1XV Back to winning ways
Eagles 34 – 14 London Exiles RFC
Seniors 1XV • League • Sat 10th Mar 18, 3:00PM
Following the winter snow break, Effingham & Leatherhead were back in action on Saturday playing host to London Exiles. The Eagles were looking to bounce back from the heavy Camberley defeat and get their league safety campaign back on track. Exiles are currently 6th in London SW2 but have not won a match since the the 1st week of January so it was set to be a good battle.
Exiles started the better of the 2 sides and were applying the early pressure but Eagles soaked up the pressure well and their defence was strong and repelled the Exiles onslaught. As Eagles started to control the contact areas they started to attack themselves and turn the pressure back on Exiles. This sustained pressure resulted in 2 penalties which were both kicked by Brian Collins to put the hosts 6-0 ahead. The Eagles were no tails up and following an attempted Exiles clearance from their line, back back row Danny Bomken was able to turn on the pace down the tight wing and offloaded perfectly to winger Antony Penny to score under the posts. Collins converted and Eagles went into half time 13-0 ahead.
The second half started the same as the 1st half ended with Eagles still in the ascendancy. The Eagles forwards were working very hard and achieving great possession to release the back line. It was from this good early possession that the Eagles backline launched yet another attack and a vital 2-on-1 overlap was created by full back Luke Blythe joining the line on the Exiles winger and despite the obvious opportunity to score himself, Blythe unselfishly passed to Penny for him to run in his second try. Collins again converted and Eagles led 20-0.
The Eagles now had their tails up and and were enjoying the their possession but while the confidence grew, the Exiles fly-half gambled on an interception and it paid off for him, running in from the half way line unopposed and against the run-of-play. This was converted to take the score to 20-7. Unperturbed by this unfortunate mistake, the eagles bounced straight back and again were on the attack winning a scrum on the Exiles 22m line. With a set move implemented from this scrum, inside centre Ben lines powered over to score Eagles 3rd try and with the conversion put Eagles comfortably in the lead at 27-7.
The Exiles were not going to roll-over and they soon bounced back and with the Eagles slightly lapsing in concentration, Exiles powered over from a 5m lineout to bring the score back up to 27-14.
The Eagles were desperate to get the bonus-point forth try and with time ebbing away, veteran Chris Sheasby started a forward pick and go charge from the Exiles 40m line. With all of the forward taking a turn to pick and drive, it was finally powered over by hooker Patrick McDougall right under the posts. Again Collins converted to gain 100% kicking stats but more importantly secure the bonus-point win 34-14.
Head Coach Dan Blythe said after the game, "I said several weeks ago that March was going to make or break our season so we needed to start strongly. Our guys were very focussed and achieved a really well deserved bonus-point win having played with intensity and control. " He added, "We have now created a little 5 point gap over the relegation places in the league but have a tough match against Old Tonbridgians on Friday evening under the floodlights at Wimbledon RFC to come next. This is our postponed fixture from last week so we need to regroup, refocus and recreate this performance but be even better to take on a strong OTs side away from home."