Thamesians went into this week’s game against Watford limping from a catastrophic defeat a week earlier, which put into question our team’s resolve and ambition. A statement was needed today as two very important members of our team (our captain Rors and centre Tramp) could not play.
The game didn’t start well at all for us. We didn’t see much ball in the first 15 minutes and we were struggling to get some structure on defence. Watford was looking dangerous and dominated in both possession and territory and I am not alone in thinking that we were lucky to only give away three points during this time. Cheers to our backs who managed to save some tries in the scramble defence we managed to organise.
Things slowly started to change, curiously so, after seeing ourselves being on the scoreboard. The words shared behind the posts were quite clear - “This is a mess and we need to sort it out right now!” …and indeed we did.
It started (as it often does) in the forwards. It was no champagne rugby but it was what Gentsy and Billy had asked us: ball retention. First a few phases with the forwards running greens and ambers of Callum and Kieran, but the wheels didn’t look oiled enough and we still gave the ball away several times. It was a start though, and when we saw that with patience we could get there we clicked into the structure training on Thursday, showing some more than decent minutes of Rugby.
Watford were under pressure and conceded a penalty on their 40s. Jono punished them with an amazing kick to level the scores.
Watford continued to feel the heat and after a long kick back to us, Jono picked the ball, ran back to their backs and gave the ball to Jo, who did nothing less than the impossible - he stepped through four adversaries and used the same determination we have seen on him on occasions, scoring an absolutely incredible try behind the posts. Ts 10 Watford 3.
Kieran (what a game he had) wisely used that ball (which on one of the occasions landed on our newby Darryl), played on the wing, unapologetically running over two defence players in an astonishing display of skill and power. Welcome to the club mate!
Half time and the words from Gentsy were : just keeping doing what you’re doing and they will break. Rors added some emotion asking us to really have a go at them as it was only down to us (we could see how much he wanted to be playing).
In the second half we kept to the game plan and crashed into their midfield with everything we had. And we had a lot…our pair of locks (Soups and Jonesy) were absolutely inspiring, running against their defence relentlessly phase after phase, always winning the advantage line and making rucks and quick ball easy. Irwin got in and made an immediate impact to the forwards with some good runs as well.
Watford didn’t quit and kept having a go at us with their big forwards running good lines and gaining some ground, but we kept our composure and managed to return the favour. After a very good period of several phases of rugby from our forwards, a quick ball was given to the backs and a simple draw and pass call was made to put Jo behind the posts again. Ts 15 Watford 3.
Two silly errors (on kick of receiving and lineout) was what it took to allow Watford to rehearse a comeback scoring a good try through their scrummy (yes we know the Ref was in front of you Adrian). Ts 15 Watford 8.
Our determination didn’t change though. We felt we had them but we also knew we had to back it up with actions, so we had another go at them which resulted in very good try from our backs, who showed some exceptional skills with their hands. This gave Darryl a perfect picture try, as he dived to the try line near the left corner. Ts 22 Watford 8.
A statement was needed from our beloved team and it was given. This is how a team should handle a defeat. Kicking back and putting our bodies on the line as a team to achieve that which we could not do individually. It also looks quite simple when we do what Gentsy and Billy tell us to do.
Try scorers: Jo (2) and Darryl
Man of the match: Soups
Dick of the day: Coogan
1 Sam Burlinson; 2. Colin Coogan; 3. Jamie Heaton; 4. Ben Jones; 5. Chris Vinson; 6. Lance Davis; 7. Mike Jury; 8. Franco da Cunha; 9. Callum Godden; 10. Kieran Morgan; 11. Joe Morgan; 12. William Childs; 13. Dan Jones; 14. Darryl Rooney; 15. Johnno Chandler ; 16. James Irwin ; 17. Slash ; 18. Adrian Walker
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