Champions Cup Final Match Report!
PINNER RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB – Match report for Saturday 18th April
PINNER PUT THE ICING ON THE CAKE
Man of the Match: James O’Brien
Pinner rounded off their very fine season with an emphatic 60 – 7 win in the final of the Middlesex Rugby Merit Vase at Twickenham RFC on Saturday to add this trophy to the Merit Table 5 championship won in the play-off the previous week. For the first time in the Club’s eighty-one year history the 1st XV has won all of its 21 matches amassing 638 points and conceding only 114.
Once again the wind made playing conditions difficult but Pinner were soon on the score board when following a run by winger John Petrella, second row Dave Logan went over for a try. Pinner’s powerful forwards soon established superiority in the set pieces driving the home pack off the ball in the tight. A superb break by flanker James O’Brien nearly allowed number 8 Andrew Alexander to score but the home defence held. Pinner were awarded a penalty and opted for touch. Winning the line-out the forwards drove on, the ball was recycled to left winger Michael Baggs to score in the corner. Baggs again had a hand in the next score. Winning yet another scrum Baggs made progress down the left, with fly-half Chris Hall in support to change the direction of the attack, linking with Captain Aaron Nicholas who scored on the left. Jepsens kick was successful. On the half-hour Pinner had another penalty following a scum offence. Scrum-half Chris Jepsen took it quickly to put Alexander in for the fourth try to give the visitors a 22 – 0 half-time lead.
This lead was the same as the interval score in the previous week’s pay-off final when facing the wind made life difficult but Pinner had no intension of losing the advantage. Within five minutes the next try arrived. Twickenham won a scrum but fumbled the passing allowing Pinner left wing John [Beau] Petrella to pounce and score behind the posts. Jepsen’s kick advanced the score to 29 – 0. Pinner now became a bit complacent allowing Twickenham to use the wind to move into Pinner’s 22 from where they made their only score. This was a wake-up call and once again Jepsen’s quick thinking put the game beyond doubt. He took yet another quick penalty and evading half-hearted tackles scored try number six. Into the final quarter the home side lost heart. Another powerful scrum allowed Alexander to pick-up and knocking over several opponents scored one of his trade-mark tries. Jepsen converted. Pinner backs were now moving with confidence, replacement centre Richard Southam made good ground to feed Petrella for his second try behind the posts. Next it was the turn of the impressive centre Rohan Desai to put the icing on the cake. A fine run by hooker and captain Nicholas gave Desai the chance to beat several defenders to score under the posts took Pinner past the halve century. In the dying minutes of the season it was again Desai who gathered up a loose ball 40 metres out to leave the exhausted defence stranded to bring the final try tally to 10 and the score to 60 – 7.
As with the previous week’s play-off final the coach load of Pinner supporters had cheered their team home to the end of a memorable season. The Middlesex Merit Vase plaque was presented to Captain Aaron Nicholas by Steve Rac, Honorary Secretary of Middlesex Rugby. Club President Dave Hiles, himself a former Middlesex Honorary Secretary, was full of praise for the team’s unique performance and the leadership of Nicholas and coach Tony Mullins.
Next Friday the club will holding its Annual Awards Dinner in its clubhouse in Hatch End when the success of this season will be well and truly celebrated.