Lancers 34 - Whitstable 22
An enjoyable day at the seaside
The sea air proved to be invigorating for Southwark’s clogged city lungs as they ran in five tries against a strong Whitstable team.
The usual changes were rung as people found better things to do with their Saturday then traipse down to the Costa del Kent. In the forwards Jael and Aaron brought some bite to the front row. Charlie Bailey came back into the second row.
In the backs Lance stepped in to inside centre to make his first start for the Lancers after a series of strong performances at training. Chapeau Lance. Ruairi slotted back in to his usual jersey. Tom McFarland (Hello.) moved over to full back.
Mad Jonny Lyons came onto the bench for his first game for the Lancers since his brace against Vigo almost a year ago. Mr Flash and Jamie O’C made up the other two spots.
A new zero tolerance policy to lateness has transformed meet times with tardiness punished by a bottle of wine being taped to your hands. Joe Brace, leading by example, got to Victoria over an hour early to monitor latecomers. On the long journey to the seaside, Baby Dave could be heard excitedly telling his Grandad Ruairi how he was planning to spend all his pocket money in the penny arcade.
Southwark arrived with plenty of time before KO and a crisp warm-up led to Whitstable kicking off, with Southwark playing up the hill and with the September sun beating down on their necks. The first ten minutes were marked by consistent Southwark pressure. A few good phases were put together before Southwark showcased their unerring ability to giddily knock the ball on as they approached the opposition 22. Catching practice needed all round.
The deadlock continued for twenty minutes as Southwark laboured. Aaron Redgrave, the oasis of calm, called on his teammates to not get flustered and stick to the game plan. The resolute Whitstable defence was eventually breached by Baby Dave Glanville who scampered into the corner after being given half a chance by some speculative passing. 0-7 Southwark.
This sparked the Lancers into action. Passes started going to hand. Tackles went in. Hard yards were made. Big Matt Hunt, Mad Jonny and Mr Flash all getting over the gain line. Two tries were scored in quick succession just before half time. Baby Dave jinking through. Jack Bullen pulling out his party trick once more. 0-19 Southwark.
Joe’s words of encouragement at half time (‘YOUR FOOT IS ON THERE THROATS, NOW STAMP ON THEM!’) went unheeded as the second half begun. After some shoddy defending Whitstable pumped the ball into the corner and then scored off the resulting driving maul.
This is the point last season where the yellow-bellied Southwark team of 17/18 would have rolled over. Heads would have gone down. Belief would have seeped away. It’s a different Southwark this year. Ruairi majestically collecting the ball above his head from kick off set the pressure build and ultimately ended with Aaron slotting a penalty. 5-24 Southwark.
Matt Hunt came off with a hurty leg shortly after this leaving Old Gill to call every lineout on himself for the 2nd half. The lancers again dominated possession and strong running from James Hughes and Skipper Mark Simonds helped them control the territory.
The Whitstable defence soon tired and there were chances a plenty. Mevs found some soft edges around the ruck but ultimately the 30m run to the line proved 10m too far for him.
Ollie Walton, loitering on the wing like a good front row, found himself in the open with a clear run to the line but was tap tackled just short by a large divot in the Whitstable pitch, he remained clam and threw an offload to absolutely no one helping to relieve the pressure on the home side.
Southwark managed two more tries in the final quarter as Baby Dave bulldozed his way over to complete his hat-trick and Jack Bullen waltzed in from twenty metres to complete his brace. Old habits die hard though, as proven by Southwark contriving to concede three tries in the last 10 minutes. Two in the last two. Not great. Baby Dave celebrated his hat-trick by earning some time on the naughty step with a high tackle in the dying seconds.
The Lancers welcome OG’s to the cage this Saturday with a win being crucial for both sides promotion hopes.
First XV: McFarland, T. Glanville, D. Hooper, J. Rossert, L. Hourihane, R. Hughes, J. Evans-Young, M., Guevara, J. Walton, O. Redgrave, A. Bailey, C. Simmonds, M. Wilkinson, M. Bullen, J. Hunt, M.
Subs: Flash, A. Lyons, J. O’Connor, J.
Tries: Glanville (x3) Bullen (x2)
Conversions: Hourihane, Redgrave (x2)