What a fitting fixture to close out the Evergreens first season back in the Surrey Vets League. Our own cup final, a true test of steel and nerve against a well respected Vets team, that always sit in the upper echelons of the table. Winner takes all, 3rd versus 4th. In many parts of the game we matched them pound for pound, ruck for ruck and on another day with a little more composure we could beat them. Alas this time we came up just short of the mark.
Evergreens came out of the blocks fast and mean with a lot of quick clean ball resulting in two early penalties, the second of which skipper Usher elected to let Beck slot over; 3-0 Evergreens and looking good. However, in order to do this we had to over-commit numbers at the rucks and mauls and left ourselves short in the defensive line. Heavies used this to their advantage scoring three unanswered tries, using width intelligently leaving three on ones that even in his prime Tel would not have stopped. However, we regrouped and Cotts scored a morale boosting try after a sniping run from the diminutive Green before halftime to go in 15-8 down. Spirits were high at the halftime break, with clear deficiencies identified to work on.
But Heavies too had their tails up and played to their forward strength well, improving on their set-piece play and gaining more momentum at the scrum as well as working the floor well at the breakdown. A swirling wind confused Stokes, who chose to call “mark” 6 yards outside the 22 when catching a Beck kick that had been pushed back his way by a strong gust, he remained confused later when asked to explains his actions but took his ensuing punishment well at the presentation session. Two tries from them saw the lead stretch to 29-8, but resilience has been the by-word for this evolving Evergreens squad and they dug in to score two more tries, one converted. One of these was a true a backs try, finished by Tel in style in the corner after contributions from Whitney, Green (replacing the injured Hoban whose hamstrings are no longer made for kicking it seems) and the ever strong Jackson, channeling his energies well.
But this was not a loss to dwell on. This was a match played (almost always, cough, splutter) in a style and with a spirit that bodes well for next season. We need to build on this success, get off to a flying start and believe these games can be won because they can be – we should fear no one in this league now. Well done guys, enjoy your summer break but get ready for season #2!