Fired up Exiles finally win their second league game. Cracking game, 5 tries no cards of any colour v Feltham a feat almost unheard of, almost a perfect storm moment! Nick Greenhalgh reports from the back row.
As usual the start and confluence of Exiles on the hinterlands of Feltham RFC was a sad yet often witnesses Exile morass, typified by Alex A scuttling about on one leg pulling his shorts on by the sideline as the whistle blew for game commencement. Luckily for us our sickness is contagious and Feltham also started a man shy. Both teams were quickly up to a full contingent and the battle started with vigor. The Exiles forwards were well up for scoring tries and we quickly managed to get on the score sheet after several phases of ball down near their line. The first score was from Stef with his trade mark feigning to pass the ball down the line followed up by a cut in and score a la Mark Philips style. Jareth likes to refer to Stef’s try scoring antics as sneaky tries. I think he is concerned now Stef has started scoring he may have some competition in the top try scorers table..
Quickly after the restart we managed to make some good territory and again found ourselves in the red zone. We went through may phases again. Definitely had a lot of forwards stepping up to have a go at crossing the line. However, Feltham defenses were well up to contain the waves of single man attacks. So we started attacking in pods and finally managed to break through. I took the ball from a penalty on the five yard line and veered left taking Jonathan McK me. The oppo seemed to be giving me an assist as during their attempts to wrestle the ball off me they helped pull me over their line, then when Jonathan’s pressure came in I managed to dot the ball down for the briefest of moments before it was wrestled free by the oppo. Thankfully the ref saw the magic split seconds and ignored the Feltham’s protestations and we were up 12 – 0. However, all us forwards need to use our brains a little more in order for our untrained pod approaches to be more successful as I suspect we could have had quite a route if we were a little more controlled and coordinated. We failed several times again to get the ball cleanly to the back of driving rucks.
The next Exile to cross the line was our reformed and remarkably well behaved Fabio, fresh back on the pitch after a self imposed 2 week ban for a red card incident at Isleworth. Shortly after came the second backs try from our no. 10 of the day Jareth. This gave us a bonus point which gives us a position of 4th out of 8 in the league despite this being our 2nd win from 5 games! All three loses being 17-18!!!! So the league is all to play for!
Although the first half was all about attacks in their red zone we were not looking great in defense and fitness and awareness was leaving big gaps for the oppo to exploit. Luckily they didn’t make much headway here despite managing to get some good ball out to their wingers. Half time talk was about stating we needed to defend our lead in the second half. We did pretty well, but they did manage to break our line and get their try, fortunately it was not converted. Their prop was taking the kicks and I suspect Barry’s wily propping was taking it’s toll as he failed to get it through the uprights. As the Feltham cross bar had been stolen, the fact that the conversion and his earlier penalty kick went right of the posts made the ref’s job a lot easier than it could have been.
The latter part of the game again saw us camping on their try line and being informed by the ref once the ball goes over the try line and does not get grounded it is deemed held up, hence the need for us to work on getting it cleanly to the back…
Last try of the day came in from Jonathan who had been saving his energy for what Barry calls his "3 minutes" of play per game. Jonathan burst through their defenses around their 10 yard line and changed for the posts, he kept looking round at the Feltham lad who was closing down on him, but thankfully all the earlier rest paid for itself as he kept on the gas and downed the ball smack between the posts. James H duly felt sympathy for the Feltham boys and fluffed the conversion ending our game 29-5.
Great for us to get a win. Good discipline from pretty much all, which was fantastic to see. Let keep it up and work a bit harder on fitness and getting clean ball to the back of our mauls when homing in on the oppo try line. Look forward to welcoming Feltham back at Ealing where I hope we can offer them the same hospitality that they bestowed on us in their fancy new club house, though luckily for them the away changing rooms at Ealing won’t match the grim stinky cargo containers that we had the pleasure of experiencing.
James Hitchcock (2)
Players and rough position:
Alex Adide (11)
Alister Barnston (14)
Anthony Chapman (4)
Nick Greenhalgh(7) skipper
James Hitchcock (15)