It took Swanley a good twenty minutes, two disallowed tries and some decent clean ball to score the first try of the afternoon. MP Hayes showed class, grit in defence and dominated the breakdown to frustrate. Whilst they competed upfront, they struggled to contain a pacey backline (except Yatesy) out wide.
Stuart Tate in the 8 shirt provided the much needed relief with a run off the base of a ruck and thanks to some summer coaching he kindly added the conversion too. It wasn't much longer when Nathan 'Ernie' Earnshaw registered his first try for the club, scooping up a loose ball and skinning a number of defenders to dive over the tryline.
After oranges MP Hayes were more involved in the game than ever and enjoyed a hefty amount of possession. Everytime Swanley won it back it seemed a penalty was given away and the ball returned to the cops. Frustration grew among the players and in steps Ant 'Walderslade Warrior' Sumbler to make his contribution of the afternoon fresh from a peaceful wander around lakes in Canada. Sumbler was found guilty of picking on the scrum half and was duly sent to the naughty corner to think about what he had done.
It was a dark period for Swanley. Especially for none other than our own Ant 'Hugs' Pittock, whose life must of flashed before his eyes. Hugs looked almost certain to score in the corner, when the Met No.8 from out of nowhere put in an absolute peach of hit to knock poor old Hugs into touch. Better luck next time Hugs. Credit where it is due, Hugs took it on the chin and carried on playing. The same couldn't be said for the MP Hayes second row, who squealed like a stuck pig when he was beautifully placed on his backside by scrumhalf Hately. The referee had sympathy, it was all a bit embarassing really. Whatever happened to the good old dump tackle?
Once back up to full compliment Swanley dug deep and managed to put in a decent spell of phases and the pack functioning as a unit. Swanley should of had another try when in the oppositions '22 with a hefty overlap, however Tatey in his wisdom decide to perform the chip n chase. It is widely accepted in the club that only Yatesy has the skill to perform such a feat as Tatey's 'chip' not only cleared the deadball line, but the trees behind it! Unlucky Stu, perhaps another summer of coaching for you?
The remaining tries came in quick succession, Jack Nash did well to draw his man and pop to fly half James Yates leaving only one man to beat. Captain Fantastic missed the conversion. The last try came as result of great work by the pack to suck in the Met Police defence, the ball found James Yates again who ran (reports are he even looked quick) over pretty much unopposed.
Special mentions to Tom 'Bonsi' Mason our young front row starlet who had a great senior rugby debut and more than holding his own. Paul 'Fozzie' Foster announced his presence with absolute monster tackles from the restarts and earned the first Gladiator award of the season. A fine debut also from Nathan 'Ernie' Earnshaw who not only scored but pulled off some impressive covering tackles.
I think it would be unfair not to mention Stu Tate, who despite his horrible chip and chase had an incredibly industrious game and pulled off a number of turnovers. Also a mention to Ant Sumbler who made a tackle with his magic scrumcap.
Man of the match went to Paul Hately. Nobody knows why, we can only assume he was the last possible player to give it to or Coach Morris was watching a different game.
An extra special mention to Paul 'Big Shot' Stephenson, who judging by the video evidence celebrated the victory in the absence of every single playing member. We hope his back door is repairable from his 'salmon jump'.
Next week, first league game against Shooters Hill at our new ground. Please come and support your local club!