The Extra Bs recorded a glorious victory over old rivals Hammersmith and Fulham IVs on Saturday to lift the league trophy. For a full and frank report from Doug Primrose, please see below.
9 April 2011
Middlesex Merit Table III Final:
LondonScottish ExBs 13 – Hammersmith & Fulham IV 5
Conversions: Nic Goh Penalty: Nic Goh x 2
Team: Ben Edwards, James Primrose, Rob Morgan, Andrew Sager (c), Ben Meldrum, Chris Hutton, Luke Robinson, Andrew Loynes, Andrew Johnson, Matt Ferguson, Rod King, Jimmy Johnson, Simon Logan, Jeff Bannister, Nic Goh
Subs:Martin Goudie, Nick Harrison, Sam Robinson, Alasdair Reid, Pete Crawford
Having dispatched Belsize Park with what, in the end, was relative ease the ExBs could have been forgiven for being quite confident about this game. It was however always going to be a much tougher game and so it proved. The Hammers were better than in previous encounters this year and the ExBs left it very late to complete the job which all meant a thoroughly entertaining and tense final.
I have to confess that I arrived about half an hour late, just in time to see the first points of the day from Gohy’s boot. I understand the first 30 minutes consisted of some excellent defence from both sides, which must have really sapped the strength in the unseasonably hot weather. The pick of the tackling apparently being a traditional massive dump tackle by Fergie.
The hard work of course started up front, Bewards and Shrek rumbled, tore and fought their way through the Hammers defence (monstering the Hammers scrum being a given). Nestled between these two hulking giants, man of the match James Primrose played with his usual 110% commitment and complete disregard for his own safety.
The 3 men I mention were thunderous but it took a great display from all 20 players to finish this game off and everyone should be very proud of what they have achieved this year.
It was from a Bedward’s pick up and massive fend to the face of the Hammers defender that the next penalty came. Gohy stepping up and putting the ball between the uprights for a half time lead of 6-0. On the strength of this display I think rumours of Bedward’s retirement may not be true!
I think the quote of the first half came from the referee who said to Sager and his opposite man “You two captains are the worst I have ever refereed; if you don't shut up I will appoint substitute captains!” Later in the game she also threatened to send Dunbar off from the sidelines for what I thought was very un-gentlemanly behaviour!
The second half continued in a similar vein. The ExBs seemed to be getting the better of the game, and better position on the pitch but not quite being able to finish off thanks to some excellent Hammers cover defence and a few turnovers won. When the Hammers did have the ball the ExBs tackling was excellent, notably from Logan who gave the opposition back line a bit of a schooling in the tackle. Once they did break the line but Jeff’s covering tackle was enough to keep the scoreboard at nil.
There were chances. A Hammers clearance only found Rod in the midfield who beat the first defender and the released the ball to Jeff on the left touchline. Jeff made the 22 before passing back inside to Jean-Jai but with Jimmy and Logan loitering with intent, Jean-Jai’s pass was slapped down by a defender and the chance was gone.
Then with about 20 minutes to go we thought we had the breakthrough when the Johnson brothers (perhaps we should call them JimDrew?) combined and a flat pass from Jimmy put Rod clear on the wing. From where we were it looked like a certain try and the crowd went wild only for the referee to disallow the try because Rod had carried it over the dead ball line before he put it down (for which he suffered in the bar afterwards!). Muppet.
This seemed to galvanise the Hammers and rather worryingly they started to put together their best period of the game. But the scoreline stayed at zero for a while as Hutton, Reidy, Sager and co put in some storming hits while Luke was making an absolute nuisance of himself in the rucks. However, the ExBs defence was eventually breached but fortunately the oppo did not have a kicker and the score was 6-5 with about 10 minutes to go.
A couple of minutes later, Hammers were awarded a penalty right in front of our posts and it looked like we were about to lose the lead for the first time but some back chat resulted in the penalty being reversed and Fergie cleared the lines. At this stage the ExBs supporters (oh yes!) were chewing their finger nails but the boys had it under control. Then from an ExBs ruck in the oppo 22, Loynes emerged from the middle Scott Quinnell style with the ball and barged his way over the line. Cue the gayest celebration dance I have ever seen from Sager. Gohy converted (I mean converted the try rather than was “converted” by Sager’s dance).
Well, who’d have thought it…..a Kiwi captain holding a trophy!! As Sager said about 40 times after the game everyone stepped on Saturday and finished off what we started in Regent’s Park in September.
Great season all round boys. Thanks for the hard work put in by Sager, Edwards and co and make sure you all give the same support to Kieran next season (who, just in case you missed it, had 5 poohs on Saturday because he was so nervous!).
Good luck to Andy, Tama and Luke heading back to New Zealand and best of luck to everyone else who claims they are retiring….….I’ll believe it when I see it.
“CHAMPION-ES, CHAMPION-ES, OH-AY, OH-AY, OH-AY”