Match Report by: on: 27th Sep 2017 updated
Staines v Barnet Elizabethans 23rd Sept 2017
If the squad needed any reminders about how special this Saturday was they just needed to look around the club in the lead up to kick off, so many old Staines faces turned up, as well as many of the family and friends of Kevin Jones to watch a match played to honour a gentleman who needs no introduction to many in the club, but for those who didn't know him he was Staines Rugby through and through with over 700 senior appearances for the club, starting out as a fleet footed wing and over the years slowly working his was in and finally ending up as a fleet footed prop! It was also nice to see the return of the guard of honour from the minis, it really does give the team an extra boost as they head out on the pitch. Also a big thank you to all the juniors who ran water on for the boys this was much appreciated all around.
So to the game, first a caveat, I spent most of the game with my head between various different sets of buttocks and at the bottom of rucks and mauls so my recall game is not as on point as it should be! The reason there was no report after the London Welsh game is I was knackered throughout after chasing shadows for 80mins! So here is my faulty and hole filled synopsis, if you can do any better please feel free to step forward and give it a go I am not (that) precious.
Our visitors for the day were Barnet Elizabethans a club that can trace their roots back to 1919, a team who had won one and lost one same as us so far this season. Before kick-off there was a minutes applause for Kevin and I would like to thank the opposition for joining in the applause it was appreciated.
So to the game, from the first minutes it was clear that we held the weight advantage in the pack, this would translate into scrum dominance for most of the 80mins, we started well putting together a few good set plays, but there was something missing, it felt a bit like we were simply going through the motions and the game would just come to us. There is nothing like an opposition try to sharpen the senses and that is exactly what happened, the game suddenly opened up with BE (as they shall be known from now on) linking together well in open play and offloading out of the tackle they managed to break through our lines and dot down for the score. A conversion was taken and it was either successful or not (I don’t know I was a tad peeved at the time).
The try seemed to galvanise Staines more than BE and the whole team upped their work rate with the forwards running hard lines and the backs (martialled expertly by J Knil this week) starting to probe the opposition back line for weaknesses, with Andre moving from fullback to outside centre we carried a threat every time we ran a backs move and before too long he managed to slip his way through the BE defence to dot down under the posts, conversion was successful (Knil).
Staines continued to carry the treat throughout the first half and with the set piece functioning well and the forwards marauding at pace into the opposition, gaps started to appear allowing Mylie to score his first try for the club at the Reeves, growing into the match we were able to again work space for Andre (who in fairness doesn’t need that much space!) to jot down for his second try of the game. Both trys converted by J Knil.
HT 21 - 7 (possibly)
A happy coach greeted us at half time with the specific instruction to carry on what we were doing and not take the foot of the oppositions throat! BE came out strong in the second half and with the game toing and froing, both sides playing some good rugby, the Staines pack continued to dominate the set piece scrum and the efforts appeared to be taking their toll on the opposition pack. Some strong running from Rob Winn, trying his hand very successfully at centre today, opened up the BE lines and some good hands allowed the smallest player on the pitch Pete to bash through about 4 tackles handing off the number 8 on his way to scoring under the posts!
Then came a moment of magic from 10 which we will probably not stop hearing about for many years to come! I can imagine in 30 years time, an old and beer stained J Knil telling people who couldn't get away from him in time all about his kick in the second half v BE. In fairness it was a great lofted kick into the corner for Bailey to chase, Bailey still had work to do but leapt like the proverbial salmon plucked the ball from the sky road the last defender and touched down for a fantastic try greeted with great cheers from the watching masses. From out wide J Knil showed he was human after all and blazed the conversion attempt just wide.
Andre was again causing havoc in the BE back line and scythed through the defence and a little cheekily popped the ball to Sammy who dotted down for what was to be our final score for the day, J knil couldn't miss from in front of the sticks. 40-7.
With 15 to go it seems we started to get complacent and very quickly the game changed, from a lineout in our 22 the forwards secured solid possession, drove the ball on and handed it over to the backs who with their tails up decided to try a tricky backs move in our own 22, with a couple of our players colliding with each other and the ball spilling free, the BE right wing (a very good player with both pace and power) snuck into the corner.
BE suddenly had belief again that there was a point to be had in this game! And they weren't wrong, again we didn't clear our lines and again we were punished with the charging right wing dotting down for his second and they weren't done yet, with Staines players going down left right and centre and Heather struggling to keep them all in the fight, BE earned their bonus point try and the game finished 40-22.
At the final whistle after a deserved chastisement for the debacle of the last 10 mins there was a feeling of a job well done but with plenty to work on for next week, I for one can't wait to head over to Saracens and show them what we can do if we keep our foot on the gas for 80 mins not 65!
After the game the senior squad joined the family and friends of Kevin in the Partner lounge where Kevin's Daughters presented Rocky with the 700th game memorial shirt belonging to their father which will take pride of place in the club house, a wonderful and touching gesture.
On Sunday the Under 15s continued their winning ways with a 64-14 win over Ealing B with a number of senior players returning the favour and running the water on for the boys. There is a good feeling at the club at the moment and long may it continue.