Effingham & Leatherhead RFC News

Spartans March to Opening Victory

26th September 2017

Some might argue the newly christened Eagles Spartans 3XV mirrored the famous band of warriors from Greek legend quite closely. With a mix of exuberant youth and battle hardened veterans like the evergreen Dan Bird taking up the Eagles cause and led by our very own Leonidas minus the six pack, Rhodri Harris, it was destined to be an epic clash. The opposition, consisting apparently (and confirmed later) of 13 mighty forwards and 2 backs (the usual backs having been lured away by Oktoberfest) had the size advantage on paper and we might have expected disorderly retreats at the scrum, especially having lost our prop Mark Broome to refereeing duties.

With the Vandals kick-off not going 10 it was time for the test. The Spartans forwards did not disappoint and the line held, even inching forward. With the ball out we immediately capitalised on the agility and mobility of our loose forwards and minutes later our man of all positions, stand in (and stand out) number 10 Mike Rayner dotted down for the first try. Vandals forwards (all 13 of them!) continually and bravely attempted to smash through the middle of our defence but exceptional tackling from the likes of Tom Bird, Luke Grace, Tom Scrase and Seb Williams brought them to ground and inevitably the ball was coughed up each time. A penalty in the Vandals half after 10 minutes gave Selous Nicholle (15) the chance to open the score a little further. A number of players were returning to rugby after a few years in the wilderness.  One such player, no.9 Greg Edwards, showed the talent was not lost by making a sniping run from the base of a breakdown, evading the defence to score Spartans second try which was converted for 17-0. One further try from talented loose forward Tom Scrase gave the Spartans a commanding lead at half-time despite Vandals utilising the opportunity of a penalty in our 22 to drive the forwards over the line a score line of 24-5 was extremely positive for what mostly amounted to a scratch team.

A few personnel changes at half-time and after a brief period of pressure from Vandals forwards during which a try was saved by a few quick thinking hands under the ball (possibly post dab down, sorry Vandals!) the tide of the battle began to go our way. Further tries from another returning warrior Andrew 'Scats' Scattergood as a replacement 9, driving over the line to mark his return and the almost quinquagenarian (look it up, I did!) Chris Munnings opened the score up even further.

By this point all the players were opening up the defence with many notable runs from speedy 6 Josh Murray, Richard Hudson and powerful surges from front row Will Conisbee. Two more late tries from Paulo Couto and on loan Legend Joe Blunt closed out the game and gave the Spartans victory with a 48-5 score line. A debut of note would be Dan Rogers who took to the field for the first ever time and performed admirably as a flanker. A big thanks to Charlie Blunt for loaning from the legends and welcome back to Nick Markham after a brief period in the northern rugby wilderness. Weybridge Vandals were extremely gracious in defeat and kindly supplied man of the match and d**k of the day awards. Unlike the Battle of Thermopylae, casualties were mostly light and the Spartans look forward to marching on next week at home to Cranleigh.

Spartans 3XV: Will Consibee, Rhodri Harris (Capt), Dan Bird, Luke Grace, Seb Williams, Josh Murray, Tom Scrase, Tom Bird, Greg Edwards, Mike Rayner, Chris Munnings, Paulo Couto, Richard Hudson, Nick Markham, Selous Nicholle, Dan Rogers, Andrew Scattergood, Charlie & Joe Blunt, Rhys Owen. Ref Mark Broome.

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