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Deflation at season's end.
Teddington 39 – 15 Eagles
Seniors 1XV • League • Sat 14th Apr 12, 3:00PM
The Eagles travelled to Teddington’s pleasantly situated Bushey Park ground on an overcast, relatively windless afternoon. The Eagles had secured their London South West Two place with the recent thrilling win over Wimbledon whereas Teddington might have appeared to need a bonus point win and a favourable result elsewhere, although rumours abounded of a points deduction affecting Twickenham which would doubtless come into play. The Eagles team showed a number of changes with Dan Bryk coming in at prop, Matt Manning coming in at 9, a number of positional changes in the pack, and Stephen Follows joining the bench. With the Eagles playing with the slope for the first half, Teddington kicked off deep, with the Eagles fielding but knocking-on, scrum Twickenham. Afforded early possession, Twickenham tested the Eagles defence, probing for an opening. The Eagles defence held firm, and were awarded a penalty for over the top, with Brian Collins clearing the lines with a searching kick, moving play into the home half. Ed Thorton rose to catch the lineout, the ball being spread quickly from Matt Manning to Jason Evans who broke the defensive line with a trademark dummy and made ground before being forced into touch. However, Ed Thornton snaffled the Teddington throw and the Eagles attacked through the forwards , with Dan Bryk, Marcus Smith, and Dom Young prominent. The Eagles camped in the home 22 for the next few minutes, with both Richard Smith and Tony Penney both being hauled down just short of the line. The final scoring pass would not come and Teddington scrambled the ball clear. However, the Eagles back three worked another opening and Teddington drifted offside at the resulting ruck. Collins took the opportunity to bisect the posts for the opening score, 3-0. Perhaps the penalty was insufficient reward for the early pressure but an encouraging start nonetheless. However, the momentum changed rapidly as Teddington turned over the restart and made ground through the backs, outflanking the Eagles defence and crossing the whitewash for a fairly simple run-in near to the corner flag, with the difficult conversion elegantly slotted, that was 3-7. This rapidly became 3-12, as the Eagles defence was breached again - though the initial catch and drive was held up, Teddington forced a pushover try from the resulting scrum though the extras were not added.
The momentum continued with Teddington as a mix-up in the Eagles defence in dealing with a kick ahead presented another run-in opportunity, this time on the opposite flank, with the successful conversion, that was 3-19.
The half closed out with the Eagles again pressing strongly in the the home 22 and Collins shimmying through the defence for a score under the posts, before adding the extras for 10-19.
The Eagles, by now playing against the slope, began the second half brightly, with Jason Foster and Charlie Compson prominent but the attack was turned over and Teddington made ground through a garryowen, recovering the bouncing ball with only great covering work by Tony Penney, forcing a loose final pass, which drifted into touch, averting a try. However, Teddington stole the lineout, and a driving maul produced a try in the corner, though the conversion was wide, for 10-24.
The Eagles regrouped and a trademark mazy run by Richard Smith forced a lineout in the corner from which a catch and drive - with John Stocker and Mark Allen prominent - produced a five pointer, as the conversion was wide, for 15-24. Was the momentum about to swing back?
It appeared not as Teddington, expoiting the slope in their favour and adopting the garryowen to effect, forced the Eagles into conceding a series of defensive penalties, one of which was slotted, for 15-27. A poor situation rapidly became worse as the Teddington forward pack forced a pushover try - the extras being added for 5-34 - and then a moment's inattention in midfield saw a Teddington flanker presented with a clear run to the try line, for 15-39.
Hard though the Eagles strove for the balance of the match, the Teddington defence held firm and there were no further scores. Maybe a somewhat deflating end to the season - but then perhaps the season had peaked in the previous superb win over Wimbledon - against a motivated Teddington side with everything to play for to achieve divisional survival and who had played well and deserved the win. The Eagles; Allen, Compson (Cave), Bryk (Follows) , Thornton, Stocker, Young (c) ,Thornton, Smith (M), Manning (M), Cox, Evans, Smith (R), Foster (Scammell).