A beautiful British summer boasting various distractions from our favourite game has been and gone since the last Extra B’s outing, but behind the scenes we had been busier than ever.
With some new faces on board we have been lucky to attract a variety of enthusiasts into the fray for this season’s campaign.
We found ourselves on a stunning Saturday morning earlier this month gathered together outside the London French HQ in Barnes, using the opportunity to introduce new faces and welcome back old ones.
With everyone present and correct and a few borrowed players from local team Whitton Lions to help with numbers we headed into the changing rooms to get prepared.
Once the new boots, deep heat and strapping had been put on, the positions had been decided and the tops dished out it was time to head out and warm up.
The first warm up of the season was taken by new player Adrian Lecoq, who used his expertise to get everyone moving around and helping get the game heads on.
First up were the hosts, London French 1sts, which posed as a promising start for a tough day of rugby ahead for the Extra B’s.
With one of the London French players standing in as referee all the games for the day resorted to uncontested scrums, which wasn’t a terrible thing with a new look Extra B’s pack and aided by 15 minute halves it really allowed for this unfamiliar team to play around with positions and tactics.
With enthusiasm and energy from the go the Extra B’s were quick to score a break away try courtesy of Ed Bromley-Martin, which was successfully converted by Fly-Half and Captain Nick Dunne.
With London French on the counter attack from the restart it was a gruelling 10 minutes of defence that followed, with excellent tackles all round and in particular a couple of corkers from Nathan Stevenson-Wong and Phillip Stokes; the Extra B’s held strong.
During the second half French scored almost straight away, but were unsuccessful with the boot, the score 7-5 to the Extra B’s.
Quick set play from the new half back combination of Andrew Johnston and Nick Dunne shipped the ball out to first time winger Chiaka Chiagorom who put on the afterburners to leave the French opposition behind and score a remarkable first ever try.
Nick Dunne missed the conversion, but managed to slot a penalty afterwards. The final score Extra B’s 12, London French 8, our first win in the bag!
After 30 minutes of relaxing and rehydrating the second game was up, this time our opposition were Old Streetonians 3rds.
Cautious to not undo the result we had just achieved we used the same line-up in the same positions, our main goal; to hold our defensive line and send it out wide for the Wingers to run with.
Low and behold though we managed to gain the lead immediately through a superb Tim Bromley-Martin try from the kick off, immediately giving the Extra B’s a comfortable 5 point lead, extended to 7 through Nick Dunne’s boot.
After some tussling with the line out and a few phases of crash running through Cameron Shilstone and Nathan Stevenson-Wong we had Old Streetonians on the back foot once again.
Along came the moment, the ball fed out through the backs from a scrum and down the line to Ben Payne who sent a sweet offload to Chiaka Chiagorom to cruise over for his second, again successfully converted by the Extra B’s 10.
Old Streetonians answered to our impressive first half with two of their own tries, both unconverted, leaving the score 14-10 to Scottish.
In the second half Chiaka Chiagorom added another try through some hard aggressive running at the opposition’s line and the skipper himself crossed for a moment of his own glory.
With a toot of the whistle the Extra B’s had won their second match 24-10!
Last up was London French 2’s, with an hour of rugby behind us and nearly an hour of resting between games, cramp and fatigue had started to set it, this was after all our first outing this year.
The Extra B’s defence game was holding strong, but a couple of mistakes in our own half handed the French an easy 5 points.
Fitness not being renowned as a strong point for the Extra B’s meant that closing this game was always going to be a hard call but a remarkable one man effort from Chiaka Chiagorom meant that for a short while we were level in the game.
Unfortunately though this didn’t last for long, with the opposition running in two more tries before the end of the game, the final score being Extra B’s 5, London French 2’s 15.
Having won two out of our three games we headed to the pub with our heads held high from the successes of our first match day this season and having won in 60 minutes of rugby, it is obvious that fitness will be key this season to make the most of those crucial last 20 minutes!
A massive thank you needs to be said to London French for hosting us, as well as the Whitton Lions boys for lending a hand (we look forward to organising a friendly this season).
Extra B’s Captain – Nick Dunne
Extra B’s Vice-captain – Tim Bromley-Martin
Extra B’s Player of the Match(es) – Chiaka Chiagorom