Greenhalgh
The Exiles have been steadily improving since the start of January. An earned confidence has started to bring well needed heart to the team. Having lost 67-7 against Chiswick Chiefs at the start of the season and the fact that this team has been putting massive scores against our MMT colleagues in the 10 out of 13 wins they have had, meant the Exiles knew we had a stiff afternoon coming up.
However, we had a little bit more time warming up than usual as I pulled a captain’s joker feigning a 2:00pm KO when I knew it was 2:15pm. We started the match at quite a pace and it pretty much stayed that way throughout. The Exiles defense held well, unlike our ability to not give away penalties. Testimony for this is given by the 6 – 0 score at half time, ie no tries but 2 penalty kicks! I say no tries as sadly the ref for reasons we are still sketchy about did not allow the one I managed to plant at the back of a ruck thanks for MacSweeney blasting over the line. On securing the ball on the ground away from all oppo hands we called for the ref who gave us a scrum as he thought we were on the 5 yard line…. Not sure why he couldn’t award the try given we weren’t on the 5 yard line but over the try line. Never mind, the ref is always right even when he is wrong so I am sure there is a valid reason floating around somewhere. We nearly got another try with a front of line out bread basket throw to Eff. However, as has happened in pretty much every game and every attempt at this move the ref blows up as Effs finger tips were less than 5 yards out from the thrower, though ref did say it was at least close this time. One day we’ll pull this move off.
The first of the two tries came in the second half as the capable Chiswick back line managed to finally breach the Exiles defense.
One of the main problems we had was that we were missing a regular fly half who gets on with his outside players and acts as a sublime interface between forwards an backs. This day Dave Morgan stepped up and as usual bravely played where we asked him to. Dave is a very versatile player though not a natural fly half. I think it is the forward in him. I think I’d do the same. Back myself and hammer into the oppo. However, as a result the ball didn’t make it smoothly down the line from the set piece. If we’d had Liam or Brandon there we’d likely have managed to grab a well earned victory. Madden played at inside centre and lamented that he couldn’t recall getting a pass in the second half. Again I don’t like passing to him either, he’s so greedy and nasty when he gets that oval ball under his arm. So while the backs work from the set piece was not great their defenses were and their attacks from loose play were also reasonable, Neal Craig but in some nice strong runs as did Afe.
The pack played pretty well too. However, fitness as usual was an issue. You’ll know if this applies to you as Barry will have made sure he made his views on this clear to you. But a general note as usual is that getting your fitness from 1 match and potentially 1 training session is never going to be enough to get close to match fit. Make sure your doing some other exertions during the week. Tom claimed not to have vomited on the side line this week, he said it was just really heavy saliva.
Jonathan did a nice 20 yard break from the side of a rolling maul that took the oppo quite unaware, with a bit of luck and more support we could have scored from that.
Big thanks to some of Vets for assisting us this weekend, Dyll, Adrian and Mark. Especially Dyll for being willing to help with the numbers and put on the number 2 shirt. FYI, Dyll was quite shocked at the pace of the game in comparison to Vets games, so we aren’t doing too badly.
We had a new face this week, Anthony Chapman came on in the second row, welcome aboard!
Overall a quite brutal but satisfying game. To loose by 2 tries and 2 penalties to a side who have on average over the last 13 games won 50-7 is not a bad result for us Exiles in the lower middle echelons of the MMT division 5. So as usual big thanks to Chiswick Chiefs for making their way up to Ealing for an most enjoyable afternoon. May be see you in the playoffs, if we win our next 2 games and Quintin doesn’t!
Team & position played (NB I am old an my memory ain’t what it was so the following is a guesstimate!):
Gautier Henry – 1
Fabio Krasniqi – 6
Warren Greef – 6/8
Dave MacSweeney – 2/13
Tom Laishley -5
Dyll Davies -2
Steve Richards -1
Nick Greenhalgh (skipper)- 7/8
Stef McGabe -9
Anthony Chapman -4
Jonathan McKeogh -7/8
Afe Ogun – 15
Anthony Lynch – 5
Dave Morgan – 10
Neal Craig – 12
Paul Havel – 11
Alex Adide – 14
Mike Salmon – 13
Andrew Madden -12
Mark Rutherford -14