Exiles make hard work of a 24-0 victory over Sodam.
Nick Greenhalgh reports.
Noon on the open plains of Sudbury Hill, Exiles began to congregate, all questioning, will we have more than five players today. Excuses were coming in thick and fast regarding the issues of traffic and traveling to get to the game. If only this was the first time we had more than half the team somewhere gravitating on the away team’s venue it would be more excusable. So as kick off time came and went we approached thirteen players and a headed out onto the tundra. Studs broke through the frosted ground with a satisfying crunch, much like that of pushing a probing finger into a thick crisp topped Creme Brulee. Exiles feigned warming up and huddled in groups extolling the virtues of drinking a pre-game half of Guinness and arriving late and absolutely not wasting time training or thoroughly warming up before a game. Ok enough nonsense lets get down to the business of the match.
Thankfully a ref was sourced – Malek, and so we were spared a hobbling opposition biased Barry Cousins and his brutal whistle blowing antics. Sides were an even 13 at kick off, though we were still playing Union and not League. We had a few new players today, including Sargis who donned his boots for the first time since leaving school, where he only played a very little, so little in fact that I had to remind him what the group of 8 blokes who crouch down and push is called. This was his first foray from heavy weight boxing and into adult rugby union. Being a large unit with a embryonic yet quickly growing understanding of the game, I placed him at 2nd row though suspect with some training and his upper body strength he’ll be a Sheridanesque prop in no time. Sargis had a good game, getting involved in moderation and in a calculated manner, preferring to opt for the learning what to do by seeing how it is done and mimicking rather than trying it and getting it wrong. This may not be a good idea based on the quality of the Exiles play he got to witness, good examples were far from rife this Saturday afternoon. But big congratulations to Sargis, a good first game, gave away no penalties, no forward passes, no punches, am looking forward to seeing your progression and welcome to the Exiles!
The game started well for the Exiles, Dave Morgan shepherding us in the early stages as our number 10. Ciaran (inside centre today) managed to score the first try in the opening minutes with a nice blast through a hole in the defenses back line. It looked like the score line was going to be a high one today for the Exiles given the ease at which this first try came in. However, Ciaran sadly tore a muscle/ligament/tendon in this try scoring escapade, despite being the most warmed up player! Honest, I saw him lying on the ground yanking his limbs in a most un Exiles manner pre-game. Perhaps this and the inability of the Exiles to capitalise on much of the second phase resulted in the score line staying static for quite some time. After a further twenty or more players arrived, and we were able to fill both teams to full or almost. I can’t recall any more points being gained in the first half. Exiles had most of the possesion, but when we didn’t, we defended well and kept Sodam at bay with very encouraging pressure.
Scott arrived with his son Mitch, and so the father son combination finally managed their first game together, Mitch putting in some great runs and getting himself on the score sheet. Scott not disgracing himself with any drop goal’s, unlike last weekend! Mitch also brought along his mate Jo, who played well in the backs too, for both sides, also getting on the score sheet while playing his Exiles stint. Scott’s arrival marked my departure from outside centre back to my home on the flank of the scrum. From this vantage position I saw the oppo were not getting easily pushed around, the SODAM front row was almost immovable. The SODAM tight head and Matteo our newly acquired Italian prop were not playing well together, I think due to the fact the SODAM player had about double the years and double the weight of his Italian counterpart, as flanker I was glad I wasn’t the man my shoulder was resting on! Sargis unaccustomed to crouching was making good progress in being taught by Jareth how to position himself, and what to bind on. Matteo let out quite a yelp at one point as Sargis’s binding on the prop’s shorts lacked the compassion most second rows give to their props genitals. Meanwhile Tom started to get uncomfortable and for reasons I am still not certain off began on a list of moans, whines, requests to change position, that eventually tried my patience to such an extent I had to walk him off the pitch and swap him for an injured Ciaran who could not run but at least would not drive me to insanity.
Later on still T arrived with his mate V. T came in on the flank as Sargis took a rest with a damaged ankle. V a Fijian centre came in as inside centre as one might expect. The Fijian rugby spirit was strong in V, willing to run hard into the defenders and also willing to fire long and accurate, if unexpected, fast passes to the wing. Afe received a few of these and almost didn’t know what was going on, so much time had passed since he has been passed the ball with such skill and distance. Afe also managed to get over the line and score a try in a nice worked move through the backs. Though quite far down the alphabet already, we keenly await the arrival of T’s other Islander mate X,Y and Z.
Other points to note.
Discipline was markedly better this week, well done all those concerned, unless of course the ref just didnt see it as much!
Chandra had yet another successive game for the loosing team. Regardless of whether he plays for the Exiles or Opposition his side looses.
MacStef the gene spliced combo of MacSweeny and Stef was a no show. Kiwi instincts made it opt for the offer of a stretch Hummer return ride including lingerie model hostesses and bar to see the AB’s beat Wales.
Barry did a good job of berating the team from the sideline.
Fabio persisted in his role as a reformed player and did some good foraging and running with the all in loose play. Alex Adide could have scored if Fabio had managed a small chip kick on one of these runs as he’d pulled in the last defender, however, such kicks are not coming naturally just yet, much more fun to smash into your opposite number while still holding the ball!
Steve Richards did more sterling work in the line out, and behaved himself this week.
Jareth proved himself Jack of all trades in the scrum again, played pretty much every position there this week , as well as giving Sargis some great tutoring on how to play second row.
Dave Morgan dashed about the backs as fly half like he’d found new meaning life. Well done for stepping up into that position.
Alun worked well under many a high ball with his trusty hands.
Many more points could be made but numbed by the cold those are all I can prise from my memory – other Exiles present most welcome to send in there comments to be appended to this report. Particularly welcome are positive comments about the dashing chap who statred as outside centre, moved to left flank and finally no.8 before sitting infront of his keyboard and blatting this report out, am sure he must be well worth a few paragraphs.
Sodam, thanks for laying on the fixture, look forward to the next, and I hope you all still have those lovely Mustaches then too!
- Ciaran Doyle
- Alex A – I think, could be wrong
Jo – mate of Mitch Scotts son
Mitch – Scott’s son
Gautam Tamang (‘T’)
‘V’ Fijian mate of T