Pinner & Grammarian – London French 1st XV (24-10)
Another frustrating loss for the 1st XV this weekend, against a very well oiled-up and decent Pinner side. The match started off pretty badly for the French, who lost P-O within 30 seconds of the kick-off on blood injury. All attempts before the game to try and get the team hit the ground running from the very first second failed miserably as the opposition hammered our defence over and over again, and we made a lot of mistakes. They multiplied phases very quickly, using their strong backs with good effect. 3 mistakes (1 knock-on and 2 penalties) conceded within our own half cost us 3 tries in the 1st half. They used their attacking balls to the fullest, whereas we struggled to put more than 3 phases together. Despite some great breakthroughs, and great counterattacking runs, we seemed to always struggle to finish things off. Either the ball carrier took the step too far and passed the ball “unsympathetically”, or bad choices were made, missing out on outnumbers. I think in the whole match we attempted 3 pick and go’s at most. This is maybe due to the lack of guidance as to what it is that we are trying to do, and I make it my responsibility to try and provide a bit more of that before the next matches.
In the second half, however, we finally managed to up our game, and maybe Pinner got a bit tired from all the efforts they put into the first half. But the balance of power definitely turned our way. We even managed to get a few good moves off of the scrums! Paul Perarnau (man of the match) came into fly half to replace Remi who had been blinded by the loss of a contact lense. He managed to animate our attacking moves very nicely and placed the team on the front foot – well done for that. Our first try came out of a well constructed move which got us agonisingly close to the left hand corner of their try line. More than one of us thought that we were going to mess up this golden opportunity again, as passes across to the other side of the pitch fell on the floor – and even more so when Berenger finally made the run down the right hand side of the pitch but put the ball down before the try line (… again…) – thankfully, the “momentum” got him over the line, and we were awarded a well-deserved try. Julien Nuer, who came back onto the pitch after having smoked a cigarette or two and drank a couple of wine glasses, brought back some aggressiveness to our attacks (maybe booze and cigarettes do help?). Off of a scrum, the ball landed in his hands and he drove it deep into their 22, kept himself up nicely until Olivier came running and scored through the defence. Too little too late though as the final whistle blew just after that. Final score: 24-10 for the home team – a deserved victory, objectively – although it wouldn’t have been wrong to clinch the defensive bonus point.
We now stand 2nd from bottom, which should be a very big alarm bell for all of us – we must put in more effort into the beginning of each match! Everyone of us should take far more responsibility for his position and his role within the team, and try and lead by example in an effort to pull the whole team up! http://clubs.rfu.com/Fixtures/MatchByDivision.aspx?DivID=70000746
Man of the Match – Paul Perarnau, for a noticeable entrance.
D of the day – Julien Nuer, for the fact that wine and cigarettes seemed to have boosted his performance, and also because he wore the most ridiculous hat that day!
Allez les Bleus!