Alex Kruczkowski and Nick Greenhalgh report on last weekend’s Exiles match.
Following a mid-week cancellation of the scheduled league fixture against Thamesians II, Ealing Exiles played a friendly match against Hammersmith & Fulham V.
Perhaps in anticipation of playing on the sizeable first team pitch, the Exiles squad made the unusual step of taking to the grass in good time, warming up and getting organised (this was all of course after the more traditional Guinness-based warm up).
Sadly, for the third time in three games, the Exiles’ opposition was unable to field a front row and thus scrums were uncontested, once again nullifying one of the Exiles’ great strengths. However, being a friendly match, the "man-off" rule did not apply and both teams started the match with a full complement of 15.
Minus the allotted referee, the Exiles’ captain, Barry, put his injured hand to the back of his mind and stepped up to the mark to allow the game to be played with at least some degree of order. Over to Nick for his take on the match itself…
Poor team fitness, a wide pitch, a fitter and more agile opposition with good handling skills: all made for a painful day for the Exiles. The opposition played well and we failed to shut them down, leading to many tries being conceded to the opposition’s backs.
There were a few good passages of Exiles play and some good tackles put in here and there by some of the new faces in the team (especially Tom G and Alister). However, seemingly when we were a hair’s breadth from scoring the opposition would manage to steal the ball or the referee would be a little enthusiastic and accuse us of rule violation (no!). Bang! The ball would be hoofed 40 yards back down the pitch and the opposition try line would appear very distant…
The Exiles line-out was working well and Steve R was consistently good in the air. However, out in the backs the well-drilled opposition were often a step ahead. As a result our fly half, Alex A, frequently received man and ball at the same time without enough space to conjure up some back magic.
I could sit here and blame factor after factor. Was it Barry’s refereeing, the Exiles’ inability to use contested scrums to slow down and wear out the opposition, Fabio’s moaning, Nick’s inability to beat the Hammers’ back row on the number 8 pick-ups, Peter’s busted nose, Dave MacS’s knock on the head, Julian’s hair-piece? The answers were not entirely evident after the fact.
Hammersmith and Fulham V turned up with a young and lively squad. They beat us fair and square and all credit to them. It was an enjoyable match all the same, and another much-needed opportunity to get fitter and more practiced before the next league match.
The final score in what was a good-tempered game was a 0-42 loss for the Exiles. One success that the home side can take away with them was that, unlike with his previous stint as a referee (away at Grasshoppers last season), Barry completed the game without further injury!
A selection of photos from the game can be seen here
|Ealing Exiles 0||Hammersmith & Fulham V 42|