OPs lose heavily at Rochford
13 players bravely battle against the league's best
To say the OPs have an injury crisis would be underselling it somewhat. With the situation exacerbated by a few players unable to play due to various other commitments, this weekend had long been identified as troublesome, not least because it came against the league's best side primarily made up of a group of players once playing in Nat 2. As the week went on, the options narrowed with the club able to name only 14 players for the fixture. Even that would have been lucky, with one player injured in the warm up and unable to take part at all. The 13 that started comprised a few 1st team regulars with a few 2nd team regulars and a couple of occasionals - all of whom bravely battled to represent the club despite the fairly hopeless position.
As one would expect, Rochford made short work of the two extra players and space, executing skills to a high level to put players away for largely long range scores. The OPs had moments of good play, managing to keep the ball and threaten the Rochford try line on a couple of occasions on a dreary afternoon in deepest Essex.
The scoreline finished 97-0, large but largely irrelevant. The result was never in doubt anyway, but the players fought well and put in a shift that respected both the opposition and competition by playing the game at all. The players remained upbeat, proud of their efforts and looking forward to having some beers on the way home. The result will have no impact on the season as a whole, but could serve as a big positive in the long run that the boys stepped forward to play the game at all.
We look forward to playing back at the comforts of Perivale next week as we welcome Sudbury to West London as the final team we have yet to play so far this season. Certainly there are injuries that will not heal in time, but the overall squad picture for next week looks undeniably rosier than a week ago.
Huge credit and thanks to 'the Rochford 13': Howe, Moore, Djedje, Machado, Ahukanna, Halsall, Hansell, Clarke, McBride, Shabani, Booth, Goualin and Raine.
Damo Langley Award: Rowan Halsall
Joe Codrington Award: James Booth