This sunny spring day saw the 1st XV at home to Bristol Saracens RFC, and with Es having pulled off a great victory away to Saracens earlier in the season the expectations were high. Fortress Hallen welcomed our opposition who brought with them a good number of supporters. Thanks to Charlie Balfour and Robin Cherry for looking after the bar and keeping them happy!
1st XV SQUAD: George Burnie, James Brooke, Jack Houlder, Dom Horn, Adam Skyner, Rhys Edwards, Will Tobin, Henry Kirkpatrick, Sam Hygate, Matt Carr, Pat Dore, Jamie Halpin, Sam Brewer, Luke Jagger, Ben Barnett, Will Appleton, Ned Sweeney, Rob Lee.
MATCH REPORT: Old Es have, a number of times, not been the strongest of starters in such a league match and today was no different and after only 5 minutes Saracens won a scrum, drove towards Es' try line, and their No.5 peeled off and bulked his way across our line, not converted (0-5).
Es were then awarded a penalty on the Saracens 10m line and Sam Hygate, cool as you like, slotted the ball between the posts (3-5). A similar penalty kick was then converted by Bristol Saracens (3-8).
Es' scrum was suffering a little and it looked as if Saracens would heave their way to victory through their heavier forwards. The crowd were then incensed when a head first dump tackle on Ben Barnett was only met with a Yellow Card by 'Barton Hill Bob' (referee). The ensuing penalty kick unfortunately hit the post and bounced out for Saracens to clear their lines. Rhys Edwards and a Saracens player were then yellow carded for “hand bags at dawn”. Whilst Es' defence was looking strong once again the Saracens No.5 from a lineout burst through the Es' line to score, again not converted (3-13).
Es then clawed their way back into the game firstly with a good penalty kick from Sam Hygate (6-13), then after a great driving run from prop George Burnie, Ned Sweeney finished off the move with a try and Sam converted bringing the half time score to (13-13).
Es now looked as if they were well into the game and early in the second half saw a magical run by Ned Sweeney and a superb nudge down the line by Matt Carr to put Saracens under pressure. Although 'Frank the Tank' had turned up late for the game he had somehow got his hands on the Linesman's flag and proudly raised his flag with Saracens defending at 10m. The clearance kick from Saracens No.10 following the lineout was then charged down by Ned Sweeney and pounced on by Rhys Edwards for a try with another successful kick from Sam Hygate putting Es into the lead for the first time in the match (20-13).
Adam Skyner once again showed a safe pair of hands from the restart before a reverse behind the back pass from Matt Carr saw Luke Jagger break through but was hauled down like a Wildebeest on the Masai Mara but the spoils were scooped up by Will Tobin who fought his way through several tackles for a third and further try + conversion kick from Sam (27-13). The kick off was reversed as Tobin had been high tackled as he scored and from the kick off Es were rather fortunate as the referee missed a knock on but with luck on their side Es through Luke Jagger stole through the Saracens defence with two dummy passes and a try under the posts and kick from Sam Hygate, giving Es the bonus point (34-13).
Now was not the time for Es to relax but Saracens were not done yet and from a great 20m driving maul went over to score a converted try (34-20). Es then had a chance to extend their lead following a good driving run out of defence by Sam Brewer. Es were then awarded a kickable penalty but very quickly chose to run it but to no avail and were punished when Saracens scrum half scooped up a loose ball and ran from inside his own half to score a converted try (34-27).
Could Saracens draw level, well Es introduced fresh legs in the form of Will Appleton and Rob Lee, Es won a ball at the breakdown and a penetrating run from Luke Jagger took him close to the line as did the follow up run from Jack Houlder who also went close. From a following penalty Sam Brewer evaded a lazy defence and stole through under the posts which was once again converted by Sam Hygate (41-27).
Soon afterwards a knock on by Saracens in the Es' 22 was picked up by pat Dore and it looked like he would score but a good defensive tackle left Luke Jagger the spoils for him to score a good breakaway try (not converted, (46-27). Saracens did not give up though and following a free kick decided to take a scrum on Es' 5m line and with their much heavier pack a push over looked inevitable, however to finish the game on a high Es' forwards dramatically pushed Saracens off their own ball, a real highlight at the end of a gruelling match. Well done to everyone a really excellent performance.
FINAL SCORE: Old Elizabethans 46 – 27 Bristol Saracens
Man of the Match: Ned Sweeney - Coach Heiny stated “Even though he didn't start and didn't finish the game, his impact was vital in turning around the game at a crucial part of the match. An incredible charge down which led to our first try in the second half and some important tackles. His breakdown work allowed us to stifle most of their attacks and with ball in hand Ned looked as if he could have played anywhere in the backs!”
Tries: Ned Sweeney, Rhys Edwards, Will Tobin, Luke Jagger (2), Sam Brewer
Conversions: Sam Hygate (5)
Penalties: Sam Hygate (3 )
Meanwhile, The Thundercats, (Old Elizabethans 2nd XV), travelled across the Severn Bridge, with a number of Old Vets in the team to take on Caldicot II team. On going to press no match report was available but the scoreline confirmed another impressive performance at Half Time 12-19 and at the final whistle a great scoreline at 27-53.
Well done to the squad that included: Andy Adam, Pete Beale, Dan Werz, Rich Loader, Dave Langdon, Archie Walker, James Potts, Angus Salisbury, Alex Matthews, Scott Tomlins, Dom Swann, Ned Lockwood, Alex Potts, Jacob Rawlinson, Kit Douel, Tobias Burden, Leo De Carlo
Finally congratulations to Ex QEH and Es player Will Mortimore who was selected to play and score a try in the Clifton 1st XV victory over Bury St Edmunds
Full Table and Fixture List below
Paul “Blakey” Barrington