Falcons Fall Short at Eltham
By James Wyatt
OE’s 56 – 10 WPRFC, The Falcons.
Sunday 7th January 2018, Eltham College.
A fine, but bitterly cold Sunday morning greeted the Falcons for this away fixture to Old Elthamians. Perhaps we should have claimed Force majeure on being informed that the referee was in fact an OE’s senior coach.
WP start and the kick isn’t 10, OE’s straight off and the Falcons are in defence, and pushed back into their 22. There is pressure on our line. Scrum awarded to WP in front of the posts. Exit strategy is tough, the OE’s flankers are putting immediate pressure on us. Our kick from behind the posts hits the post, but we get the ball down. Ball is out to our 10 yard line. OE’s pressure tells they score & convert. 7-0
OE’s take a scrum after the re-start doesn’t go ten. OE’s, go wide, we win the ball back and kick to touch. Further pressure on our line, we can’t get clear of our 22, they are hot on us, their flanker playing a canny game of holding his opposite number in. They score & convert again 14-0 (I shan’t mention the OE’s photo that shows a try should not have been awarded..oops).
It’s the first time we’ve been in the opposition half, OE’s break the gain line in the centre of the pitch, missed tackles, this move is like a drill for them, they have numbers over and go across the line & convert again 21-0.
The Falcons have a rare foray deep into enemy territory, the OE’s are playing a high game, off-sides surely, but if anything the ref is monitoring the Falcons, whilst his own players creep up behind him, why don’t refs check over their shoulders? Harry-Jack makes a couple of customary gallops forward and the Falcons are into their 22, off-side ref! Your dutiful correspondent bites his lip. The refs always right…. Even when’s he’s immobile, in need of glasses and dare one allege favouring the home-side. The Falcons are better as the first half is bought to conclusion with the refs whistle. 21-0 (incidentally the same score as half time in our previous encounter with OE’s this season).
The second half commences, & the Falcons are attacking, deep into the OE’s half. Good physical commitment, we are well into their 22, Karim goes, he shrugs off a tackle, the next one takes him down, he’s isolated the cavalry is not in support, the excellent OE’s flanker gets the ball, turn over, OE’s kick, still in their half, we collide, the ball bobbles loose, knock on not given, picked/kicked/picked all the way through to our line and unfathomably a try is awarded. Now you’ll be delighted to hear that your incumbent reporter has 20/20 vision. I know that the referees’ decision must be accepted & respected, but c’mon the refs barely trundled over the halfway line…. 5m scrum would be the correct call, nonetheless the poor decision is enhanced with the conversion 28-0
The re-start and the Falcons are back in the OE’s 22 following a fine break from Henry Jones, who has twigged that if the referee isn’t going to punish the blatant off-sides that he waits and
shimmys through a gap and makes considerable ground. Perhaps a bit more prior discussion before the move as the pack aren’t in support in enough numbers, it’s another breakaway try starting from with the OE’s 22, dubious award again, time to find a cat to kick. Conversion is made again once more. 35-0.
The Falcons have conceded two tries in the second half and it doesn’t feel correct.
Harvey Aris restores some much needed pride to the Falcons with a good team try. In this period of play the Falcons scrummaging is very good, I would surmise it is rare for the OE’s pack to lose against the head, but to lose two in quick succession was marvellous to see. Conversion is missed. 35-5.
After the re-start we have a very good period of play, we are clearing people out of the ruck, not pushing them back, clearing them out, all legally and twice in quick succession their star flanker is put on his arse by one of our locks. We need that earlier, choosing when to clear out, when to use your energy, light-bulb moment one hopes. This period of play, with powerful runs, support & commitment sees Karim score, conversion missed. 35-10.
OE’s reply with a quick score, which is converted, the Falcons are not getting anything from the ref, the decisions are not equitable. 42-10.
Another re-start we have a line out on their 22, to be fair our line outs have been good all game, but they are up on us so quickly, it’s becoming frustrating, we recycle the ball, on the back foot, Denz goes out wide, the balls ripped out of contact, they have an overlap and the ball gets out to a wispy, skinny winger who scores in the corner and their kicker converts again… 7 from 7… that is remarkable. 49-10.
We are into the last minute and OE’s score a final break away try going through some tired tackles, we are done for the day. Their kicker converts again to make it 8 from 8 and a final score of 56-10.
A phrase William Horman wrote in 1519 and coined in the first Kingsman movie was, “manners maketh man”. Manners & conduct are in short supply at OE’s, smugness though is in abundant supply. The fact that an OE’s coach was heard stating particular above required volume at 49-10 that they were only just warming up is, amongst many things, unsporting, potentially provocative & a poor reflection on the club. OE’s won congratulations to them. However, let this game, with the conduct of some of the opposition players, coaches, entourage and the diabolical refereeing display, inspire & provoke you, because at some stage you’ll meet this lot again.
Harry Shotton. 0 from 2.
Penalties. Ask the ref.
Denzell was voted man of the match, Congrats big Denz.
Notes from Mr. Brelsford: Diabolical is not how Dai from Neath refers to his cajones/nuts.