In the death throws of the 2010/2011 season Ealing Exiles beat Windsor in the shadows of Windsor Castle in a fast and brutal game on the parched yet awesome Home Park grounds with a six try haul.
Nick Greenhalgh reports thankfully from the back of the scrum no.8 and not no.2 like last week!
Managed to get a fixture confirmation from the fixtures exchange on Thursday after persuading the Windsor fixtures secretary that the Exiles were actually a fair few notches down the ladder from Ealing 1st team on the rugby ranking board and so would provide a competitive oppo to a mixture of their 3’s and 4’s. I think it was the info about our training being the 1/2 pint of Guinness before the match that swung it. The end result did indeed show we were pretty even to this welcoming Windsor squad.
The game like far too many games of late started fast and seemed to continue that way throughout. The ref kindly limited the first half to 36 mins, but as Windsor seemed to be coming back a bit in the 2nd half seemed to play 40 + minutes in that half, or perhaps that is how it seemed to this aging Exile. We played well from the off, making good use of quick tap and runs from penalties. Windsor were not quick to retreat and we were awarded several extra 10 yards here and there as a result. The first and second Ealing tries came in quick succession. I can’t recall the first and will amend the report when I am reminded. The second was from Alex A tapping and darting from a penalty. They weren’t near 10 and didn’t realise that there was no one minding the camp behind the front men who graciously left him to run his 10. Well he just kept running and dotted it down from not far off the half way line, a few tried to chase him, and I even think he slowed to make them feel they could get a sniff, but his pace was too much.
Shortly after that restart we gave a way a penalty in our half and the oppo had a go at sending in the biggish runners. Much to my relief the runner didn’t try a side step or hand-off and laid his flank perfectly into my shoulder allowing me to lower him to the hard ground with great comfort on my part. Not so for his part as he didn’t seem to want to get up for five minutes. We then regained possession and kept up with our fast breaks. When we had support we were making good ground. Windsor were still not making use of their back line and we got another try, again a quick break a few missed tackles and a grounding of the oval ball. A little before the end of the first half the oppo did show that they could indeed break our defences as the ball made it out to their agile winger who deftly avoided a couple of Exile backs to get them on the score board.
Our scrum started a little weak, but quickly grew in strength and quelled the Windsor front 5. We cycled through 4 props, including the elusive Barry Cousin’s who has been nursing a very saw foot for the last season, and 3 second row today and various of these combinations worked very well. Though I suspect our fitness (surprisingly!) gave us the edge as the game wore on. One thing that did persist throughout the game was their hooker trying every trick in the book and then some to disrupt the put in. The fella did very well and they gained a few against the head. However, so did we, and they also gave away a few free kicks from these endeavors so I think we came out better on that tally.
As the end of our season approaches some of out players were showing they’d started to get to a reasonable level of fitness and this certainly made it’s mark around the park today. Here I’d like to praise Fabio who had the game of his season out on the wing firing where he could to upset the Windsor defence making good ground and often on hand screaming for the ball. Also Jonathan had a cracker, scoring 2 tries! I think this is the first time he’s scored for us. Great breaks! Jonathan show boated a little with his last try much to the Chagrin, and so there was a few puffed chests under the posts for a short while until the ref told everyone to get a life. Paul Havel also got in on the action coming in off his wing to shoot through the oppo centres to score, nice work Paul. Spike at number 10 found himself having to do a fair bit of back row work tackling and wrapped up many of opposition forages into his channel.
The second half saw the Windsor no. 10 take a bit more control and show some good distribution skills. We let a few tackles through and allowed too many gaps in our defences and they started to come back at a pace. Such a pace that we needed keep up the pressure and close the gaps and ideally score some more. We managed just that. In the closing minutes after several attempts by several other including Jareth, myself, Steve Richards and others, finally Dave Mac did what he does best and bludgeoned his way for fine try between the posts.
Exiles had a great day out in Windsor. Big thanks to the chaps from Windsor for hosting this last minute friendly, hope to make this a regular late season fixture. The ref also did a splendid job at letting the game flow very well, almost on a par with our Wayne Barnes experience a few weeks back, if not better. Nice end to the main season. Great to have Barry back on the pitch at last! Now all that is left of the season is to look forward to our Cobh Tour for Barrys 50th Birthday, and the Damian Bugeja Memorial match on the eve of Friday 20th May.
Man of the match: Fabio! – who would have thought!
- Jonathan McKeogh (2)
- Paul Havel
- Alex Adide
- Dave MacSweeney
- ? – apologies – will update when I find out who you were.
- Spike (4)
- Ghassan Matta
- Dave MacSweeney
- Steve Richards
- Anthony Lynch
- Anthony Chapman
- Fabio Krasniqi
- Jareth Keenan
- Nick Greenhalgh – Skipper
- Alex Adide
- Mark Davies
- Paul Havel
- Mark Rutherford
- Ray – on loan from the Evergreens
- Mike Salmon
- Barry Cousins
- Jonathan McKeogh
- Paul Havel’s mate – one off usually plays for Old Priorians but their season is over
- Alex Kruczkowski
Child card assistants (big thanks from me and Lucas!):