Exiles lose a third league match this season being in the wrong side of a 17-18 scoreline! Tough game with many niggles, three yellow cards (only 1 Exile) and way too much bad language. However, we had several promising phases and were the better team on the park. The downfall was not being switched on at the start and letting slip two soft tries very early on. We managed to strike back pretty quickly but not enough.
Mark Hubbard, new to the side and new to rugby this season managed to get himself in the score sheet with an impressive smash through to their try line from a ruck on their line. I’d just cleared some fellow off the ball when Mark fired over and landed next to me with a satisfying thud, a big smile and the ball well ground!
The second try came from Chris Bruce, also new to the Exiles this season, on the far right after several phases of good forward play. The forwards did a good job this day but too often we failed to coordinate and communicate in getting the ball to the back of mauls, especially on and over the opposition try line. Several times we failed to score as a mass of Exiles got white line fever without getting the ball cleanly down. We definitely need to work on getting the ball to the back and ready for a final runner to finish the good work.
Most amusing try was scored by Exiles veteran try scorer Stef McCabe. His first of the season. From what I recall they had a scrum about 10 yards out from their line. Their scrum half broke open with the ball, started running straight to me then he oddly decided he’d change direction completely and run back towards his line and back round the other side of the quickly breaking up scrum. Steve Richards couldn’t believe his luck being as the no.9 came his way. Steve put in a nice hit the ball was spilled and Stef gathered it an popped over the try line.
Other memorable moments. Mark Thompson came back from a long absence and made some good runs as centre. He also received a stamp on the back as one of the gracious opposition players was jogging back from a ruck and saw Mark’s back inviting his boot. Pretty daft behaviour swiftly dealt with by the ref who carded the offender. Joe Southwart was putting in some nice big hits, unfortunately his biggest hit of the day involved him being more hurt than the fellow he hit as he got his head on the wrong side. Jonathan McKeogh decided at one point he’d play the role of a squealing rodeo bull as he took several oppo players for a ride down the pitch. It took about 7 of them to bring him down.
We look forward to playing Twickenham later in the season when we hope to reverse this result!
Neal Craig – Yellow card
Nick Greenhalgh – skipper