September 9th marked the beginning of the 2017/18 rugby season and the T’s were keen to put the disappointment of the tail end of last year behind them. A host of new recruits and a gruelling pre-season under their belt, the T’s departed HQ for a tricky away day versus Haringey. A Haringey side no doubt buoyed by the fact that they held T’s to a 10 all draw in the same fixture last year.
The day started awfully with a three hour bus journey meaning the team changed on the bus on the North Circular road and arrived 5 minutes before kick-off. The message from Billy and stand-in skipper Kieran was simple, keep it tight for the first 20 minutes, make every tackle and settle into the game. The message was returned with interest and the massive second row of George and Neil lead the line in terms of tackle count in the first quarter. It took 15 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, Haringey attacking on the T’s 22, only for the ball to be stripped and chipped ahead. Keagan showed his opposite winger the after burners and after a clever hack on, the ball bounced delightfully into his arms and he was able to dot down the season opener. TJ added the 2 and the T’s were rolling.
The second try wasn’t long after, ball secured in midfield from the dominant pack, was then shipped wide from man of the match Slash, through the hands of Alex, Kieran and TJ to find other winger Lincoln, who in turn ensured the Haringey wingers that they were in for a long day. A minor blip just before the break let Haringey back into the game and left the scores at 12-7 at half time.
A few changes at half time and T’s knew with the wind and the hill in their favour that an opening day win was well within their grasp. It was one of those changes which extended the lead. A clever turnover from Buddha, got the ball to Cokes for his first touch of the season, he put Keagan away and followed the little winger to join in the celebrations. To his complete shock Keagan threw the ball back to him (which he fumbled for what seemed like an age) for his second touch and he slid over in the corner.
That should have been the key to open the floodgates, however, instead it opened the heavens. Torrential rain then followed for ten minutes, turning the game into a bit of a mess and sending T’s head-coach Billy to take refuge in the team Bus. After the storm passed, Lincoln secured the bonus point, again, clever LINC (sorry not sorry) up play with TJ sent him dashing over in the corner to claim his second of the season.
There was still time for one more bit of magic and it was super sub Cokes at it again. Haringey dropped the ball in their backline before the ball ricocheted off a few legs. Cokes beat the Haringey full back to the ball and as it bounced up off the ground, he managed to delicately dink it over the on- rushing defenders head, Zebo v Wales, O’Driscoll v Wasps and now Cokes v Haringey showing the crowd why the Irish are such a talented bunch of individuals. Needless to say he gathered the ball on the other side of the full back and sprinted to the corner to his delight and to the anguish of his fellow teammates, well in the knowledge that it will take some effort to deny him defending his try of the season title.
Job done, 5 points to the visitors and back to the top of the table they go. There was still enough time for Kieran to ensure that he will be handing the Skippers armband back to Deano sooner than expected with an awful post-match speech. The T’s piled back into the bus and again set off on an unnecessarily long bus journey, the content of which is not suitable for daytime reading.
Haringey 7 – 33 Thamesians
Try scorers - Keagan, Lincoln (2), Cokes (2)
Conversions – TJ (4)
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