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!!
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 RFC under 7s Development squad were victorious in the Middlesex U7 Tag Tournament at Teddington last weekend.
Nine players, playing as two teams of four, started with a round robin group stage. Wins against Regent’s Park/Teddington (combined score 17-13) and Rosslyn Park (12-11) saw them progress to the semi-final.
A tight match against Wasps saw Pinner eventually triumph by a single score – 13-12.
The final, against Staines, was a tense affair. The Pinner A squad went down 9-6 losers, however a strong showing by the B squad (10-5) saw them secure combined victory in their first ever tournament.
After the match, coach John Hone reflected, “At the end of the day, the kids have gone out there and done a job. They all played in good spirit and I’m proud of all of them.”
Assistant coach Anthony O’Donovan said, “Let’s hope there’s more to come from these promising youngsters!”
Pinner Tag squad train on a Sunday morning from 10 till 12 at Shaftesbury Playing Fields in Hatch End.
Pinner u14s took to the field with only 13 players helped by two from the u13 team, they started off well, but soon found Cheshunt had two runners within their team, which the Pinner team found difficult to stop in their tracks, this led to a half time score of 12 – 0
After a halftime team talk Pinner returned to the field with a bit more fire in their hearts, they began to take the game to Cheshunt camped near there try line Pinner finally got a 5m scrum which Tom Davies picked from his feet and thundered for the line to complete a unstoppable try, this was then successfully converted by Joseph Holden.
The restart went dead from the kick resulting in a 22 drop out, where Pinner started another attack on the Cheshunt try line, after a few tussles in midfield Joshua Parker-Brice made a darting run out wide supported well by James Nye who received the pop pass from the tackle on Josh Parker-Brice. Nye managed to squeeze into the corner for Pinners second try which was unconverted. Cheshunt were spurred on to use the runners again making use of the space available on the pitch due to the lack of numbers in the Pinner team, Cheshunt scored a penalty kick, and two converted tries leaving the final score 12 v 29 in Cheshunt favour.
On Sunday 22nd February Pinner U14s travelled to Watford RFC for a friendly fixture. The team took to the ‘marsh like’ field and from the whistle took the game to Watford in their half; a place they were to spend most of the first half.
Some great tackles and support play saw James Nye weave through the opposition to score Pinners opening try. On receiving the kick-off Pinner were back into the Watford half, with some powerful play saw a break by centre Tom Davies stride over the line for the second try, shortly followed by Sam Alexander crashing through the defence to score under the posts.
Two more tries followed before the half time whistle blew 3 from 5 tries were converted by Joseph Holden leaving Pinner with an impressive first half lead 31 – 0
The second half began with a revitalised Watford team, Pinners central defence managed to keep the game tight for most of the second half with crunching tackles coming in from both sides eventually Watford managed to get a unconverted try, which was almost instantly cancelled out by Tom Davies again crashing through the Watford defence to score under the post followed by a conversion by Joseph.
In the dying moments Watford found the Pinner defence on the wrong side of the 5m scrum and scored a try which was converted, leaving the final score Watford 12 V Pinner 38, a great result for this vastly improving Pinner squad.
It has been a rather frustrating two week-ends for Pinner RFC adult teams. On the previous Saturday there were no matches due to the international at Twickenham and then last Friday the Pelicans [2nd XV] match v Barnet was called off by the opposition and as late as Saturday morning Chiswick cried off from the 1st XV game. However that gave Pinner a 25 – 0 nominal win and 5 league points ensuring, that with the undefeated run through the season, they are comfortably the winners of the Middlesex Merit table 5. They now enter the ‘play-off’ phase and semi-finals of the cup.
On the morning of the England v Italy international match 76 year old Pinner Club President had the honour of captaining the Middlesex Over 60’s team against a squad of visiting Italians at Staines RFC. A continuous three session match was played involving first Over 50’s, then the Over 60’s and finally a general game. Most of the 130 strong Italian party from Milan and Parma went to the match at Twickenham but then returned to prepare an Italian meal for all in the evening utilising ingredients that they had shipped over from Italy. Four of the Italian International teams match jerseys were auctioned raising over £4000 to set up foundations in memory of the 19 year old son of one of the visitors who had been killed in a road accident. A truly remarkable day of rugby !
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.
Pinner RFC travelled down to Chiswick on Saturday the 11th to face Quintin 2nd XV, on a day of fantastic conditions for running rugby and a high scoring game. Pinner had a few regular players missing but were faring better than Quintin who had failed to field a full team, however both captains agreed to play on. The home side kicked off and received a shock with Pinner showing great hands to spread the thin Quintin defence from left to right before breaking through for the first try of the game, from regular scorer Dan Smith.
This set the tone and four further tries in almost as many minutes piled the pressure on the home side. The spaces in their defence being fully exposed by a hungry Pinner side, eager to stamp their mark on the Merit Table and stretch their lead over their rivals. The kicking duties were handed over to stand in fly half Don Williams, who time and again released Pinner runners in space.
The pressure was too much for Quintin to handle, and with only twenty minutes on the clock the game was already far out of their reach. Pinner captain Aaron Nicholas took matters into his own hands and agreed with the opposition captain to even the playing field, literally. He pulled on a Quintin shirt and instructed lock Dave Logan to do the same before taking the field.
This was a true demonstration of sportsmanship and showed not only what Pinner RFC are all about, but what club rugby around the country is made of. One spectator asked this reporter “Why would they do that? Play against their own team for a side that are taking a beating?”… To which I replied, “Its what separates us from the footballers”.
The game was now much more challenging for Pinner and their aim now moved from putting a big score on the board, to keeping the opposition off it. Quintin played with renewed energy and had Pinner camped in their own twenty-two on a few occasions, although unable to break their duck. Pinner on the other hand kept the score ticking over and saw a few squad members get their hat-ricks, with winger John ‘Bo’ Petrella bulldozing his way over for his fourth near the end of the game.
The final score resembled that of a cricket match, Pinner keeping Quintin from touching the score board, and getting 108 points of their own. The result was an unfair reflection on a battling Quintin side who did their best to play right up until the final whistle. Pinner on the other hand will take the momentum from that game into the match this weekend against Ealing Exiles at their home in Shaftsbury Playing Fields.
With the Pinner 1st XV Middlesex Merit Table Vase cup match cancelled as Civil Service Barbarians couldn’t raise a team the Pelicans [2nd XV] braved the Watford football traffic to face Hemel Hempstead IVth XV on Saturday. None of Hemel’s first three sides had matches either. Playing with the slope Pinner soon were in command, the ball rarely getting out of the home team’s half. The first try came after 15 minutes when the Pinner pressure led Hemel conceding a penalty which was quickly taken and sent along the line to left-wing Jon Petrella who ran through several tackles to score out wide. Fly-half Don Wilson’s fine kick added the extra points. Pinner were soon back in the home 22 with Hemel conceding a series of penalties for off-side. From one of these Pinner forwards drove forward allowing number 8 Andrew Alexander to score the second try. On the crux of half-time Hemel knocked on in their 22, Pinner quickly fed the ball left for Petrella to round the slow defence to score under the posts. Williams kicked the 2 points to give the visitors a 19 – 0 lead.
Hemel obviously know their sloping pitch and came more into the game in the second half. They were first to score when Pinner were penalised for not rolling away allowing the home team to get their first try. Pinners, now down to 14 men following a first-half injury to winger Jepsen, were forced on the defensive. Their chance of a second score came when they opted for a line-out after yet another penalty but the defence held. Pelicans fought their way back to the opponents 22 and a fine break by the scum-half sent Petrella in for his third try giving a bonus point and a comfortable lead of 24 – 5. With only ten minutes remaining Hemel refused to lie down and hammered the tiring Pinner defence. A strong forward drive resulted in the home second try close in with the conversion to bring the score to 24 – 12. Still Hemel attacked and with Pinner one man down gaps were appearing in the defence. Two minute left and another Hemel try on the left to bring it to 24 -17. Surely Pelicans could hang on but Hemel were now Rampant. Straight from the kick-off, in the first minute of injury time, the full-back again ran powerfully down the left to score under the posts. The conversion was successful and the scores tied at 24 all. Hemel collected the kick off and looked to attack from deep in their half and steal a victory. Fortunately possibly the pass that would have sent their winger speeding down the left wing, was intercepted by Pinner Chairman Andy Wright now playing on the right wing. From the resulting maul Hemel gained possession were penalised. Now in the fourth minute of injury time with some visiting spectators calling for the ball to be kicked into touch and settle for a draw Pinner had other ideas. The penalty was quickly taken and whipped to centre Ash Fison who evaded three half-hearted tackles to score Pelicans decisive fifth try. Williams added the conversion to retain Pinner’s unbeaten record at 21 – 24.
Two out of two – Pinner Pelicans continued their winning ways with a great performance against Fullarians RFC on Saturday 27th September. Hopefully there will be a match report sent to the website soon, in the meantime here are some images from the game, again more to follow………
The Pelicans [2nd XV] took on Fullerians IV in the Herts-Middlesex merit table. They found the going much harder against one of the stronger team in the division and were soon a converted try down. However Pinner fought back and by mid-half had established a 10 – 7 lead through a penalty by fly-half Don Williams. Fullers responded with an unconverted try and penalty. Egged-on by home supporters Pinner added two further tries before half time. For one Arshood Joonoos, playing in his first rugby match, sprinting 40 m to score. Half-time score 22 -15 to the Pelicans.
In the second half the play was very even with neither team willing to concede territory. Both managed two further tries, one converted and the other not. In all Pelicans ran in five tries, three of which were scored by Rowan Desai and the other by youth team coach Clyde Gordon. The final score was 34 – 27.
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.
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.
Sunday saw a top of the table clash between Pinner U14s and Twickenham U14s with both teams knowing a win would put daylight between them. The conditions were excellent for rugby with the pitch soft under foot after all the recent rain.
Both teams started strongly, with fearless tackling and aggressive challenges at the breakdown and most of the game being played in the middle of the park.
The breakthrough came after six minutes when Pinner recycled clean ball from the breakdown and the ball was spun wide to the left giving Ben Stone a clear run in to score the first try half way between the posts and the touchline. The metronomic boot, now with a new kicking tee, of Freddie Hart added the conversion, 7 nil Pinner.
Buoyed by the try Pinner gathered the restart and worked their way back to the half way line with Twickenham working hard at the breakdown to turn over the ball. After some strong work from the Pinner pack the ball was again passed down the Pinner back line to Kai Gordon who ran in under the posts having broken a couple of tackles on the way. An easy conversion for Freddie and Pinner were ahead 14 nil.
The second try broke Twickenham’s resistance and Pinner started to dominate the game in all areas and it wasn’t long before try number three was scored. Pinner pack again recycled clean ball for scrumhalf Louis George to run down the blind side to score wide out near the left touchline. Unfortunately Freddie was unable to added the extras. Pinner 19 Twickenham 0.
An excellent catch from the restart by Charlie Gascoine set Pinner romping forward again. It took three defenders to bring Charlie down close to half way and out of the pursuing ruck appeared Joseph Burling with the ball. He set off on a jinking run dodging two or three tackles leaving him one on one with the fullback who surrendered and let Joseph score Pinner’s fourth and bonus point try under the post to which Freddie added the conversion. Pinner were now 26 ahead as we headed for half time.
However, Pinner weren’t finished there. Charlie again took a clean catch from the restart this time shipping the ball outside him where it eventually arrived in Kai’s arms and he set off with his after burners blazing running around the outside of the Twickenham players scoring closed to the posts. Unusually, Freddie missed a relatively simple opportunity to add the further two points and at half time Pinner were leading 31-0.
The second half was a lot tougher with Pinner making substitutions to give every player some game time and Twickenham starting to give their bigger boys more of the ball in an attempt to make ground against a Pinner defence which resolutely stayed strong with a ‘you shall not pass’ attitude we have come to see and expect from the boys in the past two seasons.
Pinner managed two more tries in the second half both from strong runs by Kai but only one was converted and the final score was 43-0 against a side the boys had expected to give them more of a game than they did.
The win moves Pinner 5 points ahead of Bishop Stortford and 6 points ahead of Twickenham, who both have a game in hand over our boys, giving them potentially 10 points each from their final 2 games. However, this will be irrelevant if Pinner can achieve a bonus point win against Saracens B on 23 March as they will be promoted with 25 points.
|1||Pinner and Grammarians||5||4||0||1||4||20|
|2||Bishop’s Stortford B||4||3||0||1||3||15|