REPORT: Old Isleworthians II 0 – 12 Ealing Exiles

Exiles win two MMT matches in a row 12-0, a true grit performance.  Pete Rank reports from the flank.The Exiles gathered at Old Isleworthians’ ground on a cloudy and moist Saturday.  Seemingly the day was against us as the bar was closed thus denying the Exiles who had gathered the traditional half pint of Guinness.  Despite this the mood in the changing room (aka walkway) was buoyant.  We had a full team (some still to arrive and subs – a rare treat!).

The team hit the field to warm up and name the starting 15.  The pre-match talk centred around the need to keep possession, hit the breakdowns hard and run it at the opposition.  At kick-off that is what the Exiles duly did.

In previous seasons the team has been caught napping in the first 20, however, this was not the case here.  The Exiles enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession throughout the first half.  The forwards were being matched in the scrum but were stealing line-outs, hitting breakdowns and giving the backs the platform to smash it up the middle.  However, some silly penalties and handling errors gave OIs the chance to clear their lines, after which the Exiles would steal line-out ball and be back in their 22, infringe and repeat.

Then it happened… some relatively smooth handling and offloads from forwards to the back line saw Nick G take the ball on and straight toward the posts.  As he was tackled close to the line he momentarily lost the ball… it went straight down and back into his arms (no knock on – believe me I was there to his right) only for the referee to say no try!  The Exiles took this in relatively good spirits and continued to plug away for what was left of the first half.

Half time … credit where credit is due, OIs sucked up wave after wave of attack in the first half, but the feeling in the Exiles camp was that with better precision we should have had at least 10 points on them if our execution was better.  The mantra from the half time talk was simple – don’t let up…

…And the Exiles did not, despite a few injuries hitting the team in the form of Julian, Greg, Chewie and the likes of Alex K coming off the bench with his broken shoulder inside 15 minutes of the first half, the Exiles turned  up the heat!

If memory serves the first try came after OIs conceded a penalty on halfway.  The Exiles took the sensible decision to kick to touch – Jon provided a spiral kick that swung like a monkey (or Surrey couple… take yer pick) and landed us near their 22.  Steve Richards was on the pitch and in the front pod at the line-out.  He took the catch, set up a very speedy maul that culminated in Eff going over.  Paul T slotted the conversion.

Then the Exiles were into them.  Persisting in the direct route paid dividends.  Andy and Dave Mac swept and counter-attacked well when the OI fly-half kicked, but apart from his boot and one of their centres the attacking options available to the opposition were running out.  The complaints from the opposition increased, the Exiles kept their heads and started to win scrums against the head (despite one OI prop trying to act as hooker) and were breaking the gain line on a regular basis.

Stand up Eff – yet again he found himself going over the line – apologies but I cannot remember the exact move but I think it was off the back of another maul.  Unfortunately the conversion went a wee bit wide but the score was now at 0-12 with six minutes to play.  The Exiles closed the game out despite a few OIs attacks and recorded another MMT victory, the second on the bounce without conceding.

Tries:

Eff (2)

Cons:

Paul T (1)

Team (and rough position):

Alex Kruczkowski – 13
Andrew Madden – 15
Antony Lynch – 4
Barry Cousins – 3, 7
Chandra Sekar – 14
Clive Lungley – 12
Dave MacSweeney – 11
Fabio Krasniqi – 2, 6
Greg Bailey – 1
Greg Life – 3
Jonathan McKeogh – 13, 5
Julian Sweeny – 5
Mark Cannon – 2, 6
Neal Craig – 9
Nick Greenhalgh – 8 skip
Paul Toolan – 10
Peter Rank – 7
Steve Richards – 3