Thursday Night Lights as we finally conquer The Beast From the East
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Thursday Night Lights as we finally conquer The Beast From the East
Old Streetonians’ re-arranged match from ‘the beast from the east’ weekend was against St Albans, where we’d lost in a disappointing display before Christmas. Complications were aplenty before the day of the match; we eventually agreed to play on the Thursday evening at Finchley under lights and, having paid them to hire the pitch, they kindly told us on Wednesday night that we could no longer use their pitch because they’d thought it was a vets game, and vets games definitely have less scrums and churn a pitch up less than 1st XV games.
So, undeterred, a full complement of Onions- including coach Nick Barham and the ever-present heroes that are Richard and Lynn Hay- travelled to St Albans for our ‘home’ fixture. But away.
The game itself started positively for Old Street as ground was made early down the left-hand side by winger Matt Owens and of course through the middle by number 8, Colm Goode. It wasn’t long before our ‘visitors’ infringed and with advantage being played, fly-half Eoin ‘Ojo’ Fitzpatrick needed no second invitation as he dropped into the pocket and, upon receiving an expertly whipped pass from his half back partner Neil Pittaway, he struck his drop goal attempt wonderfully from 40 metres out to put us 3-0 up. Our next 7 points followed soon after, we once again had success getting on the outside shoulder of a narrow defence, most notably from the engine room of Ryan Trudgeon and Geoffroy Audousset, showing that brain>brawn. With the line beckoning and Josh Parry patiently waiting for a walk-in, there was a deliberate knock-on from a St Albans player which led the unsympathetic referee to immediately award a penalty try and yellow card the offender.
St Albans did begin to show signs of life following this and after having limited success with their barrages down the middle, thanks in no small part to the offensive defence of back row trio Harry Marson, Colm Goode and Pip Bhol (starting out of position at flanker). They did manage to stretch the defence on the outside on a couple of occasions but for the time being we held firm. Our next try came on the 30-minute mark through dropper Conor Fitzgibbon, after neat midfield work from Ojo and inside centre David Potterton saw the latter presented with almost too much time, but eventually making the right call and sending his centre partner clean through who amazingly grounded the ball for a 5-point score. St Albans, to their credit, didn’t stop fighting and after a period of sustained pressure on our line they scored their only try of the night from close range, the half ended minutes later at 15-5.
Old Street were back at it immediately from the beginning of the second half, the trusty boot of Ojo ensured good territory and the set piece, led by rose Will Gilgrass and two considerably larger thorns, Connor Osborne and Luke Wilson, was reliable- no mean feat against a larger and game side. Given the physicality of the match it was also very handy to be able to interchange maverick Douglas Brown and the man that shall only be known as big Dave when the big boys needed a break. The first points of the half were again in the form of a 3, when Ojo slotted a penalty early on. We scored our next try soon after, this time Conor Fitzgibbon hitting a line his cousin would be proud of to slice through and score.
As the game opened up the Onions seemed to threaten from everywhere- Neil Pittaway probed and sniped well and Josh Parry was one dodgy bounce away from gathering a near-perfect Ojo Crossfield kick. As St Albans tried to relieve pressure with a kick, they made the mistake of missing touch and finding replacement winger Ellis Hockin-Boyers, who showed searing pace during a scintillating break which set us up well. Quick ball and another neat midfield move put Spalding in space with a stretched defence, the full-back showing a characteristic dummy and sliding in for a 7-point score. With time ticking the Onions broke one more time, Pip Bhol, back where he belongs on the wing, carried strongly and was supported well by skipper Harry Marson. The ball was eventually recycled to prop Connor Osborne who, somewhat unbelievably, stepped inside and then powered over the line. We left St Albans with a resounding 37-5 bonus point win.
St Albans 1XV 5 – 37 Old Street Rugby 1XV
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