After a convincing victory in week one we had big expectations for our first match back home at Marble Hill Park. Unfortunately, what we seemed to overlook was that London French were also looking to build on their week one victory …
We set out with a simple game plan - keep the ball tight and try to soften them up through the middle. Things started “for the most part” according to plan. T’s maintained consistent pressure and pushed into the French’s half, and were awarded a kickable penalty for their trouble. Jonno made easy work of his first attempt at goal and gave T’s an early 3-0 lead. We then exchange penalties and held a 6-3 lead but there was no doubt that we are in a real rugby match.
After a successful driving maul, T’s were awarded a penalty deep in French territory, with Rory opting to kick for the corner. With a lineout on the 5m line we went back to the driving maul and pushed over for the first try of the afternoon. Jonno followed up with the conversion and we were up a cool 13-6.
The game plan seems to be working. After more sustained pressure up the middle the back line took advantage of a thinly spread French defense and Matty scored a beauty of a try in the corner, putting us up 18-6.
At some point shortly thereafter, the wheels fell off. Offensive structure seemed to disappear and T’s spent the rest of the first half on the hind foot and were lucky to keep the lead going into the break.
The second half started much the same as the first ended. We were unable to mount any real offensive threat. The French maintained much of the possession and T’s were once again forced to defend. Our defense held up to the French attack reasonably well as the boys put there tired bodies on the line and managed to hold them to a single try. It was hard work, to say the least.
The real downfall occurred at the breakdown. Time after time our discipline at the breakdown cost us penalties, and the surefooted French kicker made us pay for it.
After watching our lead slip away, we were facing a 19-18 deficit. In a last ditch effort to try and salvage the match T’s pushed into the French half and were awarded a penalty. Nobby stepped up and split the uprights. We are back on top with four minutes to play. It looked like we might just have pulled this one out of the fire....
Any joy was short lived however, as in the dying seconds the French were again awarded a penalty in our half. The French kicker once again stepped up and snatched the victory for the visitors on the last play of the game. Only one word lingered on Thamesians lips .... merde.
Final Score: T’s 21 – 22 French
Tries: C Mike(1), Matty(1)
Pens: Jonno(2). Nobby(1)
1.Rory O’Reilly, 2.Mike Jury, 3.Adrian Walker, 4.Nick Green, 5.Ben Banks, 6.Lance Davis, 7.Dan Jones, 8.Marc Lynch, 9.Mark Slater, 10.Dave Botha, 11.Jonathan Chandler, 12.Will Childs, 13.Michael Griffiths, 14.Matt Yates, 15.Kieran Morgan, 16.James England
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