No Christmas miracle for West London as Thamesians unwrap a fourth bonus point win on the trot
Thamesians RFC ran out convincing 30-12 winners over West London RFC at Marble Hill Park on Saturday 13th December in the clubs' final fixture before a well earned festive rest. The game was defined by an exceptionally organised Thamesians' performance - robust in defence and patient in attack - punctuated by a few moments of individual brilliance.
The first half began with some dominant forward play - winning several scrums against the head - before Callum Godden carried the ball through a forest of defenders to open the scoring in the left corner. This passage of play defined what is one of the best performances I've seen from Callum this season, striking the right balance between organising the forwards and seizing opportunities to make ground and score points wherever they present themselves. Both of his tries were well taken and well deserved.
While the conversion from Jonno Chandler was not successful, he had an excellent game from the kicking tee - converting two tries and two penalties - and West London were never out of danger when they were penalised in their own half. Some intelligent decision making from Thamesians' Captain Rory O'Reilly ensured that penalty opportunities were converted into points rather than risked on the potential of a try in the corner.
The remainder of the game - played in cold and muddy conditions - was an organised performance from Thamesians who delivered their well-practiced game plan, built on a solid platform of ball retention and patient work through the phases. This patience was rewarded with tries, and the four scores secured the team's fourth bonus point win in succession. This momentum will be essential to maintain in order for the club to find itself in the top half of the table when the division splits in the New Year.
Although they may disagree, the ten points scored by West London arguably flatters them slightly, with both their tries scored following some rare defensive errors from the home side. The overwhelming majority of the game was played in the West London half by a Thamesians' side that - with some more clinical finishing - could have scored several more tries. The second forty minutes in particular was a lesson in how not to take advantage of a mismatched overlap composed of attacking backs faced with tiring forwards in defence.
The game was kept under control by one of the most consistent and (dare I say it) talkative refereeing performances we've yet seen this season. The only slight fly in the ointment was the rightly deserved yellow card in the final moments of the game, for a West London player previously warned for not rolling away from the breakdown, when he repeated the trick in attempting to prevent a final Thamesians' score after a sustained period of pressure from the forwards. Both teams left the field following a game played in the spirit the season demands, and neither can be unhappy with the result.
This bonus point win leaves Thamesians fifth in the Herts/Middlesex 2 table among a tight field, with third to sixth place separated by only two points. The first game of 2015 will be played on the 10th January, away to Harlequins Amateurs. Quins are currently placed seventh in the table and will be looking to bounce back after being thumped 44-3 by rampant league leaders Hillingdon Abbots in their own final game of 2014.
1.Sam Burlinson, 2.Mike Jury, 3.Rory O’Reilly, 4.Michael Griffiths, 5.Chris Vinson, 6.Lance Davis, 7.James Irwin, 8.Kristian Fitzgerald, 9.Callum Godden, 10.Kieran Morgan, 11.Joe Morgan, 12.Will Childs, 13.Dan Jones, 14.Matt Yates, 15.Jonno Chandler, 16.Mark Slater, 17.Dave John
MotM – Callum Godden
DotD – Joe Morgan for trying to impersonate Michael Flatley and faceplanting into the mud
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