Saturday was a big day of rugby in Twickenham, starting with the match that mattered most, Thamesians V Uxbridge, much welcomed after a strong training session Thursday and having the previous weekend off. This was reflected in the changing room beforehand, a great buzz and energy circulating throughout the team, looking forward to the chance to continue our winning ways, always playing with a smile on our faces.
A hazy, warm autumnal day greeted us for our lunchtime kick off, a great day to play great rugby, and so it proved to be. A long kick off from Uxbridge greatly received from the Ts pack and trucked up the pitch set the tone early on, every tackle made every ruck hit, a big physical game for every Thamesian man on the pitch. A very nip tuck affair for the first half an hour saw Ts patiently build their phases with high tempo and energy from all, the only deciding factor being the odd error here or there from either side.
Indeed, both sides were giving their all, and whilst Ts had the edge, the stalemate remained, both teams where pilling on the pressure, great work from the forwards in the scrum and from line out ball meant that the lion’s share of possession was ours, we just couldn’t seem to capitalise. A keenly contested scrum inside in side Thamesians half led to a rare breakaway for the away side their 13 somehow finding space running the inside line and dashing home, the conversion dully being scored.
Under the post, calm prevailed, we knew that although there was a score on the board it wasn’t reflected in the play and duly rose to the occasion. Whilst Uxbridge continued to offer stiff resistance, Thamesians found another gear and started exert some real control over the match. Another (brief) attempt at a break by their 13 led to Franco and Tramp crafting an absolute beast of a tackle, Franco being the first in by a split second and going in low like a freight train, before Tramp followed suit and assisted the emptying of his opposite number’s lungs with a surgically placed shoulder right into the bread basket, the resulting groan being heard across Marble Hill Park.
The following swift turnover leading to a bruising march up the pitch, some great phase play and strong running from both forwards and backs culminating in a in a great drive over the line with Lance crashing over, an immediate and effective answer given, the half time whistle being blown as Joey Morgan slotted home, 7-7 and half time.
A brief break some much needed water and some stirring words from Rors and Chocs raised the belief, the amount of effort being put in by each and every man made for some tired bodies but we knew for as draining as it was on the energy reserves it was twice as bad for the opposition. Galvanised by halftime, we came out looking to put our opponents to the sword.
A short kick off from Zac at 10 led to the red wave crashing into Uxbridge straight from the off, the rolling thunder led by Rory, closely followed by Glenda and Jonesy in support, as was the case all afternoon, strong counter rucking by the aforementioned, plus Crazy, C-Mike, Lance, George and Russell meant the ball was quickly turned over to Thamesian hands, time to start converting possession into points, no hanging around this time! With Uxbridge throwing everything but the kitchen sink at T’s ruck, and the home side standing strong, DJ (that is Dan Jones, not DJ …geddit?) at 9 dug the ball out from the from as the defending team furiously tried to turn over, coolly spotted the space and darted through to slide in for his fifth try of the season, the conversation duly sailing through the uprights.
The restart saw Ts look to keep their foot on the opposition’s throat, a good receive and return up the pitch, the only salvation for Uxbridge coming in the shape of a rare error leading to the ball being handed over and some respite up the pitch. Some great work in defence quickly put paid to this idea, in particular George’s big smash on his opposite number, getting low and driving him at least 5 meters the opposite direction.
With the ball retained the march towards the Uxbridge try line resumed, ever relentless, the ball worked its way forwards, the whole team getting in on the act with some great carries all occurring all over the pitch. The pressure on this hard inevitably led to the defence crumbling, a scrum being called with around 10 meters out from our target, the ball being brilliantly worked to get into the space before a ferocious Ts pack formed to drive the ball home and blow away any opposition, C-Mike seeing it over the line for the try.
With Ts running rampant and possession secure the home side really start to cut loose, some great phases and strong link ups finding gaps and holes at every opportunity. With the ball being worked this well it wasn’t long before the try line would be found and James England obliged, one of several strong runs bearing its reward.
The frenetic pace slowed ever-so slightly, the ball being turned over by each side and play managing to settle for a brief respite, both teams blowing from the home sides onslaught. Again Ts dug deep and kicked on, their second wind coming in the form of another great line out win from Russell, and the ball coming down, before an absolutely storming maul saw the ball driven 30 meters downfield, the resulting penalty being kicked by Joey to see the scores at 26-7.
Uxbridge came out swinging being battered and bruised from the performance Thamesians were putting in, some long probing kicks being ably fielded by Joe at Fullback, continually breaking the gain line on each and every return. Unfortunately possession just couldn’t be kept and, once again, against the run of play the away team eventually worked a try.
A time to dig deep and see home the herculean effort by the team saw the same relentless attack which occurred at the beginning of the second half, Franco and Tramp combining lethally in the mid-field to allow Franco to tank through and claim yet another try for the home team and seal the match. The last five minutes and we were cruising, but we weren’t done yet, Rors deciding to go for the extra points and kick to the corner, his confidence not being misplaced, the Ts, so strong all afternoon in both the scrum and lineout, won the ball yet again. Glenda driving infield towards the oppositions five meter line, before Hugo spotted the space, shouted Zac to spray right and charged home for the Ts sixth and final try of the match, the conversion being the scored saw the final whistle and, more importantly, a lot of smiling Thamesian faces.
Tries: Lance, Dan Jones, C-Mike, James England, Franco, Hugo.
Man of the Match: Russell Knight – Everywhere and won everything.
Dick of the Day: Crazy – Butchering a try in the corner after Rors put him in!
Team List - 1. Christian Martinez 2. Mike Jury 3. Rory O’Reilly 4. Glen Thompson 5. Ben Jones 6. Lance Davis 7. Russell Knight 8. George Flatman 9. Dan Jones 10 .Zac Tewake 11. David Jackson 12. Francisco DaCunha 13. Michael Griffiths 14. James England 15. Joe Morgan 16. Andrew Robling 17. Hugo Fildes
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