2s Outshine 1s At the Marshes #OneClub
2nds win in clubs first double header - by Aaron Carter
A double header of gargantuan proportions, the first in the clubs history and the most hotly anticipated since the last time Jersey visited lobstertube. Hackney marshes played host to the two clashes toward the top of the respective tables, for the 2s a win would see Park leapfrog Chesham whilst a loss would leave a mountain to climb in the quest for a second promotion in as many years for the fledgling side.
As if any more motivation were required the reverse fixture saw a dejected Fins team return home having lost in the final play of the game, revenge was on the agenda.
After a bright start by Park the opening exchanges descended into scrappy play, punctuated by a series of fouls committed around the ruck by the Fins Pack. Some assured kicking by Chesham combined with an uncontested scrum saw the away team gain valuable yards and within a few phases they were to be found camped on the Try line.
Wave after wave of attack crashed against the park line with Alberto, Eamon and Jason particularly worthy of praise leading to a penalty to Park for holding on. A spot of luck saw Chesham drop the resulting Tewson kick into touch, which had fallen just short of its mark. Finally a platform for the offence.
A series of good phases saw Fins move the ball confidently up the pitch before Viking cut inside from the right wing on the 5m line and eventually remembered to place the ball down to draw the first blood of the game. 7-0 Fins following a good conversion against the wind for R Handley.
Following the restart Park continued to give away fouls despite regular warnings from the referee - the handsome second row pairing mainly at fault - resulting in Jonjo's 3rd yellow of the season. During the same ruck a Chesham forward saw red and swung a boot at the aforementioned 2nd row's granite like abs, earning his own 10 minute respite.
No sooner than we were up to a full compliment, Alex 'I'm sorry sir, I couldn't hold myself up' Thomas smothered a Chesham prop after some good counter rucking and had a 10 minute breather.
After a series of opportunities were squandered by Fins, Chris Neels finally added another Try, striding through the Chesham back line like Treebeard through Fangorn forest before using all of his 8ft 7inch frame to place the ball over his pursuer and down for 12-0.
The Oppo's response was quick and effective, turning the ball over at the ruck before spreading play the full width of the pitch creating space for some quick feet, a slick finish and good conversion. 12-7. Seemingly lifted by reducing the deficit, Chesham applied some real pressure and the packs physicality saw them camped on the Fins try line once again, some more resolute defending from the 14 men on the pitch ensued, epitomised by Greg ‘Viking’ Bloom holding the ball up to deny a certain try as the half time whistle blew.
The second half saw a more drilled and assured Park team emerge from the huddle, the objective, to hold onto the ball and control play.
Pin point kicking from Tewson provided the platform for a marauding Jason Hart try, breaking through the line with a 15m carry, several big hand offs and a guttural northern grunt. Buoyed by the accuracy of his kicking in open play, Tewson slotted the tricky conversion to leave the score line at 19-7.
The forwards now starting to grow into the game, big tackles by Wayne Scripps and Robert Simpson who took to the field during the second period had the oppo on the back foot.
On 63 minutes park once again found themselves at the right end of the pitch but a stubborn Chesham defence was proving tough to break down during the final phase. A couple of attempts to cross the line around the ruck were repelled however, did succeed in drawing in the pack and affording the backs room to work. Quick play from Shin found Tewson in space and a great line from Jason was sure to break the defensive line before the glory hunting number 10 used the furious northerner as a decoy and jinked through resultant gap like a glass ankled gazelle for a try under the posts. 26-7 following an R Handley conversion.
With the score now rising faster than north London knife crime, Chesham came hard with some powerful carries to drive Park deep into their own territory. Valiant defending and a great clearance saw Shin sprinting up the field onto a loose ball and a guaranteed try. A first kick took the ball toward the centre of the pitch, a second took him to the try line, well clear of the oppo’s 15 before employing the bold tactic of rolling the ball over the line like a wheel of cheese at village fate – DOTD sorted and Jonjo could breath a sigh of relief.
With the game drawing to a close Chesham brought a flowing Park move to a halt resulting in a line out on their own 5m line. Tig leapt into the space claiming the ball faster than a scouser’s Giro and dived over the line to cap a fine performance at number 8. Final score 31-7.
A tough victory against a strong Chesham side takes Finsbury Park 2nds into the automatic promotion spots with a cup/league combo against Pinner and top of the table clash with Cuffley to wrap the season up.
DOTD – Shin
POTM – Chris Neels
It should be noted here that in a charitable act our POTM Chris Neels would not allow Shin to straw the pint of Guinness solo, instead taking to all fours and joining in. Shin smashed through the well earned pint in seconds, rumour has it Neels is still supping.