It was a windy and rainy day as the after effects of hurricane Doris gripped last Saturday’s friendly, away to Ickenham. After an adventure trying to find the pitch the game got under way, with Pinner playing into the wind for the first half.
Ickenham clearly wanted to put Pinner under pressure from the off, successfully gaining territory with the wind carrying the ball a good forty meters on occasion. However Pinner’s superb defence thwarted the attackers again and again, but not happy with just clearing their lines Pinner attacked down the blind side and caught the hosts on the hop. A scrappy Pinner line out was cleaned up by Arron ‘The Gravedigger’ Nicholas, who broke the line and the covering tacklers to dart over the line, unfortunately the conversion was gone with the wind.
There seemed to be a looming sense of danger thereafter. Ickenham found some momentum and built on Pinner mistakes and their own phase play. With the try now seeming imminent, Ickenham’s cocky inside centre was met with a thundering man and ball tackle from Owen ‘The Fridge’ Joseph, that left fans wincing in their welly-boots.
The big hit before the break galvanised the Pinner lads and they earned their second try of the game with brilliant defence and heaps of hard graft from the forwards. Several short balls and hard carries saw scrum half Freddie Riley twisting over the line but missing the conversion.
Ickenham started to find their rhythm however, and a charged down box kick was gathered and recycled by the rushing Ickenham players who crossed the line, and somehow managed to get the conversion despite kicking into the wind.
Pinner were not to be outdone though and worked themselves deep into opposition territory and came away with another try in the corner. After calmly assessing the tricky conditions Riley absolutely nailed the touchline conversion, unfortunately his subsequent celebration earned him the Dick of the Day award.
Ickenham had run out of answers to Pinner’s domination and the hosts never really made it out of their half from then on, struggling with the conditions and the unrelenting pressure coming from all over the park. With the final play of the game John ‘Bow’ Petrella crashed over the line for a special try in memory of his close friend and Pinner legend James ‘Burnsy’ Byrne.
Pinner 24 – 7 Ickenham
Man of the Match: Manny. Outstanding intensity from start to finish!