Remember, remember the 5th of November. Marking the day that ol’ Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament for cheeky bants #lad, today’s game was set to be explosive and full of fireworks. It did not disappoint.
The game started with Andrew Alexander welcomed on making his debut as captain, rallying the troops into battle against an Old Hamptonians side that Pinner have struggled against in recent times.
The match was lit and the bonfire began as Ben Solomon kicked off the game. The first 10 mins was frantic. Both sides giving away scrums from knock ons amidst the gusty climate. Pinner managed to camp inside the opposition 22 but Hamptonians stayed put in defence. What the entire Hamptonians side achieved in strong rucking and turnover ball was equally matched by the one man band of Thomas Cosgrove, who produced a Pocock-esque performance in the first half. Unfortunately, his game was cut short due to injury.
Hamptonians then managed to steal ball from a line out and ran it through the backs, making good ground into the Pinner half. A smart grubber kick through the backs and a chase from their wingers proved critical as the left winger debatably managed to touch the ball down millimetres behind the dead ball line. Hampstead drew first blood at 5-0.
Pinner restarted strong with good forward play but the line out struggled and ball was lost a few times through this which Hampstead began to target. Another quick play from their backs brought them back to their 22, and an inevitable try was stopped by a ferocious tackle from Michael Baggs on their dangerous winger. He pushed him back a good 5 metres and dumped him on the floor as his dad roared on from the sidelines, like a lion willing on his cub to mark his first kill. Continued defence on the Pinner try line combined with a few Hampstead mistakes kept the score at 5-0 at half time.
A cry for more heart from match day captain and club captain spurred the team on to try harder. Several rumbles proceeded and the match rallied on. However. Hampstead were too critical and a small period of possession lead to a long kick into our 22, line out steal and the ball shifted right to the other touch line for their impressive full back to score.
A few minutes later, Hampstead were camped in our 22 as they auctioned a couple of rucks before the unlikeliest of sources in their small winger scored from the back of the resulting maul to make it 15-0.
Pinner heads began to drop a little and focus was wading away ever so slightly. This lead to an unfortunate 4th try where the ball was intercepted from the back of a ruck by their open side who ran an impressive 30m to score for Hampstead, making it 20-0.
Where the light began to dim, and hope began to fade away for Pinner, it needed that bit of spark and magic for a hopeful comeback. Enter Phil “Rokocoko” Bladon. With the build of Shane Williams and the heart of Jonah Lomu, the ball was quickly shifted across to him after the resulting kick off. A twinkle in his eye, and an ever bigger twinkle in his step, he proceeded to demolish the entire Hampstead back line. The speed to manoeuvre himself from the tightest of spaces could only be matched in world rugby by Aaron Smith in an airport toilet cubicle. Step off his right foot had him break the line. A step off his left had the full back on his behind. One man to beat. A dummy pass had him clueless before gassing the remaining chasers to the try line faster than the Pinner front row at a buffet. It was a try that Shakespeare could not have written, nor Da Vinci could have painted. The Pinner crowd erupted for their new saviour as he touched the ball down, proving not all heroes wear capes. A wonder try for the ages had Pinner reduce the deficit to 13 points at 20-7. Wunderbar.
The wonder try rejuvenated Pinner for the last 10 mins. Carries started making more metres. Tackles were hit harder and passing became something only before seen from men in all black jerseys. Nevertheless, it was not meant to be as Pinner finished in defeat.
Man of the Match
Will Micallef – For his powerful carries, strong scrummaging and all round aggression.
Dick of the Day
Andrew Alexander – For throwing that interception pass for the 4th try, in what was his 3rd attempt at passing the ball all season. Rome wasn’t built in a day.