By Tony Leigh
The Tourists on the road to Orpington saw a new meet venue 'Brixton Station' and with it a rather shady young local lad trying to encroach into the squad’s circle. We were keen to get moving away from this suspicious individual but added to our unspectacular start to the day was Stu's quip when he then arrived - that he was less than impressed with the squad assembled in front of him, Nothing like some positive reinforcement going into an away game!!
On arrival in Orpington we quickly saw the match was going to be played on the number 2 pitch. For those of you who haven't played Orpington before, this pitch somewhat resembles the landscape of a roller coaster ride. Added to that it was quite cut up, so the dead track wasn’t going to be that conducive to open rugby.
After a short warm up and with the rain withholding we were ready for what lay in front of us. As the game kicked off, we lost San very early to knee damage so wasn’t the great start we were looking for.
We went on and gained ascendancy early in the game and showed good continuity and ball control in difficult conditions. This hard work paid dividends as we went through the first 30 minutes scoring 5 well worked tries. Rambler showed an above average kicking return and the score line swelled to 31-0 before Orpington finally got on the board courtesy of a quick tap penalty in the corner. We immediately hit back however with another converted score and went into halftime 38-5 to the good.
As the second half started, the inclement weather came with it, the rain made ball handling (on an already cut up track) extremely difficult and although it was the Tourists who looked most likely to breach the local’s try line it was the hosts who in fact scored the first and only try of the second stanza and the uncovered score to the locals ended the match 38-10 in favour of the Tourists.
We bombed several opportunities in the second half by poor ball handling and inept decision making but that’s why you set platforms in rugby, although we were guilty of being complacent in the second period we won the game in the first 40.
Specials shout outs must go to John Efrem, Jamie O'Connor and Carlos de Rojas who were handed their debut for the club and it should also be noted that Dan Jardine was, as always "full of running" - albeit from Bristol.
Stu's powerful tackle in the first 40 minutes was his self-promoted baby champagne moment of the day - this was overshadowed however by a frank confession by himself on the train back home. The startling revelation came on the back of a conversation about text book tackling, and I quote "the best text book tackle ever placed on me was by a 14 year old girl”, and that it "still haunts him" is somewhat of a concern!
Rambler 4 conversions
It seems that somebody forgot to post the first game report, so there you go....
Orpington II 0 - 29 Southwark Lancers III
By Ian Routledge
Saturday 12th November saw a strong Tourists squad travel down to St Mary Cray station to play Orpington II. Dubbed 'the clash of the titans' with two of the league's top teams going head-to-head, we knew it would be a tough game with the incentive of the table-top dizzy heights awaiting.
The day started well with a full squad of almost 18 (yes you read that right) gathering at Victoria for the journey down. I say almost 18 - two of the guys managed to jump on a train to the wrong place, DoD contenders before we'd even got to the ground, impressive. A big thank you has got to go out at this point to big Stu B for organizing the thirds in the absence of Javi and all that without even getting on the pitch.
After the 10 minute stroll from the station we were greeted by a sloping, weed ridden, dog shit covered pitch without any lines. Not to worry though, we were given the necessary 'equipment' to flick the shit off the pitch, something I hadn't considered I'd be doing when I got up in the morning. We warmed up in typical tourists fashion (badly) and readied ourselves for kick-off only to be delayed for a further 10 minutes whilst the solid lines were painted on to the pitch - who needs dashed lines anyway?
The referee, our very own Bryan 'Alain Rolland' Mahon, finally blew the whistle to get game underway and the battle commenced. So another big thank you is owed to Bryan for kindly agreeing to referee at the very last minute.
We'd elected to play up the formidable slope in the first half and it proved to be tough to keep any sustained pressure up. We were going backwards in the scrum but some solid tidying up by number 8 Fabien saved us from some sticky situations. It was a cagey first half with neither team looking much like getting over the line, despite some strong running from the opposition's powerful full-back and some mazey running in the Lancer's back line. We narrowly missed a couple of penalties but the half ended 0-0.
Cue big Rich Black for an (a)rousing team talk. Maybe it was the team talk, the shindig, the slope, our fitness or the team shuffle, but whatever it was, it worked as we came out in the second half to absolutely annihilate a tired looking opposition. They simply had no answer to the raw power and skill of a fired up Lancers team. We started winning the scrums, our backs were making great headway and we rewarded with an early second half try to Joe impressing at outside center.
Their heads visibly dropped as the momentum was definitely with us. Unfortunately their excellent fullback had to leave the field with a shoulder injury. The rest of the second half saw another 4 tries with Rambler crossing for a beaut, cutting a gorgeous line, beating 3 defenders and running it in from 30 meters. Can you tell who's writing this? Our young second row Alex crossed for his first try for the club, courtesy of a delicate inside floated ball from the hungover Ben Rutledge
. The final act of the game was Florent (or is that Fagin?) pick-pocketing the fly half in their 22 to go over under the posts. Final score, Southwark III 29 - 0 Orpington II.