|Date||23 September 2017|
|Result||W 27 - 20|
|Time played||Normal time|
Bank of England vs Old Actonians (Match Report - 23rd September 2017)
Newly promoted and now top of the league, Bank journeyed with confidence across the river this weekend to take on Old Actonians. A tough test awaited, as this week had seen numerous key players - particularly in the front row - become unavailable for selection.
Under a bright autumnal sky, Bank made a positive start to the match, challenging well at the breakdown. Such enthusiasm at the ruck was unfortunately penalised, and the home side took advantage of a small pitch to pin the ball to the corner from a cultured right boot. Acton took the ball well from the line-out and with effective phase-play managed to cross the line for the first points of the match. 5-0 within five minutes.
Bank showed good character to trust their attacking structure and grab the impetus from this point. A move plucked straight from the Bank training ground saw full-back Will Spencer scythe through the midfield to dot down under the posts. With ease, James Marshall converted to make it 7-5. From here, Bank began to orchestrate an admirably simple game in attack. The pack fared well under heavy pressure from an experienced Acton front row to provide a decent platform for the firing backline. Superb distribution from fly-half Mike Plant resulted in another set-piece move working to perfection with winger James Trueman taking the try well on debut. After Marshall made it 15-5 with a cleanly struck penalty kick, Bank continued the charge. Thirty minutes into the first half, some outstanding support play saw centre James Lunn latch onto a sniping dart by Ed Waite. Lunn shifted it quickly through the hands to winger Will Powles who, with ankles kicked skywards, finished superbly in the corner. Five tries in three matches for the Bank flyer.
At 20-5, Bank continued to pile on the pressure in the last five minutes of the half. Second row pairing Matt Jones and Tom Merriman began a period of superb forwards phase-play. The incessant pressure was clearly too much for the home side. A simple inside ball from Marshall saw captain Jonny Dale steamroll through the defensive line and reach out for the decisive bonus point try. The extras coming from the boot of Marshall made it 27-5 at the break.
Old Actonians made it immediately clear at the beginning of the second half that they had no intention of rolling over. After countless waves of simple ‘round the corner’ rugby, the home side’s scrum-half executed a positively antipodean offload in the tackle to see their winger cross for 5 points. At 27-10, the sheer extent of the away side’s injury woes became apparent. Ale Duarte, Guy Marcusson, and Alasdhair Lochrane put in a valiant effort in the front row, but were subjected to a set-piece onslaught from Acton. The home side continued to exploit this weakness and managed to send over their flanker for a well taken try to bring the score to 27-15. With just twenty minutes remaining, and revitalised by a capable bench, Bank made rare forays into the Actonian’s half, most notably via a superb break by Simon Davis. Alas, the attacking endeavour was short-lived as Acton wrestled back possession and began to run hard at a resolute but tiring Bank defence. Superb cover tackles by Elderton, Spencer and Waite maintained the Bank points margin, but it was on the final passage of play that the home side exploited a defensive mismatch to snatch a losing bonus point. 27-20 the final score.