MATCH REPORT: 2XV Away at Mill Hill 2XV/1XV
A final friendly for the 2s ahead of entering the fourth tier of the merit leagues. Match Report by Alex Wood
Obviously the most important thing in sport is winning, unless you’re New Zealand or Australia playing in the Championship. However, with this being a friendly captain Nick Tewson also wanted us to use this as an opportunity to work on two keys areas of our game; intensity from the off and…something else, perhaps communication - I wasn’t at training and there was only a brief recap in the warm-up.
With a match day squad of 24, including the return of Stephen (how many pieces can I break my leg into) Morse to the front row, the Fins travelled to Mill Hill looking to put the previous weeks’ loss behind them. To some extent we succeeded, scoring twice as many tries (two) and conceding few enough to keep count (9). To be fair, post-match Mill Hill confessed fielding a mixed 1s and 2s team, the former plying their trade in Herts/Middlesex 2.
The game started brightly, with Tewson opting to kick deep into Mill Hill territory, trusting a mobile pack (plus Eamonn Gallagher) to put the oppo under pressure, which they did to great effect, forcing the turnover after a number of immense hits. Suffering under a barrage of [censored move name]s (and a couple of [censored move name]s) from the likes of Alex Cotton, Aaron Carter and Graham Rutherford, Mill Hill eventually caved in and gave away a penalty at the breakdown. Tewson kicked to the corner, falling over and twisting his ankle in the process - luckily not badly enough to end his game but it certainly had an impact on his electric pace. Unfortunately Mill Hill managed to steal the line-out on their own five and had the audacity to run the ball out from under their own sticks, 20 seconds later running under ours for the first try of the day.
The Finsbury restart didn’t go 10, then it bounced and went 10, the Mill Hill front row looking on in confusion as Alex Wood jogged through to collect and make a few meters. The backs moved the ball one way then the other to suck in the defence, with Tom Shirt and Liam Todd connecting beautifully in the midfield. At some point Richard Handley caught an elbow drop to the sternum and had to be subbed, could be broken, he certainly complained enough about it on the side-line. Having created the space, Finsbury went to the open-side once more, and like any prop worth his weight in lead, Mike Wood was waiting out wide. Drawing his defender Mike gave a no-look-spin-pop-pass to Daniel Brennan, who brushed off the covering defence with distain before doting down under the posts.
A number of injuries followed, disrupting team cohesion and giving Mill Hill the initiative. The Fins defended valiantly, and credit to them, when they did leak tries they were scored in the corners rather than under the posts. Mill Hill had pace out wide and put it to great effect. By this stage James Pattison had come on at scrumhalf with Shin Ando moving to fullback. Time and again Shin found himself up against a much bigger opposing player running at him full-tilt, and time and again said opposing player hit a brick wall.
A dogged Finsbury worked their way back into the game late on, kicking a pen to the corner. Mike Wood expertly missing his jumper with the resulting throw-in, instead finding Luke Williams minding his own business at the back of the line-out, who bulldozed his way over the line for the Fins second try of the game. The remainder of the game passed without much note, Mill Hill may have scored a try, I’m not sure, I was too busy avoiding the Italian, who had turned up to advise the front row on how to scrummage. Altogether a disappointing score-line in a game that had started with so much promise. This is clearly a team still getting to know each other, and there were periods of the game when Finsbury outplayed a more experienced Mill Hill.
Lessons to be learned, particularly keeping width in defence, and plenty of attacking options to worry Letchworth next week in the season opener. Shin to lead a tackling training session this week.
MOTM: Shin DOTD: Tewson
Final score: 57 - 10