The morning of the first match day to kick off the league had finally arrived and now it was time to deliver our game plan on the pitch. The first game of the season, as always, is met with anticipation and an eager opportunity for the T’s to impress on to the league our statement of intent – would we take this opportunity? First order of the day was the presentation at the club house of the players’ shirts, good luck messages from some of the club’s favourites, Bart and Dave and a succinct message from Rory reaffirming his intent at the helm and setting expectations to the players. Historically, Quintin is a difficult place to return with a win and memories of last year’s high scoring loss were still fresh in the minds of some of the players and retribution was clear to see on their faces. A focused warmup with many new faces (young and pretty) to the squad along with no drop balls was perhaps an early indicator of the execution and delivery on the pitch.
Kick off arrived in ideal conditions and immediately it was apparent that both sets forwards were well stocked in both their physicality as well as their skill set. The arm wrestle began and with the forwards trading blows and running their patterns to good effect, it was clear to see that they had indeed brought their ‘A’ game to the pitch. It was Quintin however, after a strong forward surge and an infringement from Thamesians that allowed them to chalk up the first three points on the scoreboard – was this the tonic required to mount a charge and answer the skipper’s battle cry? Kick off saw a big hit from our non-sleep requiring, no tie, shirt or trouser wearing globe trotter, Mr Adrian Walker – the catalyst had arrived and duly the ball was turned over and Adrian was set to continue gobbling up opposition like a crazed sleep deprived maniac. Some sharp handling with potent turnover ball resulted in Jono, with plenty to do, finishing off a well worked try that only he can make look so easy as well the conversion sailing over the sticks like a sharp left body blow to the Quintin players. 7-3 and round one to Thamesians. Itching to impress and replicate the speed, agility and footwork of our backs, some of the forwards found themselves on the wing. The first impersonator was James Erwin, ball in the bread basket and in yards of space he was off in search of glory but a good drift defence was starting to consume his options. His next move only he knew, was it a side step or a bosch to flatten the 15? With spectators frozen in excitement and jaws a gasp, James eloquently dinks a chip over the last line of defensive for Jono to turn on the after burners and touch down for his second try. Astonishing scenes. With some further good work from forwards and backs, Thamesians found themselves with a 5 yard penalty. Rory could smell blood, he opted for the corner, now was the time to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. Fear descended onto the Quintin pack and with a well-executed line out, the perfect stake was created to drive through the heart of the defence. Like a hot knife through butter, there was little resistance and Coogan barrelled (get it) over for another five points. The half time whistle blew and it was a great first innings.
Quintin are known for their come backs and immediately from the start of the second half, Thamesians were not going to take their foot off the pedal and preceded to execute some great patterns linking well between forwards and backs as if they had been playing together for years. Again, they found themselves with a 5 yard penalty off the opposition line. Itching for a quick tap, many lesser experienced players wanted a chance at glory, however, Rory, with his insatiable thirst for blood quietly nodded to the corner. That nod, resonated on the faces of the Quintin pack, they had seen this before and fear shuddered through their bodies once more. The forwards reloaded their shotgun, slowly squeezed the trigger and blew them away with another perfectly executed stake to the heart with Coogan orchestrating well from the rear and touching down for his second of the day. The hits and relentless gain line battles being won by Thamesians were taking their toll on a gritty Quintin side and it looked like the war was swaying in Thamesians’ favour. Gaps were beginning to appear and the backs were able to break once more off the kick off for a piercing first phase attack breaking down on the 22. The scent of blood deep in the nasal cavities of the dogs was running out, the pack wanted more and the following phase saw some powerful running combined with silky handling, saw Glenda touch down for a wonderful team try. Quintin depleted further and Thamesians scored two more tries in quick succession. David Botha touched down in the corner after some good backs handling and Tramp (empowered by his short short shorts) coasted in 50 yards after a drop ball, when a Quintin back made the grave error of trying to cut back inside after a scrum and was met by Lance who slammed the door in his face. Thamesians’ final try was a fantastic solo effort. Having come on off the bench and after a number of powerful runs and solid defensive tackles, it was clear there was a steely determination and grit in his eyes. What was the source of this inspiration the players were muttering…? the penny dropped – the fan club. With parents and girlfriend watching on the side lines, he wanted to impress and following a long pass from Slash, predictably low, this was the chance for James England to grab the headlines and become the talk of the clubhouse. With reckless abandon and already at full tilt having had to pick the ball from his toes, England selected a destructive line and headed in field in search of burly forwards to humiliate. Mercilessly handing off the big boys and slicing through the defence, a shift here, a shift there, his hips were doing all the talking and he gracefully ghosted past the 15 to touch down under the sticks. With a glance back at his adoring fans (and proud Mammy), the nod of being suitably impressed was received – his job here was done and bragging rights in the bag.
A great win for our first game and a sterling performance from every single player, well done!
1.Sam, 2. Rory (C), 3. Coogan, 4. Adrian, 5. Glenda, 6. James, 7. Dan J (VC), 8. Lynchy, 9. Slash, 10. Botha, 11. Jono, 12. Nobby, 13. Tramp, 14. Yatsey, 15. Kieran, 16. Lance, 17. England, 18. Ken
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