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.
Pinner Rugby Football Club –match report for Sat 11th April
Pinner win the play- off final
Man of the Match: Neill King
Having gone all season with a 100% win record to secure first place in the Middlesex merit Table 5 and having defeated 4th placed Chiswick in the semi-final Pinner faced the much sterner task of Hammersmith & Fulham in the play-off final at Wasps on Saturday. This was just one of six finals in a festival of Merit Table rugby held at the Wasps and Middlesex county HQ in Acton.
Strong wind most across the ground and a bone hard surface made conditions difficult. Right from the kick-off Pinner’s powerful pack showed its intent and were soon camped in the H&F 22. Pushing back the opposition‘s scrum led to a ruck and the ball was quickly got to their powerful left wing John [Bow] Petrella to get the first try after only 3 minutes. From the re-start Pinner again won the scrum and number 8 Andrew Alexander burst through from the half-way line only to be brought down well in the H&F 22. Pinner were not to be denied and kept pressing. Winning yet another scrum Alexander picker up and drove over for the second try to give a 10 – 0 lead. Constant probing by scrum-half Chris Jepsen kept up the momentum. Hammersmith & Fulham made a few excursions into the Pinner half but ferocious tackling and a well organised defence ensured little opportunity to threaten. On one of these around half –way Pinner fly-half Chris Hall intercepted a H&F pass to sprint 50 m to score under the posts. This time Jepsen’s kick was successful and the lead stretched to 17 – 0. An injury to influential wing-forward Dan Smith caused a re-organisation of the Pinner pack with replacement Dave Logan going into the second-row but this in no- way weakened their dominance. With half-time approaching Logan proved his worth when following a series of rucks near the H&F line he drove over for the fourth try to give Pinner a comfortable 22 – 0 lead at the interval.
The second half proved a different story. The wind, having veered to the north, was now in Pinner’s face making progress up field very difficult. Hammersmith made full use of this wind kicking deep into the Pinner half. The Pinner defence was resolute and time and time again they resisted the H&F attacks. Eventually the pressure told and some sloppy covering allowed H&F in for a try. This inspired the opposition who now sensed an opportunity. On the half-hour the swirling wind ruined a Pinner line-out which H&F capitalised upon. A few quick passes and they scored under the post. Pinner’s lead was now reduced to 22 -12. Captain Aaron Nicholas now rallied his team and egged on by the biggest and most vocal group of supporters on the ground the Pinner were not going to see their season ruined in the last few minutes. Stirling defence, courageous tackles and the line was held. Agonising extra minutes of injury time all added to the drama but when the final whistle blew Pinner were Champions by 22 -12.
The Middlesex Shield was presented to Aaron Nicholas by Michael Barnes, immediate Past President on Middlesex Rugby and himself a vice-president and former captain and chairman of Pinner. The celebrations were unreserved continuing back on the coach and well into the night at the Pinner clubhouse in Hatch End.
Next Saturday, with the chance of a double, Pinner travel to Twickenham RFC for the final of the Merit Cup kicking-off at 3:00 pm. The coach for the team and supporters will leave Shaftesbury Playing fields around 12 noon. All support welcome as having had the largest group at Wasps certainly inspired the team.
Pinner play their cup final at Twickenham RFC on Saturday 18th April
Kick off @ 2:30
All Support Welcome!!
Come and Celebrate a great season of rugby on Friday 24th April!!!
Contact: Aaron Nicholas
07795 250 706
After a fantastic Saturday of Six Nations rugby we are back to the business end of the Middlesex League play offs with the 1st team playing at home this Saturday against Chiswick 3rd’s (again!!)
Pinner beat Hammersmith & Fulham 22-12 in the final to win the Merit League
Pinner retained their 100% record by defeating fourth placed Chiswick III in the semi-final of the Middlesex Merit Table 5. They now play Hammersmith & Fulham V in the final at the Wasps ground in Acton on Saturday 11th April, KO 12:15pm. Two weeks earlier they defeated the same club 51 – 5 to reach the final of the Cup which also will be played at Wasps a week later. Although Chiswick brought a squad of 18 players only one was qualified to play in the front row. The regulations, which require a team to have a complete front row plus two replacements, meant that Pinner were automatically in the final but it was agreed to play the game anyhow with uncontested scrums. This diluted some of Pinner’s powerful forward play and, coupled with a swirling wind led to a scrappy game. The home side were first to score after ten minutes when, following a customary drive by number 8 Andrew Alexander the ball was quickly passed out to left winger Charlie Smith to score in the corner. The Chiswick backs always looked threatening but superb defence and fearless tackling kept them out till midway through the half. Pinner scrum-half Chris Jepsen was tacked and Chiswick regained the ball. Catching the home team out of position they managed their only try which was converted to give them a 7 – 5 lead. Pinner now pressed hard and elected to have a scrum when awarded a penalty. Being ‘uncontested’ they won the ball, driving forward to form a ruck. Winning the ball again Jepsen found captain Aaron Nicholas who passed to centre Ashley Hicks to put the home side back in the lead at 10 – 7 at the interval.
The second half started with Pinner showing greater purpose. A long kick by Jepsen produced a line-out on the Chiswick 22. Moving the ball to the left Hicks was on hand to get his second try. The wind was making place kicking difficult. Pinner now spent most of the time in the visitors half and their threatened counter-attacks were met with ruthless tackling. Once again, Pinner opted for a scrum from a penalty. The ball was recycled several times before prop-forward, Neill King who is making a habit of scoring tries advanced the score to 20 – 7. John Petrella made several of his bullocking runs brushing defenders aside. With time running out Chiswick fumbled the ball in their own 22. Nicholas quickly gathered it up to set up the final move which allowed Jepsen’s try to bring the final score to 25 – 7.
Pinner plan to make a day of the first of their two finals at Wasps. A coach for players and supporters will leave the clubhouse at Shaftesbury Playing Fields at 10 am with the hope of some silverware to display at their Awards Dinner on 24th April.
Under 14 XV
On Sunday the U14’s hosted Hertford in the driving rain. They started brightly with a try by Sam Alexander and were in contention at half-time being only 12 – 7 down. The second half combination of strong wind and more organised backs saw Hertford run in three tries to give a final score of 31 – 7 to the visitors. Pinner fought gamely throughout and the score flattered Hertford, which is a much larger club.
Pinner, undefeated in Middlesex Merit Table 5, took on Uxbridge in the Merit Cup at Hatch End on Saturday. Pinner dominated the first quarter of an hour but although there were several promising attacks they were unable to score. Frustration led to too many penalties being conceded enabling Uxbridge to recover. From a line-out following yet another penalty Uxbridge drove over the Pinner line for number 8 Davey to score. Fly-half Guy added the two points. This galvanised Pinner into more constructive play. Winning a ruck in the Uxbridge half the ball quickly went right to find the full-back in support to score the first home try. Chris Jepsen added the conversion to level the score. However more penalties let to Guy giving the visitors a 13 – 7 lead at the interval.
The half-time pep talk gave Pinner the much needed focus and they were in the lead within five minutes of the kick-off. Winning a line-out captain Aaron Nicholas took the ball on to find centre Rohan Desai on hand to score under the posts. Jepsen’s kick was successful. Soon they scored again after being awarded a penalty on their own 10 m line. Scrum Half Chris Jepsen caught the defence napping and raced 40 m to score under the post. He converted his own try. Pinner were now in full flow. Mid-way through the half they won a scrum on the Uxbridge 22. Number 8 Andrew Alexander powered through the defence to score. Five minutes later a clever kick out of defence saw hooker Aaron Nicholas outpace the defence and his own team to gather and score the home team’s fifth try. With time running our Pinner won another scrum on the Uxbridge 22. Fly-half Chris Hall engineered a change of direction wrong footing the defence. Jepsen was in support to score the final try to bring the score to 36 -13, Pinner taking the second half 29 – 0. They now meet Chiswick in the next round.
On Sunday the Under 15 team visited top of the table Barnet. The Pinner performance belied the difference in league position and they were still in the game till mid way through the second half. The two late soft tries gave Barnet a 29 – 14 victory.
The Under 12 tournament scheduled for Sunday was postponed for a week due to frozen pitches.
Next Saturday Pinner play Hampstead at Shaftesbury playing fields. Club President will be holding his annual President’s Lunch when many former players will return. The guests will include Middlesex Rugby President Brian East and Hampstead Vice-Captain Simon Gaskell.
After last week’s fiasco of an 108 – 0 win at Quintin, Pinner met much tougher opposition in Ealing Exiles at Hatch End. It was soon evident that they had a game on their hands when the visitors went ahead with a penalty after only five minutes. This galvanised Pinner into more effort and organisation. They soon responded when the forwards won the ball to put winger Naill Curran over for the first try converted by scrum-half Chris Jepsen. He soon added further points when Ealing were penalised for not retreating. Now Pinner were in control and attacks looked promising. On the half-hour, winning a scrum in front of the posts, the ball was quickly fed out to left-winger Michael Baggs who scored the first of his three tries. This gave the home side a comfortable 15 – 3 lead at half-time.
Straight into the second half Pinner showed their intent by attacking from their own half. Good work by the half backs got the line moving and Curran again finished things off in the corner. Jepsen added the conversion. Ealing Exiles now came more into the game but the Pinner defence held. Injuries to No. 8 Alexander and prop Ken Ryan meant the home team had to re-group. A couple of scoring chances went begging when the ball was dropped near the line. Into the last quarter and the Pinner backs were now buzzing. Curran proving his finishing power with his third try. Next Pinner were awarded a penalty on the half-way line and chose to run the ball. From the resulting ruck on the Ealing 5 m line replacement no. 8 Patrick O’Leary, playing in his first game for Pinner went over in the corner. Ealing responded as Pinner got a bit too casual. They drove into the home 22 and scored under the posts. Pinner were not yet finished and centre Rohan Desai sliced through the defence to score their seventh try under the posts. Jepsen brought the final score to 48 – 8.
Pelicans [2nd XV]: For the second week running the Pelicans have had their Herts – Middlesex Merit table match cancelled as their opposition could not raise a team. This avoided a long drive to Letchworth. They are awarded a 25 – 0 win giving them five out of five. However a last minute friendly home fixture with Chesham 2nd’s proved a bit too tough. Pelicans, reduced to fourteen men for most of the match, went down 70 – 12. Home tries were scored by scrum-half Graeme Searles after a sniping run from the base of a scrum on the visitors 22 and by left –winger Clyde Gordon sprinting from his own half. The conversion was added by Chris Hall. Later, in the clubhouse, Clyde was presented with his club Colours by Pinner President Dave Hiles in recognition for this long contribution as a coach and referee for the mini and youth sections.
Celebrations when on long into the evening marking ‘Deryck Westwood Day’ in memory of a former vice-president and founder member who left money in his will to mark his birthday each year in a suitable fashion.
On Saturday October 18th the Club will celebrate “Deryck Westwood Day “ with a 1st XV League Fixture in memory of our former vice-president who played for the club in 1936 and spent many an afternoon watching the team and dishing out Kit kats.
In his will Dereyck left a bequest for the Club to purchase a barrel of beer so that all who knew him or who have ever been involved with Pinner could mark his birthday with a pint. – All are welcome 1.00 pm till late.
Sporting their new kit Pinner hosted the league match against a strong London French side on Saturday 27th September. The match report will follow but in the meantime enjoy some of the images from the game…….
For the first time in several seasons Pinner, now with a regular 2nd XV, the Pelicans, hosted two home matches at Shaftesbury Playing Fields Hatch End on Saturday. Both teams had started the season with 60 + points victories and were looking to build on this success.
The 1st XV entertained London French in the Middlesex Merit table. From the start Pinner showed their intent and dominated the early play. The pack was in good form keeping the play in the opponents 22. The first try was not long in coming when after only eight minutes the pack drove the visitors back and number 8 Andrew Alexander forced his way over. Scrum-half Chris Jepsen added the extra points. Pinner continued to have territorial advantage with London French unable to match the home pack. However this led to some sloppy play allowing French to use their strong backs. From a Pinner mistake French ran in a try under the posts to equal the score. This galvanised the home side to greater efforts. Spurred on by the large crowd the pack reasserted its control. From a 5 m scrum Alexander dived over for his second try again converted by Jepsen. With half-time looming another Pinner lapse allowed French in for their second try to bring the score at the interval to 14 – 12 to the home team.
The second half started much as the first. Within 5 minutes Pinner one a scrum just inside the visitors half. Scrum-half Jepsen sprinted 40 m to score under the post and then convert his own try. He soon added a further 3 points from a penalty after French had failed to release the ball in a ruck. The game now went through a more even phase with the French backs always a threat. Once again it was the pack that restored order and with only five minutes remaining number 8 Alexander drove over for his third and Pinner’s fourth try. Jepsen once more added the points to give Pinner a comfortable 31 – 12 lead. Pinner now relaxed and were severely punished as the French backs, throwing caution to wind, attacked down the left wing. This resulted first in a converted try and then, straight from the kick-off, another as the final whistle blew. The final score was 31 – 24 earning bonus points for both teams.
The two Pinner teams are now undefeated in September and have amassed 190 points between them and are both sitting at the top of their respective merit tables.
Next Saturday the 1st XV have an away cup match against Civil Service Barbarians whilst the Pelicans travel to Hemel Hempstead for a merit table game.
Pinner, playing their first match of the season, travelled to nearby Uxbridge for a Middlesex Merit table clash. Inspired by their Pelicans [2ndXV] 60 – 0 win the previous week the 1st XV did even better with an eleven try 65 – 0 win. Playing up the slope in the first half they took a while to settle with several new players in the team. However the forwards soon showed their strength . With only 5 minutes gone Pinner won a scrum on the Uxbridge 22. No 8 Andrew Alexander drove forward to set up a ruck under the posts. The ball was quickly recycled to the right for centre Ashley Hicks to score the first try. This was converted by scrum half Chris Jepsen. Soon Pinner were on the attack again initiated by Jepsen with Alexander taking the ball close to the Uxbridge line. However the home side managed to clear their lines but from their kick out Pinner rested control in their own half and after a couple of passes Hicks broke from the half-way line out pacing any defence to score wide on the left. A few minutes later another scrum in the Uxbridge 22 saw Alexander pick up, dummy the defence to crash over for the third try. From the kick off Pinner attacked from their own 22 getting the ball to left wing Fred Riley who cut inside the defence but his final pass was adjudged to be forwards. With five minutes to go to half-time Pinner again fielded a desperate Uxbridge kick-out. A good break by right-wing Niall Curran found fly –half Chris Hall on hand to score under the posts. Jepsen converted to bring the score to 24 – 0 at the interval.
With Pinner now playing down the slope the next score wasn’t long in coming. A powerful run through the middle by replacement centre John Petrella took the play deep in the Uxbridge half. The ball was quickly re-cycled and a deft chip over the defence by fly-half Hall enabled captain and hooker Aaron Nicholas to score. Riley added the points. Pinner were soon back in the Uxbridge 22. A driving ruck near the line enabled prop Neill king to gather and dive over for try number seven. With the score now at 41 – 0 Pinner realised that moving the ball through the backs would bring more tries. Once again the home side’s kick out failed to find touch. Rapid movement along the line put winger Curran over in the corner. Straight from the kick-off Pinner brought the ball back to the half-way line for open-side flanker Dan Smith to run 50 m shrugging off several tackles and then out pacing the cover to score under the posts. With still the final quarter left Pinner became complacent and Uxbridge mounted a spirited effort to stay in the game. But with less than 10 minutes left Pinner stepped up a gear and James O’Brien added try number ten. Finally . with everyone waiting for the final whistle scum-half Jepsen ran round the exhausted home defence to score under the posts. He converted his own try to give a final score of 65 – 0.
For the first time in a few years Pinner will host two home matches at Hatch End next Saturday. The 1st XV play London French whilst the Pelicans host Fullerians IVth .
P&G RFC’s President David Hiles played host to over 60 former players and guests at his Annual Lunch on Saturday. This year’s event was planned to incorporate the promotion of the book ‘Riding in the Shadow of Death’ by Chris Keltie on the remarkable, but unsung, war time experiences as a young 20 year old of Bill North, the former President of P&G RFC, who died two years ago. In June 1944 the Lancaster that Bill was piloting was shot down near Rouen in northern France. Only some of the crew were able to bail out as the remaining parachutes had been damaged. Bill, although badly wounded himself, managed to crash land his plane in the dark in a field near Les Andelys. All the crew survived but spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp. Chris Keltie who grew up next door to Bill in Kenton felt that this was a story worth telling. To the surprise and delight of all those who attended the lunch Chris brought the sole surviving member of that crew, Dennis Bartlett, now in his 90’s, who was Bill’s mid-upper gunner together with Geoff Grey, a former Pathfinder pilot with 61 squadron, and his wife June an ex- war time nurse. The whole day was charged with deep emotion. At the start of proceedings, members stood in silent tribute to two members who died last week. One, Geoffrey Nuelle, was a player and Clubhouse Secretary in the 70’s and 80’s but the other was Fred Runacres was the last President of the former Pinner RFC and the first of P&G RFC. Fred was also a former player and secretary of the Harrow and District Rugby Referees Society. One of his daughters is married to another former P&G captain and honorary treasurer Howard Walters. His nephew Tony, another former player, is coming from New Zealand for the funeral which will take place that the Chiltern Crematorium Amersham on Monday 3rd February at 1:45 pm.
The other guests were Ian Webster, President of Mill Hill RFC and his wife Collie and the Mill Hill Chairman Geoff Williams. Other former Pinner captains present were Mike Barnes, currently President of Middlesex County Rugby, and his wife Anne, and Mel Williams, former captain and President of Saracens. Bill North’s three sons all of whom played for Pinner were also there and brought some of Bill’s memorabilia for the Club archives. Nearly everyone present purchased copies of Chris’s book all of which were personally signed by the author and the veteran war heroes. Copies were obtained for former members who now live in far-off Toronto Canada and Brisbane Australia. Many took the opportunity to talk to these wonderful guys, the chance of which they are unlikely to have again. Since Bill died Chris has updated his book to record meetings with Prince Charles, the belated and much deserved unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial and the meeting that he, the veterans and the North family had with David Cameron at no. 10.
In his speech welcoming everyone David Hiles said that the visit by the comrades of the beloved former President was probably one of the greatest honours ever bestowed on the Club. He also commented that had he not been Alun North’s form master at Kingsbury High School in 1967 he would never have met Bill at a parent’s evening. This had brought him to Pinner RFC. What a different life he would have had. Hiles gave an update of the Club’s current situation with the difficulties caused by the shortage of matches in the 1st XV’s league and by the problems associated with the pavilion which the insurance loss adjusters were pursuing unsuccessfully with the LB of Harrow. The success of the youth and mini rugby was a source of great encouragement with the U14 team heading its league yet again. The fact that some 1st XV players were now helping with the coaching of these youngsters was also a great hope for the future. Some of the lunchtime guests struggled out to watch the 1st XV play Mill Hill and afterwards the party and reminiscences continued well into the evening.
Brief match report: Herts-Middx Div 3 P&G’s 9 Mill Hill 29
The lack of recent matches showed in the cohesion of the home side. Conditions also mitigated against open rugby and the better drilled Mill Hill pack quickly gained the upper hand. The first halve saw Mill Hill run in three tries and a penalty to P&G’s response of three penalties all kicked by winner Fred Riley. Late in the second half Mill Hill added their fourth and bonus point try to give a final score of 29 – 9 to the visitors thus avenging their pre-Christmas defeat by the Pinner side.
The recent wet weather led to the postponement of the proposed mini’s festival on Sunday.
Two strange decisions by the referee cost P&G’s 14 point and a much needed win away to Old Grammarians of Tottenham. The first was after 25 minutes of the first half when he gave a penalty for an offence in a ruck 5m from the visitor’s line. He converted this to a penalty try under the posts. The law requires that there would have been a high probability of a try had the offence not been committed. Not even the home supporters were convinced that this would have been the case. The second decision was to allow the second half to run on for over 50 minutes, normally 40 minutes per half, and again those on the touch line could not remember ten minutes of stoppages or injuries. Old Grammarians scored their second and decisive try which they converted to sneak the game 17 – 13.
The first half started with the home side kicking with the wind but against the slope. They were soon awarded a penalty, the first of a multitude given against both sides, to take a 3 – 0 lead. Pinner were having difficulties in adjusting to the slope of the pitch and the rather heavy and ponderous O G’s pack. Yet another penalty on the P&G 22 for off-side was missed in front of the posts. Pinner now began to get their act together and mounted a series of pick and drive attacks which brought them into the home 22. Winning another ruck scrum-half Sam Heath found centre Ollie Blazey to fee is co-centre Richard Southam who shrugged of a few tackles to score in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful but P&G’s had a 5 – 3 lead. Then came the penalty try to put the home side 10 – 5 up. Pinner continued to threaten for the rest of the half with strong attacks through the centre but did not take advantage of getting the ball wide where their wingers would have out-paced the defence. O G’s were forced to defend and it was Pinner’s turn to be awarded penalties which took them in range of the goal line. With half-time over due they opted to kick at goal and Fred Riley stepped up to take the 3 points to bring the interval score to 10 – 8 to O G’s.
Pinner kicked off up the slope but with the wind. The kick went deep into the home 22 where the defenders made a mess of things. P&G’s won a turn-over at the resulting ruck. The ball was quickly fed along the backs and centre Ollie Blazey scored out on the right. The conversion was unsuccessful but the visitors had a 13 – 10 lead. Pinner continued to look threatening but didn’t use the wind enough to get often into the home 22. An injury to no. 8 Andy Alexander reduce the power of the pick and drives and the heavier O G’s pack was gaining momentum in the set scrums and mauls. Pinner had a possible third try disallowed but the game never really flowed due to the constant awarding of penalties and free kicks. With full-time past, there was little injury time to add on according to touch-line watches, O G’s mounted a series of drives with the referee giving yet more penalties. From the last one with Pinner retreating O G’s dived over for the final conclusive converted try to snatch victory 17 – 13. The eight club Herts- Middx Div 3 now goes into an enforced period without competitive matched until 11th January.
Expectations were high for P&G’s encounter with local rivals Watford. A bonus point win would see Pinner go to the top of Herts / Middlesex Division 3. The home side started well enough but with many changes caused by injuries in the previous match early team coordination left much to be desired. Three penalties in the first quarter of an hour inside the P&G 10 meter area were all kicked by the Watford fly-half posting an early 9- 0 lead. The visitors were now full of confidence and running the ball with some purpose. Another penalty in front of the posts was quickly taken whilst P&G’s were not alert. A try resulted on the left and the extra points added. Pinner’s cause was not helped when their powerful no 8 Andy Alexander was yellow carded for holding back an opponent. A Pinner attack broke down and Watford fly-hacked ahead getting the luck of the bounce to score their second converted try. On the half hour Pinner were awarded only their second penalty which was slotted over by Fred Riley. With half-time approaching the powerful Watford forwards set up a driving maul to score the third try and make the score 30 – 3 at the break.
Pinner started the second half with much more purpose and greater coordination. The teams appeared evenly match with the home side dominating much of the play. However injuries to key players again caused disruption. There was no score for nearly half an hour when Fred Riley kicked his second penalty. This gave the home side more confidence and several promising attacks developed. In one of these P&G lost the ball in the Watford 22 and the visitors broke away at speed with support to get their fourth and bonus point try. The coordination of their backs and drills of their forwards showed the benefit of being able to train under lights the opportunity for which the home side is denied. Pinner had their best chance to add points when winger Fred Riley intercept a Watford pass in his own 22 and sprinted deep into visitors half before being caught by an even faster defender. With this chance gone the visitors great fluency resulted in a further final try to bring a the score to 44 – 6 to the great disappointment of the home crowd.
Pinner, visiting promotion rivals Old Isleworthians on Saturday suffered another frustrating afternoon. In the last two seasons P&G’s were pipped in the closing minutes of their matches. This time a serious injury to prop forward Lee O’Callaghan disrupted the match for 50 minutes. Early exchanges were fairly even but with the home side, playing with the slope, having more territorial advantage. Neither side generated any scoring opportunity other than a missed penalty by the O I’s fly half. After about 15 minutes a scrum on the half way line collapsed and O’Callaghan appeared to have damaged his knee. With the replacement on the referee allowed play to continue even before the P&G player could be help to the touch-line. A few minutes later the player went into shock and the game was suspended whilst first of all the paramedics arrive and then an ambulance. Play was held up for 50 minutes and with the light failing the referee decided that he would abandon the first half having only played 19 minutes and restart the match with the second half. P&G’s were unhappy with this decision and many on the touch-line doubted if the game could be finished safely.
In the second half P&G’s played with great spirit and no little endeavour spending more time in their opponents half. Pinner had a chance of a score but rejected a kick at goal. Attacks by both sides were easily nullified by strong defence. Several powerful drives by the forwards eventually broke down but kicks from deep by full back Chris Jepsen often looked promising but many went into touch on the small pitch. With about 15 minutes to go Old Isleworthians were awarded a penalty on the P&G 22 and this time their fly-half made no mistake. This appeared to be going to be the only score. The P&G fly-half Chris Hall, attacking on the right chipped over the defence to produce a possible scoring chance. He was illegally held back and after saying a few words with the offending player he, and not the guilty man, was yellow carded by the referee whose general management of the game left much to be desired. All now looked up for the visitors but Chris Hall was to have the final say. With minutes to go and in almost darkness Pinner won a line-out on the O I’s 10 metre line. Scrum half Sam Heath got the ball to Hall, now back on the field, who drop-kicked magnificent goal from 35 metres to equal the score at 3 all. Probably a fair result in the circumstances.
Hatfield were the visitors at the Shaftsbury Playing Fields on Saturday in a revived grudge match which promised a good old fashioned arm wrestle. The rain eased off just in time for the kick-off and allowed fans to gather from both teams.
Pinner & Grammarians kicked off and immediately put pressure on the visitors by regaining possession and surging into the Hatfield twenty-two. The opening exchanges were very physical with both forward packs looking to stamp their authority on the game. The P&G forwards and backs combined well to retain possession and winger Chris Hall was able to find enough space out wide to sprint down the touch line for the games first try. The conversion was missed, but the early score put the home side in the driving seat and the pressure continued with Pinner & Grammarians able to again push up field into the Hatfield half.
The Pinner & Grammarians offloading game was proving very difficult to stifle and the flowing play exposed a couple of cracks in the Hatfield defence and Dan Muckley jinked his way through the attempted tackles to dot down for another Pinner & Grammarians try. Freddie Riley missed the conversion but found the mark minutes later with a penalty kick to put the score at 13-0.
Hatfield showed great determination to get themselves back into the game and sustained the pressure through forward drives and direct backs play to find themselves on the P&G try line. The home side defended bravely and kept them out for phase after phase until Hatfield found the numbers to beat the scrambling defenders for captain Leon Ellis to score in the corner, with Conan Hoey adding the extras from the kicking tee.
The second half began with just as much intensity as the first, with Pinner & Grammarians desperate to put the game beyond the reach of the visitors. Some good passing from fly-half Fraser Allan and impressive offloads from full-back Chris Jepsen and Riley on the wing, combined with the industrious work rate of flanker Dan Smith put P&G on the front foot deep in Hatfield territory. The home side penetrated the defence on numerous occasions only to be judged the ball had been held up over the line. Eventually however the ball was worked wide to Kit Smith who finished well and secured another five points, the conversion came back off the upright, but again Riley found his groove to slot another penalty moments later.
Another try from Chris Hall in the corner of the pitch sealed the four try bonus point for the home side but it was clear the unrelenting pace had taken its toll on the Pinner & Grammarians forwards. Although P&G had dominated all game, the closing stages saw Hatfield make a last ditch effort take them on a rampaging run up field and using big runners they pushed towards the try line, only for the referee to blow the whistle for a full time score of 26-7.
A spirited display from both teams and possibly more excitement for the spectators than had been seen at Twickenham that day… although not quite as entertaining as the P&G RFC Pop-Idol competition that evening.
In the shadow of Saracens’ Allianz Park stadium in Barnet, Pinner & Grammarians took on Mill Hill in the driving rain. Spectators braved the wind and rain in conditions which would have sent viewers rushing back to the club house, had it not been for the tense match on show.
Both sides have tasted victory in recent weeks and wanted to continue that run of form. However the relentless rain did not allow either team to exhibit their preferred styles of rugby, keeping the play tight and the ball safe was going to be the order of the day.
P&G started the match strongly and pushed Mill Hill deep into their own half with a driving maul, and set up camp on their five metre line. The home side rallied strongly, and despite the barrage of big ball carriers from the visitors they were able to keep the P&G attacks at bay. The defence’s hard work was rewarded with a penalty offence at the break-down allowing Mill Hill to clear their lines with a kick to touch.
The rest of the first half continued to entertain the dedicated crowds with hard play from both sides, and fewer unforced errors than could have been expected with the ball growing increasingly slippery. Mill Hill had a couple of shots at the posts going astray with the wind no doubt playing a factor, and the half ended with nothing on the scoreboard.
The Second half started with the same energy as the first with good solid play, with P&G able to string phase after phase together and keep the pressure applied, only to be denied by a knock-on or the referee’s whistle. The visitors added some fresh legs to the field and it may just have been what was needed, as for the first time in the game it looked like Mill Hill were starting to crack under the strain. After some hard graft from the P&G forwards the ball was spun out wide to Andrew Alexander who cut a great running line, allowing the big Number 8 to run in the game’s first try from twenty metres out. Chris Jepsen added the additional two points from the conversion to put the score at 7-0.
Mill Hill surged back into the game with several big scrums and brave play but were never able to penetrate the P&G defence. The game finished in the same manner that it started, with both teams fighting hard for possession and crunching tackles coming in from all angles, but by the eightieth minute both sides were spent. The referee blew up for full time on a game which displayed hard work, grit and enthusiasm in abundance, which was not reflected in the score line.
Pinner RFC 1st XV traveled ‘up the road’ to play a league fixture against Borehamwood who play fixtures from Harrow ground.
There will be match report put on this site as soon as the editorial staff receive it, in the mean tome enjoy some images from the victorious match 27-10 below…..
PInner too strong for Borehamwood
Pinner took a while to settle down when they visited Borehamwood who play their ‘home’ games at Harrow RFC. After last week’s defeat by London French there were a few changes in the P&G line up. Early exchanges were balanced but gradually the Pinner pack began to dominate and there were signs that the backs were beginning to jell. But it took 2o minutes before the first score. Pinner comfortably won a line out in Borehamwood’s 22, the forwards took the ball on and flanker Dan Smith took over 15m out avoiding half-hearted tackles to score. Then 5 minutes later with P&G’s exerting pressure a long kick up field produced for the second week running a freak bounce. The home side’s centre ran in for an unopposed try which was converted by the full –back to give then a 7 – 5 lead. Once again Borehamwood tried to clear their lines but this time the poor kick only found the P&G’s advancing into the 22. After a few passes among the backs the forwards again took the ball on and number 8 Andy Alexander brushed aside several defenders to get Pinner’s second try. On the verge of half-time following a rather ragged scrum the Borehamwood full-back dropped a goal to level the score at 10 – 10.
The second half was dominated by P&G’s. Full-back Chris Jepson gather the ball deep in his half and sprinted past into the home half and the chipped ahead. Winger Fred Riley was soon up on the Borehamwood defended and bundled him into touch. P&G took a rehearsed short lineout only for the referee to decide tha ball hadn’t gone 5m. Borehamwood, now losing most scrums, opted for another lineout but the ball wasn’t put in straight. Front the ensuing scrum No 8 Alexander again drove forward, the ball was quickly re-cycled and fly-half Fraser Allan side stepped two defenders to score under the posts. Fred Riley added the conversion. A few minutes later P&G were judged off-side but due to foul play the penalty was reversed and Jepson again put in a fine attacking run. From the resulting ruck P&G forwards drove on. After only 10 minutes Pinner won yet another scrum and acting captain and scrum-half Sam Heath put in several loops around his backs. The Borehamwood defence was all at sea so the ball went eventually to left-winger John Kirby to go over in the corner for P*G’s fourth and bonus point try. The pattern was now set and Borehamwood having used their replacement had to reorganise with the centre going to hooker and the full-back up to fly-half. Yet another Jepson attack was again taken on by Alexander and this time the try was scored by Dan Muckley. Jepson continued to be a threat and would have scored a much deserved try but the final pass was adjudged to be forward. Borehamwood’s problems increase when the first yellow card reduced them to 14 men following a low body check on Pinner prop Ken Ryan who with fellow forwards Lee O’Callaghan and Don Williams were causing havoc with power runs from close range. Borehamwood gained a consolation penalty when P&G were guilty of not releasing after a tackle. The no 15, now at fly-half landed a long distance kick only to blot his copybook a minute or so later. Gather the ball from the kick-off he short-armed the P&G tackler in the face and received a yellow card for his pains. Now down to 13 men P&G agreed to lend them a replacement for the last 5 minutes. There was no further score giving P&G’s a well deserved 27 – 10 victory but they now have to wait several weeks for the next league game.
The conditions on Saturday were perfect for the pre-season friendly between Pinner & Grammarians and Uxbridge 2nds in Hatch End, with friends and family watching from both teams. Pinner were looking to start their season with a win and play their brand of free flowing rugby, and Uxbridge fielding an experienced side playing in memory of a veteran of the club who had sadly passed away recently.
After a minutes silence P&G received the kick-off and the powerful pack surged down the field. With eight minutes on the clock Pinner put the visitors scrum under pressure on their five metre line, and open-side flanker Dan Smith opened the scoring with an interception to claim his first try for the club. Captain Samuel Heath converted from the edge of the pitch to put the score at 7-0.
The early points set the pace of the match with P&G scoring a well worked forwards try to put Alex Dixon in under the posts, while full-back Chris Jepsen broke the defensive line and selflessly passed the ball to Chris Hall who dotted down under the posts. The latter try being converted by Freddie Riley to put the score at nineteen nil.
Uxbridge were unable to handle the intensity brought by the P&G forwards, with bulldozing runs from No.8 Andrew Alexander and prop Ken Ryan making space for pace men outside, with Dan Muckley, Heath and Jepsen capitalising. Uxbridge made progress into the opposition half with some solid play but were unable to sustain the pressure and knocking the ball on in the crucial moment.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first, with Pinner pushing forward and finishing the chances they created, Riley adding the extras to keep the score board ticking over. The penalty count was very low throughout the match which testifies to the discipline of both sides, and perhaps reflecting positively on the new scrum laws which proved to be no issue in the game.
The Pinner forwards and backs continued to combine well with further tries from Alexander, Jepsen and Muckley, and additional scores from Josiah Varcoe and Tom Rainey sealed the fate of the visitors. Uxbridge played with pride until the end but failed to register any points in what proved to be a solid all round performance from the P&G side, who finished strongly with a final score of 71-0.
However a sterner test awaits next week as the competitive season starts for Pinner & Grammarians with London French coming to Shaftsbury Playing fields on Saturday the 5th of October.
Photographs provided by Ashley Lawrence
The annual Pinner RFC End of Season Awards took place on Friday 26th May at the clubhouse in Shaftesbury Playing Fields. Many new and past members of the club enjoyed an evening of frivolity, friendship and fun.
In a short time the list of winners will be published on this page, until then here are some of the images from the evening……….