London Scottish came up against Tring in their first league match in division two but were unable to secure the win on a day when the various disruptions finally took their toll.
Having ceded home advantage due to the sevens competition taking place at the club, they made the long trip to the wild Hertford countryside.
Warm up over, the team took to the pitch in good shape, even if some of the combinations were new as we re-jigged the re-jigged side again due to some late injuries. The team were focussed and up for it, and needed to be as Tring had some big guys who could have wreaked havoc if the tackling had been below par. Some great tackles went in from backs, and backrow alike, and the game moved up and down the field as neither side had enough to make the initial break through.
Despite giving height and weight to the scrum, our pack held their own, competing well in the rucks and mauls, and winning several strikes against the head as the game wore on (well done Max S and Thomas for sussing their signals). With Tring threatening close to our line, the forwards showed great composure defending the last yard with all they had, everyone desperate to hold the ball up, and get some part of their body beneath.
ring looked to have scored on a number of occasions, and eventually, 12 mins in, they managed to burrow over the line after a number of phases. Conversion scored, Scottish re-grouped and put the pressure back on and could have scored themselves in the corner after a lineout in the 22. It wasn’t to be, and Tring came back to our end again. Unable to put together much in their backline Tring were relying on the large runners form the pack, and some strong wings if they could get the ball to them. Their right wing did go over in the corner on the short side, before they put together their best move of the match, shipping the ball right from a scrum, fast hands by the centre got the ball to the right wing in space and they were over again.
Turning round after half time the squad again put in a good shift, but were unlucky to cede tries after a stray kick found their backline, who collected and fed the left wing for their bonus point try and conversion. The final try came from an interception as Scottish looked to have a go from just outside their 22. The intercept made, Tring raced through for the final try and conversion. The last 10 minutes went scoreless.
Overall the coaching staff were pleased with the effort shown (the fitness training on Wednesday’s is key) and at the end of the match the players huddle had several of them flat on their backs having given their all. Lots to work on, including tightening up the backline positions, make the passes easier for the receiver, and working on game management through controlling possession more means the next few weeks will be used to address these aspects.
Well done to the 17 in the squad, there was no space for shirkers and all stepped up to it, many putting in their best performance for a while which we will be looking to repeat going forwards. Cameron combined well with Olly in the lineouts, helped by some good lifting from the team, and the defensive lineouts were also marshalled sensibly with defence in the right positions.
The backs had a number of new combinations enforced through injury and lack of regulars available for the squad, but looked to start well putting in some good tackles from the off. We were unlucky to lose Marcel during the first half which caused some more changes in places, but brought Max M into his first league match and he was soon into the action. We look forward to a lengthy career from him.
Next week we host London Welsh, with bragging rights at school at stake we know the players will be up for it.