Following the magnificent efforts from both sides, we had to overcome a slight lack of player availability for what is to be a fixture of two tough away games. Yet again an uncompromising weather condition meant that extra care was required even for the very basics of our beloved sport.
League 2nd vs 3rd, Hanwells chance to revenge after Spartans brave win in the first leg, cold windy December afternoon, the script was writing itself.
The last minute pitch change and the lack of access to access the Old Isleworthians second pitch (everyones back up it seems…) led to a rushed but focused warm up.
Having the coaching team in the starting XV everyone wanted to show that they deserved to be on that pitch, and that we did.
Brilliant start on set pieces with Seb stealing the lineout and ‘not the biggest pack’ forwards pushing the scrum backwards. Great breaks from Seb and Sean with handy support by Billy and Yatesy (one more year??), quick two tries by Sean brought Spartans 10-3 up.
Just when we thought we were getting into the rhythm, things started to show in a complete opposite way. Missed tackles, dropped balls, no communication, lack of discipline… it was not easy to comprehend that this was the same side who just dominated the first 20 minutes of the game. Two soft tries (one converted) and a penalty by Hanwell turned the momentum to Hanwells favour, ending the first half 10-18. Needless to say, many heads were down despite the very bright start of the first half.
The usual Matty Yates halftime motivational speech brought back the twinkles to Spartans eyes. Enthusiastic kick off for the second half showed promising breaks and support play in a worsened condition. Not being able to convert the work into points, slight lack of concentration following a brave try line defence led to another try for Hanwell.
Absolute no means of giving up, Spartans carried on fighting led by Gav Locks brave charge down with his face shortly after getting onto the pitch. Far more mistakes than we would like to allow ourselves to remember, however, a difficult game started feeling a little too far-fetched. Frustration became penalty giveaway and Hanwell kicker’s useful right boot slotted over for another 3 points, it did not feel good.
Final score of 10-26 was not how we wanted to finish 2015 and certainly not the ideal set up for what would be another quiet Saturday evening at the pavilion….
Some brilliant individual performances need to be mentioned, Seb and Sean showing quick feet with ball in hand, Colt’s destructive line and supporting runs, a little reminder of Yates all-round rugby skills, brilliant defensive work from Dave (yes Dave, 10m need to be given not 10 inches) and of course the forwards set piece effort.
The jolly festive season is upon us, we pick ourselves up, enjoy some family time, remember that loss until the next training session to unleash our potential in the coming 2016.
Remember, dogs are not just for Christmas.
1. Dominic Worley, 2. Adelaid Cela, 3. Sam Martin, 4. Kevin Newe, 5. Dave Jones, 6. Michal Sulkowski, 7. Seb Turner, 8. Colt North, 9. Dan Hamblin, 10. Billy Edmonds, 11. David Jackson, 12. Jason Shepherd, 13. Jake O’Brien, 14. Matty Yates, 15. Seanie Madigan, 16. Gavin Lock, 17. Peter Forsdick, 18. Peter Kim
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